Digital Storytelling

Talking About Storytelling by NMC Secondlife

Talking About Storytelling by NMC Secondlife

The materials we will review this week focus on digital storytelling in the broadest sense of the word, from recording course lectures to student-created multimedia projects. We’ll consider the viewpoints of faculty, students and administrators as they share with us their experiences and suggestions. Was there any particular article, concept or issue raised that you found interesting or problematic?

During our face-to-face time in class this week we will divide up the work on our course wiki and start editing and posting content to our wiki.

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6 Responses to “Digital Storytelling”

  1. Jessica McBride Says:

    This seems to be a trend, but every week our readings keep getting more and more interesting. I’m not totally sure where to begin…

    First off, digital story telling as it was presented in the anecdote from 7 Things you should know about Digital Storytelling immediately caught my attention and gave me ideas to use not only in the class I’m currently teaching, but also for language classes. Since we’re reading some short stories and poetry in the literature class I’m teaching this semester, I had already considered suggesting interested students write their own short story or poem. For students who wish to go above and beyond (because it does appear to be a lot of work for someone unfamiliar with the technology), creating a digital story to accompany work could be really exciting. I also thought that maybe this could be an interesting finale if Chantal chose to have her students write a story with a Wiki?

    As for podcasts, there were a few points brought up in Brock Read’s Lectures on the Go that I relate to both as a student and as an instructor. As someone who gets very little sleep and has very little free time (we’re all in the same boat!), we should be able to recognize the benefits of portability and options for multi-tasking. If I could somehow put all the reading I have for one week on an ipod and listen to it in my car on the way to school, I’d be in heaven. Also as Nicole pointed out in class, students tend to want to keep technology they use for amusement and technology they use for education separate, but I don’t see this as being as big an issue with podcasting as it is with Facebook for instance. Rather than intruding into their personal space automatically, students have to seek out the materials on the podcast. Just as we can’t guarantee that they will do reading, we can’t guarantee that they’ll subscribe to a podcast. However either way we’re giving them the option to more fully understand the concepts without forcing them to be tethered to the library for the whole semester.

    Another benefit that both students and instructors can appreciate is the fact that podcasting could give you the option to not lecture! Personally I don’t like lecturing (given the circumstances of the class, of course) as a student or an instructor. It’s just not entertaining, I don’t think students retain much of what is said and clearly it’s not an authentic learning experience. The most enjoyable classes for me as student and instructor are those where students can hash out previously discussed ideas. Why not use podcasting to transform lectures into homework rather than the entirety of the classroom experience? As we discussed in class, and as Brock Read reminds us again in his article, many teachers may not like the idea of no longer being the “sage on the stage,” but I think we can all agree that this way of thinking doesn’t help us as instructors or our students. Our students want to explore, they want to create and they want to participate (even if it may not always seem that way!) Allowing to students to use podcasts to both better absorb and to create course content encourage that exploration that the students in Carie Windham’s article seem to want.

    On a personal note, I think screencasting is by far the most helpful Web2.0 tool that I have used. I would have spent a lot more time setting up my RSS and wordpress page without them!

  2. nmcclure17 Says:

    I have to say, the craze over digital storytelling is a little humorous. As a film studies person, I’m not really sure how “digital” storytelling itself is reinventing the wheel – however – I definitely acknowledge the specificity of the “digital” part. While constructing a narrative via images and sound is over a century old, the access to this technology and means of storytelling is quite new. This has profoundly affected the film industry as it allows “anyone” to make a movie, which then of course has spilled over to the classroom! As an instructor of film studies, access to create digital narratives opens a whole new approach to teaching things like film genre. Rather than have them simply read and write and of course watch films that fit the course topic, they can actually create films themselves. I have done this a few times to tremendous success. Not only did the students LOVE the project, they definitely exhibited a firm grasp of the material because they had to actually DO it! For a film student, I can’t imagine a more authentic classroom experience than this. (And of course, I can see the enormous possibilities in “non-film” courses as well)

    As for podcasting – this seems to make perfect sense at a basic level. Students miss class or they can’t keep up in the lecture, etc. so they can catch up. BUT…this seems to work only if instructors tend towards static lectures. Just recording lectures won’t work if you are the type of professor who uses visuals, writes on the board, etc. Even with video technology, it’s very difficult to “film” this in a way that all things are completely visible to the camera. Now – of course you could argue that there IS technology to make a really effective podcast, but then it raises the time issue. Do we spend more time creating the podcast of a lecture than we do the actual lecture – or vice versa – or even equal time, but that is nearly impossible.

    I do like Jessie’s suggestion about assigning the “lecture” as homework, but I wonder if we run the same risk as we do in getting students to read or do any other homework for that matter…It certainly does free up the class time for more active learning though…

    One last concern about podcasting, and frankly all Web 2.0 tools is the flippancy that some seem to have about the sucess of these tools. I am thinking specifically about Brock Read’s article in the Chronicle. Read mentions the professor who claims that “Make students listen to a podcast before class, and they will show up ready to converse.” That’s certainly not enough of pedagogical reason to use a new tool. They will show up ready to converse if they are actively engaged in the material – regardless of how you present it – if you do it successfully, they will listen. This is briefly addressed in one of our readings (Paul McCloskey’s “Concensus: Podcasting has no ‘inherent’ value”), but without the detail and attention that I think this deserves. There is a real fear (at least for me) that sometimes too much weight is put into the tools and not the instructional rationale. Remember powerpoint – when that first came out, everyone thought it was a great way to deliver information, particularly in a large group. But look what has happened to it and also consider how many of those PP abusers think they are tech-savvy and “speaking the language” of their students just because they use a computer program. I absolutely see this being a real danger for podcasts particularly – I’m imagining a Ben Stein ala Ferris Bueller lecture, only this time it’s digital!

