This is a post I’ve written to share on a private / closed professional development Ning site, but I’m cross-posting it here in case these ideas and links are of interest to you. As always I welcome feedback, push-back, and additions. 🙂
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What are some outstanding examples of digital storytelling as it applies to schools and classrooms? What different categories can be used to describe these different digital storytelling examples? Here are a few ideas and links.
Blogs can be used for many purposes, but one of the most important is to tell stories. There are a wide variety of classroom teachers and students now using blogs for different purposes. The best collection of links to classroom blogs of which I’m aware is on SupportBlogging.org. Check out several of these and leave some positive, constructive feedback on some of them for student writers. Two of my favorite classroom blogs are those written by Mark Ahlness’s 3rd grade students in Seattle, Washington, and Brian Crosby’s 6th grade students in Reno, Nevada.
Wikis are web-based documents which individuals can author collaboratively. MemoryArchive is a wiki-based encyclopedia of memories which invites participation from others. Like blogs, wikis can be used for a multitude of purposes. MemoryArchive is a good example of a wiki-based site specifically focused on digital storytelling.
There is magical power in the human voice. Even young children have tremendous expressive capacities when they use their voices, which may not be adequately communicated through written words. Carol Ann McGuire is an exemplary elementary teacher who has used audio-only podcasts in a wide variety of ways to differentiate learning as well as assessment. Her “Podcasts from the VI Room” are some of my favorite examples of audio-based digital stories. Carol Ann teaches in California.
Radio WillowWeb is one of the best-known elementary podcast examples of digital storytelling. Willowdale Elementary is in Omaha, Nebraska.
More links to audio-only podcast examples are available on http://handouts.wesfryer.com/podcasting.
Digital stories do not have to include audio to be effective, powerful, or memorable. Flickr is my favorite photo sharing website, and the group “Tell a Story in 5 Photos for Educators” has multiple examples of five-photo short stories. Can you tell a story with five photos? Give it a try and share your photo story in this group. Use the examples in this group to discuss with your students the power of visual media to communicate. Dr. Lynell Burmark of the Thornburg Center relates that the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. It is very important that we help learners of all ages cultivate their media literacy skills, and helping students recognize as well as utilize the power of visual images to tell stories can be an important part of this learning process.
Several oral history projects include wonderful examples of video-based digital storytelling. Telling Their Stories is a Digital Storytelling project by The Urban School in San Francisco, CA, and includes full length transcriptions linked to full length videos.
The Our Stories Project is “providing resources to create and share personal stories from all over the world, starting with children in developing countries who are using One Laptop per Child (OLPC) computers or those who are working with UNICEF radio producers to record and share interviews.”
Our “Celebrate Oklahoma Voices” project is “a statewide digital storytelling project empowering learners to become digital witnesses, archiving local oral history and sharing that history safely on the global stage of the Internet.” We use a Ning site with a custom domain address to post and share videos, and to date over 130 have been created and shared by Oklahoma teachers and students.
Most of our schools in Oklahoma, where I work, block all free, video-sharing websites like YouTube and Blip.tv. There are several websites now specifically focused on educational video sharing, and these include some good examples of digital storytelling. These sites include SchoolTube, TeacherTube, and NextVista for Learning. Videos created by high school students of Marco Torres are some of the best examples of digital storytelling I’ve ever seen.
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