“Lights, Camera, Engagement!”

” We are our stories. We compress years of experience, thought, and emotion into a few compact narratives that we convey to others and tell to ourselves. ”
– Daniel Pink

The human imagination, a powerful tool, has given people across all cultures the ability to communicate ideas to others, whether through pictures, words, or both. These stories, which been passed down over generations through verbal communication, drawings, and books, are used for entertainment, teaching, and for passing down wisdom. Telling stories through cave drawings was an advanced writing idea for the cavemen in their time. Overtime, writing has advanced to telling stories through books, and now to telling stories through digital means. The ways in which we tell stories is bound to change eventually, right? How do you think our children will tell stories in a century or even just a decade? Thinking about how our technology will evolve from how advanced it is now is a concept that is unimaginable to me and does not even seem possible, yet I won’t be surprised if by the time my grandchildren are in school, technology and how stories are told will be so advanced and unimaginable, I will be like the woman in this video: illiterate grandma. In today’s modern world, we have found a way to tell stories both orally and visually through “digital storytelling”. Storytellers old and young, and students of all backgrounds, can communicate their stories through showing images and texts, and playing sound and video.

In Make Me a Story by Lisa Miller, Linda Rief writes in the foreword of the book that she is “not surprised when students forget to bring pens or pencils to class” (xi). Why? Because the word “writing” to students now does not mean pencil to paper, but rather fingers to keyboard. Should our current and future practices forget about traditional paper and pencil writing? What could be the benefits to both traditional writing and digital storytelling? Technology is the tool that allows students’ stories to come alive. They choose the words they want to say, images they want to show, voices they want the audience to hear, and the sounds they want the audience to feel in their emotions. Digital storytelling transforms students’ writing and it allows students to feel as though their ideas matter and are important to others. Why do you think (or do you believe) that students feel differently when they create their own digital story compared to a story they wrote with paper and pencil? How does (or does) digital storytelling give writers the confidence to share their story that paper and pencil writing cannot provide?

The video below called “Digital Storytelling in the Classroom” is about a middle school 8th grade US History teacher who describes how she uses in classroom. She describes her fears about technology and hesitation to allow digital storytelling in her classroom. I loved this video because it is from a teacher’s perspective and about US History (not a student favorite in my opinion) however the students were engaged in this subject through their digital stories. Do you have any thoughts about this specific video? Can you relate to this teacher?

“Digital Storytelling in Classroom”

Through digital storytelling, all types of learners can express their ideas about topics across the curriculum, such as on historical matters as 9/11, on science topics like polar bears, and literature ideas like how to express foreshadowing in a story. Before students can express their ideas through digital stories, students must have an understanding of how stories, such as narratives and science reports for example work. Miller states that “talking about books they’ve read will give students ideas about what they might write about and how, all the way through the writing process. We can all learn by imitating great writing” (14). Digital storytelling is a forum where students can express their ideas about writing and allow them to find their own writing style. How can a class of elementary aged students (k-5) create digital stories on their own on their computers? Is this too difficult of a concept for them to understand?

Below is a (cute) digital story from a kindergarten ESL class about information they gathered from a non-fiction book about polar bears. How amazing is it that kindergarten students who are just starting to write their names and a few other words are able to express their ideas with others, farther than just their class, through their voice and pictures?!  Digital storytelling allows these students to explore how storytelling works, how stories are made and created, and about the basic elements of stories. Technology allows students of all ages and backgrounds to voice or show their ideas to other populations. Now since this video is on the world wide web, people of all backgrounds and curiosities can view this video and learn something from it, whether about polar bears or about how kindergarten students can create a digital story.

Digital Story on Polar Bears!

The image below shows the correlation between 6+1 Writing Traits and the 7 Elements of Digital Storytelling from the website http://thenjournal.org/feature/160/. Do you think students should be taught about the traditional writing traits before they are taught about the traits of digital storytelling? Or do you think these elements/traits can be taught simultaneously? How do you go about teaching young writers/readers about these writing elements through digital storytelling?

