My notes from a SITE 2006 preso: Digital Stories Across the Curriculum: Opportunities and Challenges

[I am recording this session for a later podcast]

AMTE’s technology position statement now includes: analyzing and visualizing math concepts
– opportunity for multiple mathematical representations to investigate mathematics

use digital images to describe different paths

math teachers are very conscious of the fact that their job is to teach mathematics
– they have to deal with this VERY broad curriculum
– slope is one of those concepts that has been difficult for students to get a handle on

Math is filled with word problems, this can be the thing that runs fear through the hearts of many

Example problem followed by the challenge: EXPLAIN YOUR THINKING
– imagery is important to students

Sharp, Thompson and Garofolo, Teaching with Digital Images in 2005 quotation about math problems

digital opportunities
– world problems are more abstract than picture problems
– allow, encourage multiple approaches for thinking about and doing mathematics
– encourage mathematical analyses of digital images
– engage students in creative….

Challenge students to see math in the world…
– teachers haven’t learned mathematics using digital images (this is CRITICAL: the way teachers learned math and were prepared is a huge factor)
– create a digital story about the person who loves math
– gather images that use geometric ideas, patterns
– investigate area of irregular figures, import to Geometer’s sketchpad
– how tall is that student? gather images of teh student next to objects of known height

challenges
– teachers believes about math and how it is taught and needs to be learned
– the crowded math curriculum
– parents’ beliefs about math and what/how it must be learned
– think about digital ideas placed in textbook columns, not integrated with math concepts

Great example of science digital story

Dr Sara Kajder: thinks ELA is the natural home for digital storytelling
– thinking about memoir and memoir writing
– there is a big resurgance that is visible in B&N
– in last 20 years the “s” has been lost, used to just be about famous people

What memoir is not…
– every year in Kentucky starting in middle school students have to write a personal narrative
– personal narrative generally lacks the personal reflective part
— personal narrative is a school genre
— chronologically structured, includes an intro, conclusion, 5 paragraph format usually

can be compelling stories
– prompt for 7th graders: take the ordinary and find the extraordinary within it
– take the ordinary things you do and how they define you, how they are extraordinary

Scott County Kentucky, met Connor, author of “Practice Makes Perfect”

List made with Connor, the non-negotiable list for storytelling
– immersion in genre study and reading
– prewriting / idea collection
– selecting, collecting and choosing a lens/frame
– drafting and revising
– construction (in the lab)
– editing, publishing, screening and celebration

Most kids take two entrance tickets into the computer lab
– their script
– their storyboard

starting to look at these as multi-modal communication
– study this in a reading classroom

Next: Dina Rosen, VP of Young Child Committee
– birth through 3rd grade
– perfect match for EC education: special attention to English
– developing abilities to communicate and problem solve
– literacy and social development

Opportunities for EC digital storytelling
– capitalize on children’s strengths for oral literacy
– offer children experience with the writing process at an earlier age (without writing)
– children express themselves (more ideas and child’s voice adds additional meaning)
– process of sharing digital stories, build bridges between and among communities / groups / individuals
– special keepsake (what tremendous value this has for the parent)

Kids will get more ideas out than even if you dictate, because transcribers often can’t keep up with the children

More opportunities
– motivate children, enable them to express themselves, feel like good communicators and storytellers at a younger age
– prepare children for engaging in higher literacy skills (such as future reading and writing)
– the listening process can transfer self-understanding

When you read a story back to yourself, we know you don’t hear it the same when you are hearing and reading
– they will watch it over and over because they made it and they like to watch things over and over

Challenges:
– instead of a science fair, students create inventions
1- design digital story activities (lesson) that are developmentally appropriate for young learners
2- determining how to implement the project: figure out where the child is developmentally (communication skills, physical skills, technology skills) to determine instructional scaffolding
3- address resistance: encourage EC teachers to include DS in the class
4- research on impact of digital storytelling and teacher preparation issues

Key challenge for digital storytellers: get other people to care / have interest

Now David Hicks of Virginia Tech

emerging visions of the possible within the social studies
– share examples of colleagues who are playing in the field of digital movie making
– digital stories
– digital historical narratives
– digital documentaries (ken burns effect)
– digital movies

we all live narrative lives, that is very important
– history in the states is often viewed as a narrative
– stories do not make history, the evidence you hold up becomes important in digital storytelling

Peter Lee in 1998: “It is absurd.. to say that school children know any history if they have no understanding of how historical knowledge is attained, its relationship to evidence….”

