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Technology for the Likes of Shakespeare and Poe

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Keywords: digital storytelling, technology, English, Language Arts, Special Education, Integration,
Subject(s): Art, Health and PE, Video, Social Skills, Technology, Podcasting, Special Needs, Writing, Music, Reading, Information Skills, Social Studies, English/Language Arts, Spelling, Service Learning, Grammar, Drama, Civics, History
Grades 7 through 12
School: Wishkah Valley School, Aberdeen, WA
Planned By: rebecca petheram
Original Author: rebecca petheram, Aberdeen
Digital stories are grounded in the seven effective storytelling elements introduced by Joe Lambert and the Center for Digital Storytelling (2002): 1) Point of View 2) Emotional Content 3) Dramatic Question 4) Soundtrack 5) Gift of Your Voice 6)Economy and 7) Pacing. Scripts for digital stories adhere to many of the established traits of the personal narrative genre:
• focuses on a single incident in the writer's life
• has a clear purpose, the significance of which is clear to the reader
• is written in first person
• has many relevant sensory details
• includes the author's feelings and thoughts
• often includes dialogue
An additional property of digital stories is a maximum length of three to four minutes.
Although intended to be autobiographical, digital stories aim to capture defining moments as opposed to encompassing one’s entire life story. Students creating digital stories for the first time are also limited to using still images. Video is introduced as students become more familiar with effective storytelling. Students will integrate oral storytelling traditions; provide practice in visually mapping basic story elements such as beginning, middle, and end; use a variety of story media to help students identify the conflict or point of a story; employ alternatives to the traditional composition approach to writing such as the photo essay; establish the context and purpose for story writing; and recognize the role of identity construction within personal narrative writing.
Visual literacy is defined by the North Central Educational Laboratory (NCREL) as: the ability to interpret, use, appreciate, and create images and video using both conventional and 21st century media in ways that advance thinking, decision making, communication, and learning The basic process of creating a digital story involves only a few steps: 1) write a two to three minute first person story 2) collect images to accompany the story 3) import images into the computer 4) record the voice over and 5) align images with script. Within these five steps are a vast array of skills and concepts that most students meet for the first time. Many have never taken a photograph, recorded their own voice, or thought about how music and text can influence how a view interprets something on a screen. With effective teaching strategies, students will create engaging and satisfying stories that strive to apply the following definition of story: a story needs to contain certain essential elements: 1) a beginning with a “call to adventure” (Campbell) 2) conflict 3) transformation of central character by end of story 4) transfer that allows reader to transform and learn new things along with central character 5) an end or closure, not necessarily a happy ending a digital storytelling project should follow five stages: 1) Planning/Logistics 2) Script Writing 3) Teaching Digital Story Elements 4) Managing the Technology and 5) Assessment. I have used these five stages to frame my analysis of approaches to digital storytelling. Within the five stages, I will address the following issues challenging digital storytelling in education: • emphasizing tool literacy over story literacy • adapting traditional composition methods for writing a concise narrative enhanced with moving images, text and audio • relying on deconstruction of a model digital story to teach the seven
elements of an effective digital story • absence of visual and media literacy instruction in school curricula. The digital storytelling community has accepted most of the following seven elements of an effective digital story put forth by Atchely, Lambert and Mullen:
1. Point of View
2. Dramatic Question
3. Emotional Content
4. Gift of Your Voice
5. Power of Soundtrack
6. Economy
7. Pacing
Teaching students these skills and concepts then honestly assessing their completed digital stories presents several challenging issues. These issues can be divided into two categories: 1) subjective assessment and 2) insufficient attention paid to determining what is developmentally appropriate to expect of students' personal narrative and media skills. The five stages of a typical digital storytelling project are used to illustrate the issues raised by attempting to teach and assess a digital story that corresponds to the seven elements. Digital storytelling is attractive to students because they get to drive the learning. Story coaching supports the personal risk-taking that accompanies this relatively new driving experience for students.
1. Listen to the teller (suspending judgment)
2. Offer honest appreciations (avoid saying “It was good when…”)
3. Provide suggestions if prompted (this is not at odds with teaching responsibilities)
4. Provide opportunity for teller to ask questions or request help
Students should not be limited to the traditional composition model when it comes to writing their scripts. Within every class exists a wide range of narrative skills, intellectual self-awareness, and learning styles. I will integrate peer feedback, a form of story coaching.
1. Get a story idea
2. Create a story map
3. Pitch it to your teacher and peers
4. Create a storyboard
5. Scripting/Writing
6. Review by peers, teacher
7. Production/post-production – this is when students get to the computer!
8. Performance (sharing with audience)
9. Assessment/Improvement
In each of their stories I will look for two things: 1) clear evidence of the significance of the place to the student and 2) the application of most of the seven elements of an effective digital story that I had modeled for them. These two areas encompass a broad range of abilities and assume that students have already attained what Piaget referred to as the formal operational stage of child development. The status of a student’s personal and social development has a large impact on creating a digital story.
The ability to self-identify is a large part of personal narrative writing. Rubrics used to assess student-produced digital stories maybe looking for this, but do not make self-identification an explicit criteria. After all, you cannot force a student to self-identify.
With your generosity, we will bring Technology to the Likes of Shakespeare and Poe.

Presently, our English classes are still teacher-directed and do not include much, if any, use of technology beyond basic research and word processing capabilities. I do not want to teach in 1950s mode. I need technology to fundamentally redesign the learning experience leading to increased student engagement and academic success. I hope you can make our quest a reality so that our rural students can have the same experiences that students in larger, better funded school districts encompass.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This could be applied at many grade levels. Students start developing voice at young ages. Older students could serve as mentors for equipment/software use. Teachers and students in other classes could use technology to develop digital stories about any subject taught at school.
This could be applied at many grade levels and many subject areas. Students start developing voice at young ages. Older students could serve as mentors for equipment/software use so that teachers and students in other classes could use technology to develop digital stories about any subject taught at school.
Links: http://archive.techlearning.com/techlearning/events/techforum07/dst_orlando_jakes.pdf
Materials: Mobile Labs, Flip Video, Wildlife, Digital SLR, Portable, Digital Voice Recorders, Televisions, DVD/VCR Players, Wacom Tablets, Printers, Flash/USB Drives, Batteries, Memory Cards, Cables, LCD Monitors, Reading, Books, Podcasting, Clip Art, Music, Sound Libraries, Internet Services, Student Resources, Cause and Effect
Other Items: 1 Mobile Lab, $35000 each, total of $35000.00
5 Flip Cameras w/ accessories, $350 each, total of $1750.00
1 Wildlife Camera w/ accessories, $450 each, total of $450.00
1 Digital SLR w/ accessories, $1200 each, total of $1200.00
1 Network Color Printer w/ accessories, $1800 each, total of $1800.00
5 Digital Voice Recorders, $85 each, total of $425.00
1 TV, $450 each, total of $450.00
1 DVD Player, $250 each, total of $250.00
30 8 gig Flash Drives, $35 each, total of $1050.00
5 Software, $75 each, total of $375.00