Enabling children to tell their stories digitally can also be very appealing to the their audience. Very often, I find that children have a difficult time focusing in class during presentations (of any kind). But, by sharing digital stories, students have the opportunity to enter the life of the person telling the story. It is almost as if we were living within that moment. Through the use of pictures and songs, we are able to travel back to all these important moments in a person’s life. In the text Crafting an Agentive Self: Case Studies of Digital Storytelling by Glynda Hull and Mira Katz, delves into the lives of 24 year old Randy and 13 year old Dara. Randy identifies himself as a writer whereas, Dara views herself as a writer and a story teller. During this case study, we are able to see how Randy and Dara use digital storytelling as a tool to capture and share stories about pivotal moments in their lives (or events that happened in someone elses life).

 As teachers, we must all keep in mind that not all students all traditional writers. Some are better at sharing their stories through the use of technology. In the article, Hull and Katz both argue that their goal is to promote “how alternative spaces for learning can sometimes effectively support adolescents’ interests in literacy and foster their developing sense of agency (6). Digital storytelling should not be utilized to replace traditional writing, but it should be used to aid students have difficulty writing or lack interest. What are your thoughts on that idea?

 While reading this article, another thought that occurred to me was how these experiences could help Dara at school, given that this type of technology was made available to her through DUSTY’s. Dara was able to negotiate what she wrote about at DUSTY, but this might not be feasible at school. As teachers, how can we help children develop a passion to write about topics that don’t appeal to them? How can we develop a curriculum that fosters academic writing/ writing for pleasure through the use of digital storytelling.

 In coherence with the Hull and Katz’s article, I believe that Korina M. Jocson’s piece Situating the Personal in Digital Media Production was also intriguing. For some students, writing or even creating poetry can be a daunting task. For some, the flow of writing just doesn’t come natural. Therefore, producing work that is deemed to be “good” becomes a problem. But, what would happen if students were given the opportunity to write digital poetry? Wouldn’t it be more meaningful? Like sharing digital stories, I believe that the use of technology to write poetry would be a great idea. Students would be given the opportunity to give voice to their work. I believe that pictures and sound are appealing, but they also give voice and convey a message that sometimes cannot be depicted in a traditional writing piece. This is something that Jocson also emphasizes strongly in her article. Jocson also argues  “digital visual poetry as one type of digital media that leaves plenty of room not only for experimentation to produce texts but also for participants to imagine selves and create meanings toward personal and social transformation” (187).

 Digital poetry also gives students the opportunity to be creative! How often do we do we see creativity utilized in a classroom? Many teachers are now afraid( or don’t know how) to to be creative without taking away from the Common Core State Standards. But, what they are unaware of is that there are effective ways of integrating technology into the curriculum  without taking away from the Common Core Learning Standards  have called upon. Now that we have talked about digital storytelling and digital poetry,  can you think of any other ways to use technology to teach other subjects?

EXCELLENT RESOURCE TO LOOK AT: The website “Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling” is a great resource for teachers to look at and use as a resource to understand more about digital stories in the classroom, the 7 elements of DS (digital storytelling), 21st century skills, and examples of what digital stories might look like. It also provides teachers with information how to create storyboards, which is a written out explanation of what the video will include (direct quotes, pictures, music, what scene should be first, etc). Below is an image from the website of an example of storyboards, using index cards.

The topics of digital stories that are included on the website range from personal narratives, to mathematics, to pop-culture, and to single-image digital stories. What is so fascinating about the single-image digital stories is that “a single picture can say a thousand words”. One single picture along with a student’s voice can be just as effective as the audiences’ emotions than a story with numerous pictures. It is so fascinating that there are countless ways that students of all backgrounds and ages can express themselves through digital stories!