UT Austin
– Dr Mary Lee Webeck and Mr. Brent Hasty, Jun 24, 2005 “Make Videos: An Educators Course Puts Students in Director’s Chair”
– methods course assignment: develop digital videos…

Topics with civics
– evolution of individuals’ views on Iraq War
– promoting sex education
– fighting obesity
– avoiding performance enhancing drugs
– Texas’ 10 percent law
– Terri Schiavo case

UNC Documenting the Historical South
– Meghan Mcglinn
http://docsouth.unc.edu/

Digital Director’s Guild
http://www.ddguild.org
– they have different genres and the examples of these: digital documentaries, PSAs, historical narrative, digital diary

Primary Access by UVA
http://www.primaryaccess.org/

example is 7th grader example about Japanese internment camps: http://www.primaryaccess.org/show.php?id=271

Great quotations about students taking pride and ownership in DS projects
– Lee Hannah quotation from Roanoke County Schools

[MY THOUGHT: HEARING ALL THESE PRESO’S ABOUT DS JUST MAKES ME WANT TO GET INTO THE CLASSROOM AND TEACH!!!! :-)]

Joe Lambert’s responses:

Talk about work of Karen Eagen, toronto-based educator, recapitulation theory in cognative development
– mythic, romantic… stages

story of math: think of 3 year old and building blocks, building of the pyramid

romantic

reading the a book about development of calculus

story of quantum mechanics, looking at waves and particles as the same thing
– that contradiction is a great place to approach those types of understandings

Read Eagen’s work!

Is there a genre difference between digital storytelling and filmmaking?
– these examples are all documentary films
– Dukes’ Center for Documentary Studies, they will talk about the rigor of researched, documented information

there is a different communication border to be crossed for those of us who are suspicious of authority
– the form of digital storytelling is about a general movement to have the author place themselves in the tale
– to see how my opinion has been shaped

Questions from audience:
– what are teachers supposed to take away from their curriculum if they choose to do digital storytelling?
— do we ask carpenters to take tools out of their toolbox when a new one becomes available?
— we are just building knowledge in different ways

we should think about the balance of communication, how we are putting communication forms side by side and bring more kids into the conversations we are trying to enable and facilitate
– different ways we are inviting kids to be a part of the conversation

images about science functioning as prompts into inquiry

should we worry about sentimentalism and stories that reinforce

Thought from David Hicks: Issue of TIME in our era of hyper-accountability is a critical issue
– as curriculum gatekeepers (which is who teachers are), to what purpose– what are your desired learning outcomes

math teachers can be very unnerved about the proposition of teaching math differently
– many teachers teaching math are not well prepared to teach math
– shifting that curriculum is a VERY tough for them
– but it really needs to be the whole school

A lot of what we are talking about here is curriculum design
– making the most of it
– how am I going to teach something

[MY THOUGHT: I THINK THE IDEA SUGGESTED OF TEACHERS AS ‘CURRICULUM GATEKEEPERS’ IS A GOOD ONE BUT ALSO A FANTASY IN MANY SCHOOLS TODAY. IN OUR ERA OF HYPER-ACCOUNTABILITY, AS DAVID HICKS USED THE TERM, I PERCEIVE U.S. TEACHERS AS HAVING LESS CURRICULAR AUTONOMY THAN THEY EVER HAVE BEFORE. AS WE DISCUSS THE PRACTICAL OBSTACLES TO ADVANCING A CURRICULAR AGENDA OF DIGITAL STORYTELLING IN SCHOOLS, I AM STRUCK BY HOW THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES ARE RELATED TO TIME AND CURRICULUM. WE ARE LIVING IN A DAY WHERE ‘EDUCATED PEOPLE’ (INCLUDING ADMINISTRATORS) HAVE PERMITTED THE IDEA OF A SCRIPTED CURRICULUM AND PACING GUIDES TO BECOME SOMEHOW SYNONYMOUS WITH CONCEPTIONS OF EDUCATIONAL QUALITY. PART OF OUR CHARGE FROM THIS CONFERENCE AND THIS SESSION SHOULD BE TO HELP SHAPE THE VISION OF OUR ADMINISTRATORS AS WELL AS TEACHERS, TO UNDERSTAND THAT EDUCATION IS A CONVERSATION. DIGITAL STORYTELLING SHOULD BE AN IMMUTABLE PART OF THE CULTURAL FABRIC OF THE 21ST CENTURY CLASSROOM.]

Digital storytelling is a concept, not an application
– that makes it a lot easier for everyday people to understand

Virginia teacher is using wikis to have students do collaborative writing component, using cell phones to capture images

Photography changed painting, it didn’t destroy it.

When we use digital storytelling, we are using the language of the students to connect with them and engage them in their native languages.

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2 Responses to Digital Stories Across the Curriculum

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