I’ve added a new session entitled “Digital Storytelling as THE Disruptive Change Agent for the 21st Century Learning Revolution” to the EduBloggerCon San Antonio 2008 Session Offers wiki page. The description I suggested is:

The digital connections now possible via blogging and other social networking technologies are phenomenal and potentially transforming for educators around the world. To change schools and learning paradigms more broadly, however, digital technologies which permit content creation as well as collaboration must gain not only the attention but also the support of school administrators and board members. How can we do this most effectively? In this session we will explore and discuss the proposition that digital storytelling projects (by students as well as teachers) may offer the greatest hope we have to constructively disrupt and extend the perceptions of multiple stakeholders within our communities about learning and school. If we want to contribute meaningfully to a 21st century learning revolution, how can we do that in our local contexts and keep our jobs? How are school district leaders’ minds positively changed about topics not just limited to educational technology, but student-centered learning more generally? Is digital storytelling the answer? Let’s explore the possibilities.

Thoughts or responses?

My experiences to date with digital storytelling and specifically our statewide oral history project “Celebrate Oklahoma Voices” are major influences on my thinking along these lines.

I’m always wary when someone says “this is the answer” with respect to the challenges we face as educators, parents, and/or community leaders. If I have to point to a single type of technology use in which I have the most hope for its potential to move the school reform agenda forward in a constructive direction, I’d have to say it is digital storytelling. For more background on this line of thinking, see my post from February, “Why Celebrate Oklahoma Voices Matters.”

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  • http://elementbendingeducation.blogspot.com/ Gilbert Halcrow

    I am always concerned with Digital story telling. As a Media teacher I encourage my students to understand the triumvirate of Audience Form (Medium) and Content (Message) – Please disregard Mal Mc’s Medium is the Message for the moment!

    What is the purpose of the digital story telling – usually it is an educational aim, which is more often than not engaged with during the process of construct and not necessarily the finished product.

    There is no doubt that students’ and teachers’ journeys can resonate with school leaders and board members. But are they resonating to promote change or simple reassuring them that their schools are wonderful places?

    Without drawing the dots for them – it is just another failed advertising campaigns – digital story telling runs the risk of just providing warm fuzzy feelings that will actually reinforce the status que, not challenge it.

    The saturation of You Tube Videos has already numbed school leaders – There’s the tertiary ones with lots of statistic and reflective piano arpeggios or the secondary one with lots of ‘student voice’ vox pops or even the primary ones with Barneyesque ethnic tokenism and lots of cutesy voiced children talking about when they ‘are big the jobs they’ll do don’t exist now’.

    Sorry says the cynic in the back row – not working. Ironically educators are ticking the boxes with these efforts with the agendas of ‘student voice’ and technology, while the actually ‘trail blazing’ teachers and students still struggle under impoverished levels of technology and inappropriate curriculum.

    Advertising works – it persuades and can modify behaviour. Advertising works because it has a clear purpose and is perfectly tailor in its form and content so as to engage its target audience.

    Stop the digital story telling and start the digital advertising. Know whom your talking to, know how you want their behaviours to change and design the text appropriately. Don’t stop using digital story telling to educate, but realise at best it might resonate, but it was never design to change administrator and school leaders attitudes or behaviours.

    The irony is with the zero cost of publishing and reaching an audience, that we have perhaps become too careless in considering who our audience is and what we are hoping to achieve.

    There is a places for all forms of publishing, sharing and collaborating in education, but do not confuse those forms with advertising (or propaganda depending on your perspective).

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