*Final thoughts: If you had to choose any topic to write about in your first digital story, what would it be? How would you want the audience to feel? What would you want the audience to look at or listen to? Who is your audience to begin with?!


16 thoughts on ““Lights, Camera, Engagement!”

  1. Michelle and Yordanka-

    What a great post this week!!! I LOVE the “illiterate grandma” video. This is a perfect example of how quickly technological advancements, such as digital storytelling, are taking over our everyday lives, and how older generations are somewhat “out of the loop”. It is so funny when my own grandparents ask me questions about technology because they just don’t quite get it, while I know almost too much about it.

    The amount of technology that one is exposed to on an everyday basis ties in together nicely with Lisa Miller’s article “Make Me a Story”. There is much discussion about what benefits come out of traditional learning and learning through technology. There are many debates about how a classroom should work- digitally or traditionally- and I think it really is a preference.

    Digital storytelling, however, is a wonderful way to allow students the freedom to express themselves and gain information. With technology rapidly growing, I think digital storytelling gives a fun, new, creative way for students to learn! It is a fun way to allow students the ability to write, read, draw, and express themselves in an enjoyable way, while still learning valuable information typically learned in school!

    To answer your last question, I don’t have a clue about what topic I would choose for my first digital story. I think that is the beauty about digital stories- it allows for such a broad spectrum of imagination! I certainly would want my audience to be engaged, while also having the opportunity to retain some pretty unique information!


    • Digtial storytelling is so fun! How would you make it engaging for students with disabilities? Do you have any ideas for me? My students are in 4th and 5th grade so I want they to want to participate but sometimes they are not interested.

  2. Very nice post and great use of images and technology! Technology is a scary tool for me because there is so much I still don’t know how to do, but the things it can do once mastered is staggering as you showed in your clip of the kindergartners talking about polar bears. I think the traditional pen and paper writing should not be forgotten about, but digital storytelling should utilized more by teachers and students in the classroom. Why? Because DS is the way in which our future is moving, and Lisa Miller brought up fantastic points about the benefits of DS, such as they are engaging and capture students attention better then just hearing words read of paper, students put more emphasize in editing their work knowing it will be viewed by an audience, they can be expanded across the curriculum, and they are a great way for students to utilize new types of technology.
    There are many different ways students and teachers can use technology and DS in classrooms. One type of DS that sticks out in my memory was a project that my friend and I had to complete senior year of high school. For this project we had to retell Hamlet’s soliloquy in a creative way. We had different options for how we wanted to present our project but we chose to do the video, which was something I normally never chose because of the amount of work and vulnerability you feel by putting yourself “out there”. In the end, it did take a lot of effort and I had to get over the fact that I really had to open up to my peers, but it was one of the most fun and memorable experiences of my senior year. I’m glad that I had the chance to share with my classmates a little bit about myself that they may not have known otherwise by having a bunch of friends from all around town help me out with creating the video and showing this funny, care-free side of myself. Unfortunately, I no longer have the video, but it was a project I will never forget and I would have loved to held on to. Thinking about memories like that I can clearly see how technology and DS can have a positive and lasting impact on education and our students learning.

    • Your project choice was so creative. I agree that being on video can be embarrassing and stressful. But I feel that after presenting you are so proud of what you have accomplished and created! Do you agree?

  3. Sharing her perspective of using digital stories in the classroom, the teacher in the video explains that this technology allows the students to SEE the story and develop a love for the story. Digital Stories engage creators and viewers with the content.

    Miller explains that using digital storytelling can be used for many purposes to teach various skills. Miller writes, “I’ve learned this type of storytelling can teach writing and reading skills, motivate reluctant students, and help prepare youngsters for the digital sea many of them already swim in. I’ve seen magic happen.” (Miller, p.4) Digital storytelling as a teaching tool in the classroom has the ability to engage all students in making meaning using different modes. What a great opportunity to share our voices in the classroom.

