Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Once Upon a Time…Everyone Went Digital

I remember curling up for a bedtime story every night as a child. My mom would open the newest book of the month and delve into the latest Fairytale, coming of age story, or even (yes, even) Frog and Toad tales. I love reading books, and even enjoyed writing in class. Growing up in a time when computers and the Internet were just beginning to be explored allowed for little creativity.
Now, though, we live in Web 2.0; the new age of the web where creativity, social networking, and interactivity is at an all-new high. Digital Storytelling is a way for students, teachers, or any one else to create informational videos with creative outlets such as music, images, and voice recordings. Some digital videos are as simple as a web blog via video. Others are video podcasts. These new outlets for creativity are allowing many different people to express themselves in a way that paper and pen never would allow.

For an educational setting, Digital Storytelling is incredibly helpful to both students and teachers. The options are endless when using this method in the classroom:
·      Have the students create a video on a topic to “teach the class.” In English, this could be “How to Create an Outline for Your Essay.” Students could benefit from each other by learning the material through different mediums.
·      As a teacher: create instructional videos to give to your students when differentiating instruction. For each differentiated group station, give the students the Digital Story video to follow along to instruction. This helps visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners because they can listen, watch, and act along with the video.
·      Have the students re-create their own version of their favorite story. For the English classroom, the students can take a character that was not explored in depth, and re-create their own story from that new character’s perspective. This proves understanding of the story that was first read, and explores the student’s creativity in the process.
·      For group work, students can use Digital Storytelling to summarize and present group projects at the end of a unit.
Digital storytelling can be useful in many ways all throughout the unit. Teachers can use it and students can use it in simple ways. Some programs allow other viewers to watch, and then comment on the video. This allows students to feel some form of interaction with the World Wide Web and the social aspect of Web 2.0. 

For students today, it is important for them to show a better understanding of the Internet and how they are using the different tools that Web 2.0 is able to offer them. The better they are able to understand Web 2.0, then the more aware they are of the different tools and capabilities they have at their fingertips. Research projects are more accessible, learning can be more enticing, and last but not least: reading and writing can be taken to the next level for students who show an interest in releasing their creative ideas into the content.

That’s right, English just got that much cooler. J

For more information of Digital Storytelling and all that it has to offer, check out these links:

For a neat student Digital Storytelling check out this nifty video explaining Digital Storytelling at its best:

Until next time,
"The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts."
-C.S. Lewis