During Technology EDTC 6433 students were asked to create a digital storytelling project. The goal of this project was for us to understand the power of digital storytelling by creating our own.
This project encouraged students to engage in applying ISTE Teacher Standard 1: ‘Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity’. While investigating and learning more about this standard. I read the article Digital Storytelling – a meaningful technology –intergraded approach for engaged students learning written by Alaa Sadik. This article investigates, analyzes and records the effectiveness of digital storytelling in the class. What I found helpful, before diving into my own digital storytelling project, was that the research based study concludes that, “Digital storytelling provides a real way to help students learn how to use technology effectively in their learning, particularly if provided with appropriate digital resources and usable editing tools to further motivate them into creating quality stories” (page 502-503). From reading articles such as this, I realized that I needed to make sure the project I put together would demonstrate how students could create a story with purpose using the right tools and resources to captivate their audience.
I decided to share a personal narrative that would relate to the students at the international school I work in. Most of the students in the international school identify themselves as Third Culture Kids (TCK). The term Third Culture Kids was coined by sociologist Ruth Hill Useem who used the term “TCK because TCK’s integrate aspects of their birth culture (the first culture), the new culture (second culture) and create a new culture “third culture” in the environment they live” (tckid.com, 2016). The “third culture” in which I get to be a part of has a high turn over of students. This means students frequently have to deal with saying goodbye to friends. This is a big transition that has a profound effect on student relationships and socialization in our school. Each semester teachers provide an outlet for students to process through their emotions and learn how to appropriately say “goodbye” to friends. I realized that digital story telling not only could help me teach a lesson in “transition”, but also provide students with a creative outlet in sharing their “transition” story using digital storytelling (Digital Storytelling – A Powerful Technology Tool for the 21st Century Classroom, 2008, page 223).
My project could be viewed in both a formal and informal educational setting. I will use this project to teach teachers how to effectively use digital storytelling in their classroom. I will make sure that teachers understand that digital storytelling could be used throughout a number of subjects, not just teaching about “transition”. Even though my project targets students that are going through transition, it could also be used in an informal setting outside of school. For example, I plan on sharing this project with friends and family who are also TCKs.
The process I went through in completing the final project was emotionally enlightening and frustrating while at the same time instructionally very informative! While I was doing research on what website I should use for my 4th/5th grade class I looked into sotryboardthat.com, animoto.com, Mac Imovie and Storybird.com. What narrowed down my search was whether or not these websites could be used in China and if they could be easily uploaded onto YouTube. I discovered all of the websites could be accessed in China; however, YouTube is one of the many websites blocked in China without the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). So no matter what website I chose for my students they would not be able to post their finished product publicly via YouTube. I chose storybird.com for three reasons. First, students can use the site without a VPN. Second, storybird.com offers thousands of beautiful illustrated pictures to choose from to enhance personal stories and poems, allowing students to spend more time writing and creating and less time trying to upload images and pictures without a VPN and fast Internet. Finally, students can publish (publicly or privately) their book. Students or a class can make their books available on storybird.com, on the websites blog, they may also choose to buy a published copy of their book. Books can be purchased in hardback, softcover and PDF forms.
I did go a step further in exploring what it would like to turn my storyboard creation into a video. These are the steps I had to take:
- Download my story into PDF
- Take screen shots of each page
- Create a Power Point Presentation.
- Copy and paste each page into the PPT.
- Download and loop background music.
- Record over music an audio of me telling the story.
The final PPT was a masterpiece ready to be publicly shared however, I ran into the obstacles of copywriter laws and video formatting from PPT.mov into YouTube.
Since we do not have VPN’s set up at our school and because many of the students do not have VPN’s on their home computers I don’t think it is necessary for them to apply audio/music to their published work. However, I do think that teachers could use step 1 – 6 to create more dynamic and engaging lesson instruction through storybook reading.
While I found this project to be very challenging for a number of reasons such as, lack of technical support from my school, no working VPN in our school computers, very little previous knowledge of digital storytelling and wanting to create a digital masterpiece, I came through the project knowing how to use digital storytelling and supporting tools.
I am so excited to begin using storybird.com with my students. I already have three other teachers interested in how to use digital storyboards in their classes. While I enjoy the benefits of storybird.com I will also show them how to use sotryboardthat.com and animoto.com. I think these to websites would be engaging for upper elementary and high school students.
To view my book please go to:
Bernard R., (2008). Digital Storytelling – A Powerful Technology Tool for the 21st Century Classroom. Retrieved from Seattle Pacific Library Data Base February 25, 2016.
Sadik, A., (2008). Digital Storytelling – a meaningful technology –intergraded approach for engaged students learning. Retrieved from Seattle Pacific Library Data Base February 25, 2016.
TCKids | A Home for Third Culture Kids and Adults (TCKs). (2016). Retrieved February 7, 2016, from http://tckid.com