    These digital stories can help us analyze our individual identities as well as our classmates. We can share ideas and opinions covering many topics. Hull and Katz write, “We believe that individuals and groups can learn to fashion identities as competent actors in the world able to influence the direction and course of their lives. Our conception of identity is inherently multiple and dialogical. We enact the selves we want to become in relation to others-sometimes in concert with them, sometimes in opposition of them, but always in relation to them.” (Hull & Katz, p. 3) We explore and test our own identities in social groups, classrooms and personal relationships. Creating these digital stories help us to further examine our ideas and identifies along side our peers. It does require continual conversation about respecting each other and our own beliefs in the classroom. We are asking them to put themselves out there in a new way.

    My son Jack is taking a digital storytelling class offered in his after school program. He and his partner have created a movie in which a bird chases a squirrel though world monuments and landmarks. The chase is hilarious as the bird sometimes catches the squirrel and drops him in different locations. My favorite scene is when the squirrel is dropped into the Colosseum during a tournament. Jack wants to talk about it, share it, find out about the places, and create new ways the bird and squirrel can interact. Jack and his partner are now working on a great ending for the film. He can’t wait for Wednesday afternoons. I love to see him excited and engaged!

    Great post.

  4. Hey Ladies, Great post! I liked the links that you shared and the chart comparing the 6+1 traits. That was really interesting to look at and see how the categories are represented in each different media.

    I particularly liked what you mentioned about how digital storytelling is not a replacement for writing, however it is a tool to help motivate, engage, and assist different students and learners.
    This school year, I happen to have many students who have difficulties when it comes to activities that require a lot of effort and fine motor skills. Using an iPad to draw or even record their voice provides the relief from the stress of writing with a pencil, and it helps the children practice their storytelling stills through narrating the story. Therefore they are still going through the same process in sharing the details, as the others who are using a pencil, however they are just sharing orally.
    While this is an accommodation for a few, it is also an added layer and engaging different format for the rest of the children in the class. Being able to share a story digitally alleviates the concern of drawing a picture just right, or of making sure that a word is spelled correctly.
    On the other hand, writing with a pencil and paper, provides the lessons in the mechanics of writing (I’m thinking at a Kinder level). By writing on a paper the students practice sounding out words, and they practice spelling sight words and capitalizing the appropriate letter as well. These are skills that help students learn how to read, thereby taking this practice away from them could negatively effect their development of other skills.

    This is a very interesting topic to think about and I like how you addressed the concept of finding a balance between the two mediums.

  5. Great post! Like you, I can’t even begin to imagine how my grandchildren will be able to tell and share stories using technology. I don’t want to be like the illiterate grandma in the video, but I feel that day will come sooner than I expect. For example, new apps on smartphones are coming out every day, and games like Flappy Bird come and go before I even have time to learn how to play them! It truly is amazing how technology is rapidly changing everything we do, including telling stories.

    As Miller (2010) points out in her book, “Make Me a Story: Teaching Writing Through Digital Storytelling”, “digital stories can be told about many subjects”, whether it is describing who they are or breathing new life into academic subjects like literature, history, math, or science! (7). The possibilities are truly endless, which is precisely why digital storytelling seems so appealing for students of all ages, backgrounds, and writing abilities. Miller argues this point well when she states, “Digital storytelling engages and empowers reluctant readers and writers and different types of learners. It makes everyone want to write” (6). We clearly saw how digital storytelling empowered self-described writers like Randy and emerging, developing writers like Dara to create and enhance their “agentive selves” through digital storytelling (Hull and Katz, 2010, 43).

    As the digital storyteller presents and arranges spoken/written words, images, music and sounds to convey a particular message or fulfill a specific purpose, the digital storyteller commands the power and authority to inspire a real, tangible audiences’ immediate response. The instant gratification and validation of a digital storyteller’s work during a “public performance” generates “intense moments of self-enactment” (Hull and Katz, 2006, 47). In other words, students construct their identities while creating and presenting digital stories that speak to their personal experiences, perceptions, and points of view. As a result, creating and sharing digital stories “change how students see themselves and their classmates and can build community in the classroom” (Miller, 2010, 6), especially at the beginning of the year. As students borrow and re-purpose text, images, music, sounds, etc, they are in charge, as opposed to the teacher. This can be a very powerful motivator and self-confidence booster. For these reasons alone, we should incorporate more digital storytelling experiences into the curriculum.

