Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A new way to look at digital stories

Digital stories owe their roots to the history of storytelling and while I think most people would agree with this I am going to challenge the traditional way we should think of digital stories.

Digital Stories can be viewed as affecting three components of the main or secondary characters.  These three components are the main driving force of Self Determination Theory.  The three are Autonomy, the ability to master something,  and the ability to relate to others.

I would argue every single interesting story you have ever heard touches on at least one of these components from a character perspective.  The best stories are the ones told where it is clear there has been a change in the main characters feelings on autonomy, mastery and the ability to relate to others.  In fact the best way to think of a story is a series of moments pictured in certain settings with other people that affect the main character's state of being. Self Determination Theory is one (there are other theories) of many theories that tries to describe the well being of an individual.  And so what great digital stories do is to provide a shared path of understanding where a narrator can follow along on the character's journey into better understanding the  autonomy, master of something and ability to relate to others.  Along the way the narrator thinks about their own feelings on autonomy, mastery, and the ability to relate to others.

I would go so far as to say that learning in its purest form is the essence of how our views change on these three topics.  That principles such as integrity, honesty, and other attributes are emergent properties of the three larger components.  The ultimate emergent property among autonomy, mastery, and relating to others is what we commonly refer to as purpose or our life goal.  But as we have experienced our feelings on autonomy, mastery and our ability to relate to others change and with it changes our perception on our life's purpose.  We often think of our life's purpose as a freedom to do something (autonomy), a special ability to do something(mastery), or an ability to serve/support/counsel people (relating to others).

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