The DISTCO is open for K-12 Students, Teachers, and Higher Education in following categories:

1- Elementary School (Students in Grades K-5),

2-Middle School (Students in Grades 6-8),

3-High School (Students in Grades 9-12),

4-Teachers (In-service or Pre-service Teachers*)

5-Higher Education (Undergraduate, Graduate, and Faculty)

* Pre-service teachers who are in training in a college/university majoring in education are welcome to participate under the Teachers Category.

DISTCO accepts international submissions. Please note that all international entries will be evaluated separately under “International Category”. Please note that language of the video should be in English to be qualified for judging.

The language of the stories must be in English. However, a narration (e.g. voice-over, voice recording) in other languages are accepted if English subtitles are provided in the digital story.



February 27, 2020-April 8, 2020 The DISTCO website will accept Registrations and Digital Story submissions starting from February 27, 2020.


REGISTRATION PERIOD: (2/27/2020 to 4/8/2020)
Step 1: Complete Registration Form at www.distco.org/submissions
and take DISTCO Pre-Survey by April 8, 2020.
Step 2: Complete your Digital Story**


March 20, 2020 – April 17, 2020 Step 3: Submit your Digital Story and take Post-survey at www.distco.org/submissions by April 17, 2020


April 10-24, 2020 Official Judging &Popular Voting will take place between April 10, 2020 – April 24, 2020.


April 17, 2019 Winners will be announced through the official website on or after April 17, 2019


May 9, 2020 Place: University of Houston-Sugar Land Campus

There is no fee involved for participating in DISTCO, however participants are asked to fill out an online consent form and surveys related to their experiences with Digital Storytelling at the time of the registration and submission in order to be considered and eligible for judging. The surveys and consent form will need be completed prior to the submission of Digital Stories to the system. Digital Story submissions will not be accepted until the required surveys and consent form are sent through the DISTCO submission website.

Both student and teacher participants should send at least one original entry in order to qualify for judging. All participants may send a second digital story (entry) to any of the available DISTCO Subject categories. Participants submitting same Digital Story to more than one DISTCO Subject category will be disqualified.

A Digital Story can be created in variety of subjects. However when submitting Digital Stories to the DISTCO, the closest category related to the topic of the Digital Story should be selected. Following categories are available for digital story submissions in DISTCO:

    • Art
    • Cultures/Religions
    • Computers/Technology
    • English Language Arts
    • Health/Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Music
    • Personal Stories/Reflections
    • Places/Travel
    • Physical Education/Sports
    • Pop Culture
    • Science/Engineering
    • Social Studies

DISTCO prefers individual work submissions. However, team projects will be allowed with following conditions:

  • Group project should be submitted under one of the participant as the main contact. For example, group members may designate a group leader for this purpose. This person should responsible for communicating with DISTCO.
  • The group leader should submit the project on behalf of other group members. Names of the group members can be added during registrations.
  • While registering to the website, the student representing the group should indicate the project as a group project and enter the names of group members. Failure to complete this step will disqualify the project for judging.
  • In the case of winning a reward, student who registered on behalf of the group will be contacted. At least one person representing the group should attend the DISTCO Award ceremony. If necessary, an Absentee Form can be used for the award ceremony. See Awards section for more details.
  • The winning group should acknowledge that the DISTCO can award only one reward (e.g. one gift card or one iPad) for a single project. It will be group members’ responsibility to decide on how to share reward among the group members.

Digital Story should include following items:

1- An original script or a story (A script within the story is needed, a separate script file for submission is not required)

2- Multimedia elements such as images and sounds. Video clips are optional.

3- A narration, preferably a voice over by the author.

Please note that DISTCO Prefers a YouTube link for submission(Option 1). However, file uploads will also be accepted (Option 2). You may choose only ONE option (either YouTube or File Upload) for file submission.


  1. Make sure to set your Youtube link to “Unlisted” or “Public”. If set to “Private”, you will be disqualified.
  2. Make sure your link will be active and working before and after the EVALUATION period. If your link doesn’t work at the time of EVALUATIONS, you will be disqualified.
  3. Please refer to https://distco.org/tutorials for how to use YOUTUBE for your Digital Story submission.
  4. Although the preferred lengths is 3-5 minutes, video lengths can be between 2 and 6 minutes (Videos shorter than 2 minutes or longer than 6 minutes will be accepted but may disqualify or receive low scores during the official judging)


  1. Video file size should not exceed 100 MB (Videos higher than 100 MB in size will be automatically rejected by the system).
  2. Although the preferred lengths is 3-5 minutes, video lengths can be between 2 and 6 minutes (Videos shorter than 2 minutes or longer than 6 minutes will be accepted but may disqualify or receive low scores during the official judging)
  3. For best results, your video display size should be at least (640×480) 
  4. Video file format can be in .mp4, .wmv, .avi, or .mov. Videos received in other formats may be disqualified.

Can I submit WeVideo links?