  3. Jessica McBride Says:

    Nicole,
    I don’t know if this would be possible, but could the class at some point see examples of what your students have done in the past? After Nathalie’s visit last week, for me personally anyway, seeing how colleagues use the tools we’re discussing in class has proven to be really helpful.

  4. wltung Says:

    Web CT is a rich course with its ample technological knowledge and discussion applying in education. Sometimes I just got dumbfounded as I read so many articles related to the technical trends and do not know how to start like Jessica.

    After finished reading the articles and information on the syllabus each week, though I feel kind of overwhelmed, yet they are intriguing. Recently, I even feel amazed by its powerful influence since I started to use the social networking website to interact with my students in my two Chinese classes. Only one week, I can see each one joins in with his/ her photos and profile, and they can see the message and supplements I post, the videos I put, and the discussion someone raises, which makes my teaching work done efficiently and their learning accessibly. How amazing! Though I still feel awkward in some way, I have tasted the advantages of technology applying in teaching.

    As for the podcasting, podcasts seem to own lots of advantages. First, they enable students and teachers to share information with anyone at any time. Besides, it is easy and convenient for an absent student to download the podcast of the recorded lesson. Also it can be a tool for teachers to communicate curriculum, assignments and other information with students, parents and the community. And it serves as an educational tool that teachers can record book discussions, vocabulary or foreign language lessons, international pen pal letters, music performance, interviews, and debates. Moreover, podcasting can also be a publishing tool for student oral presentations. So, “does podcasting enhance education?” Paul McClosekey raises the question. I agree the result of his survey—“Podcasting does not contain any inherent valve.” The advantages depends wholly on “the educational goals and appropriate learning activities, and how the tool is implemented” and on how it helps instructors and students reach their goals. Only as podcasting designed to work in support of their educational goals can we say it is valuable.

    Since my students are interested in participating a Chinese karaoke contest on website by submitting their video to the assigned website recently, coincidently I meet the timing to learn how to podcast their performance. Both the kids and I feel excited about it. Though we have not finished it yet, I bet it may be an impressive experience.

  5. wessam101 Says:

    Firstly, I find this course and its materials very engaging and helpful to me. What are even more helpful are the comments that you guys post every week. Thanks to all that, I have started to apply some of this stuff and make use of them for the first time…

    I think that digital story telling is a very good tool to be used to engage the students and motivate them. However, I think that it cannot be easily done in an Arabic or Chinese foreign language class which need more effort simply to know how to write in the target language or use other tools. On the other hand, when I continued reading using podcast, I found that it can go with the digital story telling to solve this problem. In other words, students can simply use images and voice to create the story. That means both, digital story telling and podcast, can go together to complete each other and make it even easier.

    I totally agree with Jessica about the multi-tasking due to the little time we have using the podcast tool. Though, I think we should have some points in mind while doing that. First, as Nicole said it should be engaging as we don’t just apply a tool but we should more importantly relate it to our course goal in the first place. Second, it should offer something new to support what is being done in the class to avoid the problem of skipping the classes. Third, it should be relevant to what is being done in class. For example, some speakers who gave speeches related to topics discussed in the class would be helpful for the students.

  6. wltung Says:

    During this Thanksgiving holidays, I am looking forward to seeing the students’ works posting on Facebook. I told them to make small projects which they can choose any topics they would like to express in the best of their Chinese like introducing their family or telling a story with photos or pictures and editing their stuff with audio and visual effects by taking advantage of technical tools. I remind them if they can make a short digital storytelling with images, sound and video, then the bonus points will be higher. So far, some students have posted their articles related to Chinese novels and movies, yet still do not have any storytelling posting. Due to some have mentioned that they are interested in doing storytelling, I hope to see some post their digital story telling before the deadline.

    I have learned the knowledge of storytelling from Beyond Web CT class. I feel no matter how old your students are and what subject you teach, “digital storytelling” can be a pedagogical technique and can be applied to nearly any subject. It can be done by a group of students and an individual as well. Even though a novice owns less technical background can do it. Storytelling allows students to express themselves with their own words and in their own voices, and they can foster to own their creative work. Moreover, I think it is a very useful method and training that students not only can develop their proficiency with multimedia applications but also train themselves with self expression and deeper critical thinking. All these features make digital storytelling serves as an important tool to demonstrate student’s learning and growth.

    In “7 Things You Should Know about Digital Storytelling”, Educause reminds us that many people may find that piecing together a coherent narrative is more difficult than they thought during the process. They may need integrated skills from creative to the purely technical. He also indicates that both faculty and students need to be careful about the intellectual property issues. I think it is an important reminding since you may possibly use some copyrighted images, music, and video that you are not intended to do.


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