    I liked how both you and Miller pointed out that digital storytelling projects have to teach writing, since “through these digital projects students learn how to write good stories, how to make art and text work together, and how to use technology in creative ways” (2). This relates to our previous readings on visual literacy. We need to make students understand how words and images work together, how they complement or differ from each other, and how each enhances meaning that could not be conveyed through either words or images alone. Digital storytelling seems like the perfect way to get kids to practice and develop visual literacy, while helping them construct their identities and create their “agentive selves” at the same time!

    As a high school English teacher, I feel less guilty incorporating digital storytelling projects in my curriculum because you still need to think about “audience, context, specific details, beginnings and endings, and everything else you talk about when you talk about writing” when you create a digital story (Miller, 2010, 5). Hopefully, both traditional writing skills and newer literacy skills would be reinforcing and lead to greater achievement in both areas. Also, I think it is important to remember Hull and Katz’s (2005) conclusion that a supportive environment can help children “embody more agentive stances towards themselves and their social worlds” (62). We need to create a classroom environment that encourages students to express their creativity and take risks if we want our students’ digital storytelling experiences to be successful. I can’t wait to read more of Miller’s book and see students creating digital stories at Jacob Burns!

  6. Michelle and Yordanka,

    Great post! I especially love the “Illiterate Grandma” video that you shared with us. Sometimes I feel like this, and I know this will continue as I grow older and my students/younger cousins continue to learn about the advances in technology and I am left behind. I joke with my parents regarding their technology illiteracy, but I will definitely be in their shoes someday, as technology is always advancing!

    I also like that you posed the following question: How does (or doesn’t) digital storytelling give writers the confidence to share their story that paper and pencil writing cannot provide? Some students may not feel comfortable writing their thoughts down and creating a story using paper and pencil, and therefore digital storytelling may be the perfect pathway of expression for them. Digital storytelling allows students to be creative and tell a story in their own way and through their own vision. However, some students may not feel that they’re creative enough to create a digital story and therefore may rather write using pencil and paper. Therefore, it’s important that we give our students options and choices rather than choosing the medium of construction for our students.

    After reading your post about digital storytelling, I am more eager to give my students the option of using this medium of construction in the future!


  7. Wow! Very impressive post this week ladies, you summarized the points from the readings beautifully and brought in a lot of great insight and thought. First of all, I love how you opened with the Daniel Pink quote. I thought this was not only extremely true but also pulled together all the points we were trying to get at about digital storytelling. We are “conveying” and “telling” our stories to both ourselves as well as others, and what greater topic to bring that all together than digital storytelling.

    I loved how you laid out how people communicate and tell stories from the beginning of time with cave drawings to verbal communication, books, and the advancements we have in place today with digital technology. It’s crazy to think about how the future generations may have even more new means of communicating and telling stories that we can’t yet even imagine. That illiterate grandma video was very funny and it’s true, one day our future generations are going to be looking at us in that way. They will be so comfortable with new technology that we will not even know how to process!

    The storytelling process turned digital stood out to me especially as I have picked up an interest in storytelling. Through memorization of stories, books, and more, I have noticed how they capture my student’s interests. Just thinking about our current technology and how far beyond traditional storytelling we can go makes me so excited to incorporate this into my future classroom!

