Digital storytelling is a process used to tell personal and organizational stories in powerful, evocative ways. This versatile method for telling and deep listening begins with a story circle that informs the individual narrative of each participant. Each story then becomes the script for a 3 to 4 minute multi-media video. No special skills are required; anyone who can use a laptop can easily learn this technology. The creation and sharing of these stories, whether public or private, empowers positive change for people, communities, and organizations. The essence of digital storytelling is not technology, or even the final product; it is a technique for deep listening, reflective practice, and social change.
Karen holds a Masters of Continuing Education in Workplace Learning from the University of Calgary, and has an eclectic background in adult education, counselling, evaluation, non-profit management, and teaching English to newcomers.
Karen began to incorporate digital storytelling into her English classes in 2011, and found that the process was engaging and deeply meaningful to the students. The stories that emerged were delightful and moving. Karen repeated the process in several more classes, with similar results. Digital storytelling quickly grew into a passion, and in 2013 and 2014 Karen traveled to Chicago, Berkeley and Denver to take Facilitator training through the Center for Digital Storytelling.
Along with Judy, Karen has presented at several conferences regarding the use of digital storytelling in English language teaching. Karen and Judy spent many hours exchanging ideas and dreams. Weasel Tale is the happy result of their desire to share the benefits of digital storytelling with their communities.
Judy graduated from the University of Alberta with a Masters of Adult Education in 2004, after 23 years’ experience working with immigrants and refugees in their journey to learn English and settle in a new country. She soon discovered the power in listening to their stories. Stories of despair, resilience, and hope - these raw articulations proved to be essential in the process of learning, healing, and integrating.
Later when she discovered the Hope Foundation, which does hope- focussed research, education, and counselling, she was inspired to understand more about the hope she witnessed in the refugee stories and in her own journey with hope during a time of personal tragedy. This led her into the world of narrative.
Narrative practice became a cornerstone of Judy’s education practice in her teaching and management roles. Judy’s work expanded from English Language teaching to intercultural education and community development.
Eventually she crossed paths with Karen Matthews and the Centre for Digital Storytelling. Their stories aligned, and the vision for Weasel Tale was born.
UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA, Edmonton, Canada 2015
Title: Digital Storytelling Applications in the EAL Classroom
TEACHERS OF ENGLISH as a SECOND LANGUAGE [TESL] CANADA CONFERENCE, Regina, Canada 2014
Title: Living the Language through Digital Storytelling
ALBERTA TEACHERS OF ENGLISH as a SECOND LANGUAGE [ATESL] CONFERENCE, Calgary, Canada 2013
Title: Hope, Heart, Voice; Digital Storytelling in the EAL Classroom
“I was fortunate enough to attend one of Karen Matthews and Judy Sillito's first weekend workshops on Digital Storytelling. Their leadership skills were evident from the first Friday evening. They started with storytelling in a gentle and invitational way. Both Karen and Judy set an atmosphere of deep respect which helped create safety and trust. Everyone was at a different level in terms of computer skills and storytelling skills and Karen and Judy were able to individually meet each of us where we at in terms of those skills. They started each session with a tune in and proceeded to teach us a new technique of digital storytelling. They moved us through the theory in a way that was well paced and allowed us to practice our new skills. I was amazed at what I learned in one weekend and loved meeting and hearing the stories of the other participants.The story I created, Marion's Story, has become a dear legacy for my family. The grandchildren, Marion’s, all love to watch it, an unexpected outcome for me. Most of all I recommend Karen and Judy's workshop as they are skilled, creative, positive, and create a loving atmosphere. And they laugh a lot!”
- Kathaleen Quinn
“Digital Storytelling is a powerful tool in the reflective process. Karen and Judy,founders of Weasel Tale, facilitate the process with patience, attention, and skill. They empowered each of us to find the heart of our stories. Their approach to storytelling equally provides opportunity for personal growth and collaborative connection with others. The process of creating something that is mine to revisit and share was deeply satisfying. Thank you!”
- Dalyce McElhinney