The answer is No. WeVideo files/links don’t display in Youtube and DISTCO’s YouTube Channel thus making them ineligible for “Popular Voting” category. However, you can still use WeVideo for your digital story and download your finished video to your device and re-upload it to this DISTCO submission form.  You may even choose to upload your WeVideo file to your YouTube account and submit your YouTube link to DISTCO

Please add title of your digital story followed by your name to the video file. This is needed regardless if you submit your file with a YouTube link or uploading your actual video file to DISTCO’s submission form.

Example: “Wonderful Wheels by Jane Smith” or “This is my story by John Smith“.

Make sure the title and your name will match with what you submitted in the submission form.

DISTCO officially recommends following software:

  • WeVideo (a cloud based video editing software integrated with Google Drive) for beginner to advanced users for creating Digital Stories.
  • Windows Movie Maker for intermediate users.
  • iMovie for advanced users.

Visit Tutorials page for a list and video tutorials of software that can be used for digital stories.

The story (script) and multimedia elements (Images, sound clips, and videos) used for digital stories should be original work. Digital Stories prepared with original pictures taken by participants’ digital camera along with an original story is preferred by DISTCO and will receive higher scores during judging. However, when pictures from Internet will need to be used, students are required to follow copyright rules. A good step would be starting from copyright-free image/sound websites located at www.distco.org/resources.

If copyrighted images will be used or the copyright status is not known, the participants will have to properly credit/cite* the elements used in the digital story. Typically, a last scene/slide can be dedicated to listing of the copyrighted material.

Participants sign a consent form at the time of registration/submission indicating that the digital story submitted does not infringe upon or violate the rights of any third party. Furthermore, the participants release DISTCO, its officers, directors, employees, sponsors, licensees and successors from any liability or claimed liability in connection with the contest submission.

*This includes listing of all multimedia (images, sound, and video) and story (script) items as taken from a specific website/source. When citing specific URLs or Web addresses for multimedia or story, you may shorten the address by including only the domain name as seen in example below.


Story:Effects of Climate Change by Time Magazine, http://www.time.com/time/interactive/0,31813,1620995,00.html

Image 1 (or Flower 1):http://images.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/Flower-Wallpaper-flowers-249402_1024_768.jpg

Image 2 (or Flower 2):https://static.pexels.com/photos/36475/pansy-flowers-purple-nature.jpg


(shortened URL with domain name only)

Image 1 (or Flower 1): http://www.fanpop.com

Image 2 (or Flower 2): https://www.pexels.com

Soundtrack: One Step Beyond by Karsh Kale

Digital Stories should be original work and not to be copied from any other person or person’s work unless obtained with permission.

There are two types of evaluation methods in DISTCO: Official Judging and Popular Voting.

The official judging takes place after the submissions close. Please see timeline above for details. Official judging is done by a group of faculty members and graduate students at University of Houston based on  Digital Storytelling Rubric.

In order to increase the popularity of the contest, a popular voting is conducted over DISTCO Youtube during the Evaluations period. Public can vote for Digital Stories by clicking the “Like” button during this time frame. Please note that a Youtube account is needed to Like a post. The selection of digital stories will be based on Likes only, not Views or Dislikes*. If foul-play is determined, digital stories will be disqualified from the contest**

*Views will only be used if there is tie in the number of Likes.

**Any fraud involving such as buying Youtube Likes will result in disqualification. Sudden overnight increases in the numbers of Likes may be considered as a fraud.

Please see a complete list of categories and AWARD CEREMONY here.

In order to claim awards, students must attend DISTCO Award ceremony which will be held at University of Houston, Houston, TX. Please see DISTCO Timeline and DISTCO Award Ceremony page for the date and time of this event.

Grand Prizes can be picked up at the Award Ceremony in University of Houston by the winners or a designated person (The winner should give written consent to the designated person by filling out Award Claim Form and submit it by its deadline). In the case of not being able to attend the ceremony at all, either by winner or designated person, an Award Claim Form should still be submitted by its deadline. Failure to submit the Award Claim Form will result in unclaimed award.

After the successful submission of the form, winner or a designated person will have 15 calendar days to pick up their reward from University of Houston after the award ceremony. If the grand prizes are not picked up at the end of this period, they will be considered unclaimed.

iPads and iPods may be sent to “out-of-state winners” by mail* upon submission of the absentee form by its deadline date. Texas residents need to attend the ceremony or designate a person by using Award Claim Form to receive their iPad or iPod nano rewards.
Monetary Gift Cards may be sent to “non-Houston residents” by mail* upon submission of the absentee form by its deadline date. Houston residents need to attend the ceremony or designate a person by using Award Claim Form to receive their monetary gift card rewards.

Claiming Scholarship Awards:

Scholarship certificates will be given to the winners in the award ceremony or they will be mailed along with rewards upon successful completion of Award Claim Form.

*The DISTCO is not responsible for any lost item in the mail. The participant is solely responsible for providing accurate information regarding the address and phone number when signing up to the DISTCO website. Returning users in the DISTCO website are also responsible for updating any address changes in the system. In the case of lost item or wrong address information, the DISTCO won’t be reissuing the rewards.

AWARD CLAIM Forms turned in after its deadline will not be accepted.