    I still think that it is important that we include traditional means of writing with paper and pencil, telling stories orally in person with books, and more but I am also all for the push towards including digital literacies in the classroom. Watching their stories come to life with technology is something that is truly inspiring for these students and will further peak their interests in classroom lessons in all subject areas. I especially loved the polar bear story you shared with the kindergarten ESL class. That is amazing they were able to complete the task of making that story together as a class through writing, pictures, and orally speaking but to be able to ALSO make it into a digital story combined together made something exceptional. This can also easily be shared on the Internet as well as with the school and parents.

    I completely agree with your point that as teachers we must not assume all of our students are traditional writers. Students have different strengths in different areas. Some may already be extremely proficient using digital technologies and why should we limit these children to not being able to use them!? In my class right now, our students were completing an assignment on a state. Each student in the class was assigned a certain state which they had to research. They drew pictures, wrote essays, made short stories and discussed their states and in the end their final project was making a PowerPoint (or something similar to PP) presentation which they would then formally present to the class and teachers. They were most interested and took the most ownership over the digital technology and presentation of their PowerPoint and really showed they “owned” their state through this process. It was interesting to see how in 4th grade, they are already so comfortable with this technology and excited to have it incorporated into classroom lessons.

    Great post again, really got me thinking and excited to use digital literacies / storytelling in my own classroom!

  8. Great Post! I also like the illiterate grandma video. It really makes us see how someone can get left behind by not understanding the context of the words being used. She did post her photos to her ”wall” and she did want to not be friends with her friend, “unfriend” someone, but she is using the words in her familiar discourse not in the discourse that it is meant to be used in. Technology has moved faster than anything! You all then moved on to how people communicate and tell stories from the beginning of time with cave drawings to verbal communication, which made me think about my own travel, or time line through technology as a literacy for communicating and sharing information. I grew up with records, 8 tracks, Betamax, and floppy discs. I am now using smart boards, smart phones, ipads, elmos and technology is actually an integral part of my life (the laptop computer that I am typing on).
    Digital story telling is another modality that enables us to express ourselves. It enabled both Randy and Dara to express themselves in a way that wasn’t there for them before. It helped them become writers in a new and different way. “Digital storytelling with its emphasis on the visual, seemed an especially good vehicle for Randy’s truth telling, his critical rendering of his world, by providing space for material and symbolic images and thereby additional layers of meaning.” (Hull & Katz 2006 p. 59) Storytelling enabled adults to see Dara in a different setting where she applied herself to the story and the work that went into creating a digital story. Dara was different at school where she did not work at all. “We focus on the social contexts in which youth like Dara (and adults like Randy) were learning to write, and on the interwoven processes of identity development and multimedia composing as they occur in the context of daily activities at DUSTY.” (Hull & Katz 2006, p. 65) This topic of communicating across different modalities and being able to share stories in new ways also came out in the Pleasant article. She was able to help these three girls tell stories in their own voices, and share the stories visually. She was able to demonstrate that engaging these African-American girls in multimodal literacy activities in the after-school program was actually more complex than just providing the girls with opportunities to tell their stories through computers and digital media. They began to develop an identity and grow as individuals from their own stories.
    Miller shares with us right away in chapter 1 that digital story telling doesn’t take away from the paper pencil writing but actually adds to it by allowing the students to lift their story off the paper and add more elements to the teaching of writing. “Teaching digital storytelling, you are still going to talk about audience, context, specific details, beginnings and endings, and everything else you talk about when you talk about writing. What you have to do is stretch the process a bit to include the visual and audio elements students will add to the writing.” (Miller, 2010 p.5) All 7 of her points to teach digital storytelling make sense to me as a teacher of youngsters who embrace any new technology I show them…once!! I have to agree fully with Miller about preparing students for the future. Do we have to teach them the writing process?…of course, but to intertwine paper and pencil with technology is nothing new to our youngsters. We are giving them the skills necessary to compete in a global, technological world. Where else but at school should they learn these necessary skills!
    As students become digital storytellers they learn to arrange words, images, and sound to convey the same written message. It is for these reasons that we should incorporate more digital storytelling experiences into the curriculum. Your Blog pointed out that digital storytelling projects teach writing because it allows students to blend their words with art and technology in creative ways, which can show students that there are lots of different ways to be “creative”.
    I hope to use voice threads in my class to share their learning about African-Americans who made a difference in our world. They read and took notes and my next step is for them to finish their drawings of these people and share their notes through a voice thread. Then I will move on to digital storytelling in our fiction-writing unit this year!

