Storytelling is an ancient human activity. In many cultures, people use stories to make sense of their world and to pass knowledge on to future generations, parents teach their children values and understanding of the world using a language and metaphors that can easily be understood by the child. The storytelling process is not only individual, but also collective, as students need to work together to create various parts of the storyline.
Digital storytelling allows the storyteller to enrich the stories and make them more versatile, exciting, and interesting through the use of text, voice, music, animation, video, and game elements. The key reason for developing a digital platform is that it may offer an anonymous way to deal with topics that are stigmatized or taboo such as sexually related topics or abuse of different kinds.
We have successfully experimented on digital storytelling methods using the participatory design principles. Together with secondary school students in Iringa, Tanzania, and the Finnish Evangelic Lutheran Mission FELM, we together with students an animated digital platform, which were based on students’ real life stories about HIV and AIDS, and the platform have been used for education and counseling of youth in the region and in Tanzania.
Marcus Duveskog is a Ph.D. student at the University of Eastern Finland, School of Computing. His PhD work is mainly dealing with computer-aided HIV education in the African context. Participatory design is one of the principles he has been applying in order to develop contextual learning materials together with students.