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Appalachian Spring in September – Creating a Digital Story

April 20, 2013

When considering topics to cover for creating a digital story, I immediately thought of the story of my emotional recovery from 9/11, and the power of music in that recovery. The next week was difficult as our nation lived through the Boston Marathon bombing. I deliberated changing my topic because of how close it was in timing to the terrorist attack and discussed it with friends. In the end, I decided to continue creating a digital story on this topic and include a dedication to those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing.

This digital story contains graphic images. Please practice self-care when determining whether or not to view this video depending on your past experiences of violence or terrorism.

I was very deliberate when choosing images, narration, music, and color. I use silence when showing images of terror attacks because there are no words that can fully express responses to the event. I also edited the color in all those images to black and white. I deliberately chose full-color photos and music when discussing the recovery part of my digital story to evoke the return of color and beauty to life because of the beauty of the music.

I believe that this digital story effectively utilizes the Personalization Principle of multimedia design. It portrays a personal story. I use a conversational voice to tell my story. I add my voice to the story at appropriate times, but I also avoid over-personalization in a very emotional story by providing deliberate times of silence or music. I hope that by the end of the digital story using Personalizaton Principles that the viewer will reflect on the role of music in their life, and feel ready to go forward and work for peace after the end of a long week of terror in Boston.

I learned alot while making this digital story. At first I was very intimidated by the technological demands of this digital story. I had never created a video that incorporated photos, music and narration. After reviewing many products, I determined that the best software to use for my needs was WindowsLive MovieMaker. I then realized that there is no narration feature in the new MovieMaker software (they apparently had been in previous software editions). Therefore I had to separately record my narration segments in Audacity and import them for specific photos. I then purchased and downloaded a segment of Appalachian Spring as an mp3. I found several 9/11 photos online, and I also used many of my own photos for the digital story timeline. The next-to-last slide contains credits. While I am not certain about the copyright of the music, I am only using a very short portion of a long piece of music for educational purposes and the music selection itself is central to the digital story. I believe this use with my set criteria falls within fair use, but I realize I will need to remove the music if in fact it ends up being a violation.

In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed creating and working on this digital story. I learned many new skills and now feel comfortable creating short videos with a software I had not used previously. This can certainly be useful for work-related projects.


  1. This moved me to tears. Thank you for sharing a message of peace and ultimate triumph.

  2. Chris Watts permalink

    Well I will definitely download Appalachian Spring for times that I need to find peace. Your digital story elevated that piece as a perfect movement to help with healing in a volatile world.

  3. Hi Beth,

    Your story moved me to tears! The black and white images brought back painful memories of death and destruction. I admire you for taking this on so close to the Boston tragedy; you are indeed strong. Appalachian Spring is one of my Copeland favorites and it now also represents peace and hope to me.

    Wonderful work!!!


  4. Beth,
    Very good video. Very moving good job.

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