  9. Great post! I love the videos that you included and the references. I really enjoyed watching the video about the grandmother who is illiterate. I have seen that commercial so many times and never thought about it in a literary way. As teachers we all read to our students and we all story tell but digital storytelling is a whole new way of incorporating technology into the everyday classroom. I enjoyed your video where the teacher is taking on digital storytelling with her students. Students are allowed to use their knowledge of technology as well as create their own stories using multiple tools that are not available when we are doing something that is just pen to paper.
    I agree with everyone else who has mentioned that as educators we can not assume our students can only learn one way. We have to allow them the multiple outlets to be able to showcases their strengths. Personally I feel as though we should still use the traditional way of teaching but also incorporate technology and options for our students. We need to be willing to take in using the laptops and programs and everything that comes with technology in the classroom.
    I love the way that you showed us how digital storytelling has been going on for a long time it is a form of communication and of expressing oneself. I feel as though watching how teachers incorporate digital storytelling is interesting to watch and observe. I feel as though I would try this with my students if I was working with older graders or we would work together rather then independently to use technology and tell stories in our classroom. We should never limit ourselves and this is shown in your post.

  10. This post really got me thinking about the role of digital storytelling and how should use it in my classroom. I find it difficult to do this due to the curriculum I must follow. The final assessments from each unit must be a written essay. It is frustrating to read about all of these great ideas and to be able to use them in my classroom due to the requirements I have to meet. I find it hard to incorporate creativity into my lessons and I can imagine my students feel like many of the required assignments are monotonous and focused too much on the “traditional” way of assessing learning. If I were going to use these strategies in my classroom, in order to save time and meet requirements, I may have the students work together. I think that having students create films is just as important as having them view films or multimedia.

    In Jocson’s article, “Situating the Personal in Digital Media Production” she states, “Situating my own learning process as a digital media composer helped me to understand further what it means to be a teacher with more insight, depth, and innovative ideas” (Jocson, p.183). I agree we can learn a lot as teachers by actually completing and immersing ourselves in the tasks an projects we ask our students to do. It brings a whole new insight to the situation.

    The illiterate grandma video really brings to light the ways in which communication and the world is constantly changing. Right now I am able to communicate with my students on their level, but I wonder how I will have to change my teaching when I am an older teacher. It is a scary thought! Also, including the 6 +1 traits was helpful, and I do think that kids need to learn how to compose in writing because that is what is being asked of them in school. The video component can be used as the final product, but kids should learn how to express the point of their videos in writing. Being aware of both types is only beneficial.

  11. Wow! What a powerful blog post you have composed! I felt like your blog really hit the nail of the head with regard to the meaning of our articles. Digital storytelling is POWERFUL. Words like “motivate, involve, teach, experiment, and intently “ were used through the readings describing digital storytelling. As a teacher who strongly believes in student-centered and hands on learning these are the type of deep, meaningful learning experiences you strive to create. The idea of digital storytelling is exciting because it emphasizes the process of learning: no two digital stories will turn out the same. Digital storytelling involves drafting, revising, editing, and sharing teaching students that writing and learning is a process- not static like a worksheet. Students can also learn about themselves through the writing process as well as their peers-creating a strong learning environment. I have only mentioned a few key reasons why digital storytelling is a strong learning experience since there are many. I guess the point I am trying to make is digital storytelling is an exciting learning tool that can transform your classroom into a meaningful, engaging place to experiment and learn. You do a great job of covering this in your blog but because digital storytelling is so new to me I felt like I needed to summarize some of the readings a bit myself….Anyway, I think your question about current practices forgetting pencils and paper is valid. I definitely think that classrooms should still have paper and pencils readily available for students. However, I think the problem is most classrooms stop there and only offer pencils and paper. Classrooms can use authentic ways to use traditional pencil and paper method like creating lists, writing short letters or cards and other common methods where people tend to use pencil and paper. From the examples given by Miller (2010), like Josh’s story about his dog, digital storytelling is a meaningful medium for students to create stories. Technology is meaningful to students as they are familiar with it and interact with it for an extensive amount of time each day. Then, when you allow students to create a story about something important to them they will naturally become engaged and invested in their work. I think this is something that is hard for teachers to adopt because they have their idea of what students should be learning but I think teachers would be amazed at the depth of learning that occurs when you use a more student-centered approach.

