Out of all of the Super Bowl commercials this year, I was particularly impressed by the Google commercial where a story is told through different Internet searches. The commercial starts with someone using Google to search for “studying abroad in Paris” and ends with “how to assemble a crib” and tells a love story in between. As viewers, we never see a person’s face or hear a person’s voice. Yet, we live vicariously through the Internet searching of some unknown person. It’s a brilliant piece of marketing and a creative way to use storytelling.
Recently, Google and YouTube have developed an application called Search Stories that allows users to create their own stories around the Internet searches they perform. It’s free and tremendously easy to use. Simply pick some terms to search for, pick the type of results you want (webpages, maps, etc) and then select some music and you have a Search Story. The site gives some useful tips on how to create a Search Story which include using different kinds of searche features and types and to have a surprise ending. You can check my Search Story on the blog as well as a short tutorial on how to create your own Search Story.
Educationally, digital storytelling activities like Search Stories can be incorporated in many ways in our classes. They would be great introductory activities to get to know students or would be a novel way of assessing students understanding of a reading assignment. Since the Search Stories live online at YouTube, they can easily be embedded in an online class and shared in a discussion board. It would be a fun way to engage students and to get students sharing stories online.
My Search Story: Ups and Downs
Google tutorial on Search Stories: