Welcome to this summer’s Digital Storytelling class held at the University of Washington Robinson Center! My name is Itza (pronounced like it’s a girl) Carbajal and I am so excited to have you joining me for 3 fun filled weeks of tales, technology, and learning. In good storytelling fashion, I want to share some stories about me and why I believe in learning and teaching through stories.
I learned at a young age the importance of hearing, seeing, and interacting with my surroundings through stories. My father and mother always read books to me before bedtime. I would ask them to read the same book over and over again that they would get so tired of the original story that they would sometimes change up the characters, the plots, or endings. Even as I started to read the books myself stumbling through yet to be learned words, I would make up new plots or combine stories into one. My father would also tell me stories from the past about people I would never meet such as my grandfather that passed the year before I was born or moments that I could never recreate such as the days my then 20-year-old mother competed in bicycles competitions. These stories not only connected me to places like Honduras where my parents grew up, but they also taught me about the choices and opportunities I might one day encounter.
Then as a teenager, I spent hours taking photos with disposable cameras begging my parents to pay for the film development only to realize that I took a lot of pictures of my shoes and buildings with random people in them. Through these photos, I created my own stories using both my imagination and my camera. The camera not only helped me create a richer story, but now I could also share these stories with my friends, family, and maybe one day my future self. Then came the internet and cellphones! Now I could send entire stories both real and made up to my friends in a flash with digital photos, audio messages, and funny drawings I created myself. My digital stories captured using technology helped me share everything that I could see with my eyes and in my mind.
Now flash forward to my adult self. Today I like to teach others especially young people how to use memories, technology, and archives (meaning old stuff like yearbooks, report cards, letters, photographs) to create unforgettable stories. This class is an opportunity to not only create stories, but to also learn how to think of stories as tools for learning more about yourself and your environment. During this summer challenge class, we will learn about the different ways people tell stories, how to use technology to bring stories to life, and the ways history can inspire new or untold stories. If you are the type of person that appreciates the power of a good story then you will definitely enjoy this class!