    The Polar Bear video is great! What an awesome example of extending students learning by creating the digital story. Most classrooms would stop with the drawing and sentence about the polar bear. This project encompasses many dimensions of literacy instead of focusing on just writing, for example.

    I have pasted a link to a resource that could be helpful to anyone new to digital storytelling like me. There are links to examples on the site as well as tools to use.


  12. Wonderful post and examples!

    Digital story telling is a wonderful way to incorporate technology in the classroom in a way that is both meaningful and engaging for the students within the class. Students can use their creative abilities in order to enhance content learned within the classroom and take it to the next level. It also gives students a mean to share the information learned with the world! As a result, they will see a larger purpose for their learning and truly be engaged in the process and proud of the product. In her book Make Me a Story, Lisa Miller touches on why digital storytelling can be so beneficial in an educational setting. One point she mentions is that digital storytelling can help create a community. Students can learn about their peers and build off of each other’s ideas. When you are known and understood in your learning environment, you are more likely to obtain information and value the learning that is occurring.

    I don’t believe that our future practices should eliminate the typical pencil and paper writing style. Through our coursework and experiences, we have learned that people learn in different ways and are engaged through different means. Therefore, I think digital storytelling and traditional storytelling should be taught simultaneously. It is important to have a variety of skills and to be able to experience different types of learning in order to figure out what appeals to you personally. Students can also tell the same story through the traditional method as well as a digital method!

    I also believe that students as well as teachers need to be taught how to use different forms of technology. In that posted video, the teacher only knew the basics about computers and wasn’t aware of the power they could have with regard to learning. If all teachers have knowledge on the benefits of technology within the classroom and know how to apply that knowledge, the more students will be able to achieve.

    If I could choose any topic to write my first digital story about, I would choose a personal topic so that I could share a bit about myself to my peers and write about something I know. I would particularly share about my favorite place, which is Burlington VT. I went to school there and it has helped shape who I am today. I would love to share what makes this place special to me with an audience and be able to share sights and sounds as well!


  13. I totally agree that storytelling in constantly changing today. Storytelling will never remain the same. There are too many new technologies that are broadening the playing field. I agree with Lisa Miller, that writing does not always mean pencil and paper. There are many controversies between traditional learning and learning through technology. As a special education teacher, my students can barely write a sentence. Because of this, they refuse to write in front of their peers and teachers on a daily basis. To engage my students I have them do their writing on the computer. For example, write about what it means to be a good friend. Support your answer with your opinion. This task was a pre assessment for our new unit, opinion writing. I allowed my students to go onto the internet to copy and paste pictures into their writing pieces. This pushed them to do their assignment. Digital writing allows for students to be creative and open-minded. I feel that all classrooms work differently depending on your students’ needs and behaviors.
    I am able to connect to the video that you posted in your blog. Digital storytelling allows for all students to gain information and express themselves. Students are able to develop their identities through storytelling. They are also the leaders while creating digital stories. Digital storytelling should definitely be an option inside the classroom. Student choice is the key to success!
    I do not know what topic I would use for my first digital story! I think that if we all talked about our ideas in class it would spark some ideas.

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