HCI International 2017
Vancouver, Canada, 9 - 14 July 2017
Vancouver Convention Centre
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T20: Theory and Practice of Digital Storytelling for Older Adults

Sunday, 9 July 2017, 08:30 – 12:30

David Kaufman (short bio)
Simon Fraser University, Canada

Simone Hausknecht (short bio)
Simon Fraser University, Canada



Digital storytelling extends the ancient art of telling stories through the use of technology by incorporating elements such as text, images, music, narration, sound effects, and videos into a narrative about the storyteller's personal experience. Digital storytelling workshops are a form of communication with others that can be used to increase social connectedness. This can help reduce loneliness, depression and cognitive decline and alleviate their negative effects on older adults' health. For them, it is important to provide opportunities to share their experiences, reclaim their identities, and build relationships with their peers.


The goal of this tutorial is to introduce participants to the theory and practice of digital storytelling for older adults. After discussing the rationale and theoretical framework, participants will view and rate three digital stories recently created by older adults in our eight-week workshops. They will then be shown how to create their own digital stories. Finally, participants will be provided with methods and resources to be able to offer their own digital storytelling tutorials to older adults, as well as to other age groups.


By the completion of this tutorial, participants should be able to do the following:

  • Discuss the theory and rationale for using digital storytelling with older adults
  • Discuss the barriers and various ways to overcome these
  • Begin to use WeVideo software to create digital stories
  • Design, deliver, and evaluate a digital storytelling workshop to older adults
  • Adapt the methods addressed in this session to participants of all ages

Instructional Methods:

Various instructional techniques will be used including mini-lectures, group discussion, hands-on practice, and viewing and rating of short videos.


  • Background, theory and rationale
  • Two different models for a digital storytelling workshop
    • Wisdom stories
    • Legacy stories
  • Viewing of a few digital stories (with a feedback form for viewing audience)
  • Introduction to WeVideo software (with some hand-on practice)
  • Evaluation of the workshop - methods and our results
  • Some of our story viewers' responses

Target Audience:

This tutorial is suitable for anyone wishing to learn about digital storytelling and how to present a workshop on this topic. Although the focus of the background, theory and rationale will be on older adults, the methods presented in this tutorial will be suitable for any age group. It is open to all conference attendees with a laptop computer.

Relevant Link:

Digital Storytelling Project

Brief Biographical sketches

David M. Kaufman, M. Eng., Ed. D.
David Kaufman has been a faculty member at Concordia, Saint Mary's, Dalhousie and Simon Fraser Universities, in the fields of Engineering, Computer Science, and Education. He has served as Director of Course Design for the BC Open Learning Agency, and Professor and Director of the Medical Education Unit in Dalhousie's Faculty of Medicine. He is the 1998 recipient of Dalhousie University’s Instructional Leadership Award. Dr. Kaufman has presented more than 200 lectures and tutorials at universities in North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America. He has published extensively with approximately 100 published articles and three books to his credit, serves as a reviewer for many journals, granting agencies and professional associations, and has received more than $4 million in grants and contracts during his career. From 2001 to 2008, he served as Director, Learning & Instructional Development Centre at Simon Fraser University and currently is a Professor in the Faculty of Education. His current research is investigating digital games and digital storytelling for older adults and intergenerational teams. He is funded for $1 million over five years by the AGE-WELL National Centre of Excellence.
Simone Hausknecht, PhD candidate
Simone Hausknecht is a PhD Candidate at Simon Fraser University specializing in Educational Technology and Learning Design. She has degrees in English, Teaching, Health Science, and Educational Technology. Simone has received numerous scholarships as a graduate student. Her research focus is on older adults and technology use, interactive learning environments, digital storytelling, and digital games. She has been involved in all stages of the digital storytelling project, including an extensive role in the design, implementation, and assessment of the digital storytelling workshops for older adults (wisdom stories). Simone has also worked on the design, implementation, and assessment of a course creating digital story legacies (legacy stories). Simone has presented the findings of these projects at local and international conferences. Currently, she is working with Dr. Kaufman on further digital story workshop/course designs that can be incorporated into numerous learning environments.

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