Digital Storytelling, Visual Literacy and 21st Century Learning
by David Jakes and Joe Brennan
David’s resources on digital storytelling, including LOTS of examples! (FANTASTIC RESOURCES HERE)

David is the Instructional Technology Coordinator for Community High School District 99, in Downers Grove, IL

Joe is the “Visual Literacy Facilitator” (AV guy in 2 buildings) for Niles Township High schools in Stokie, IL

David has been to the Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley
– had to tell your story first in a circle with 10 strangers
– when he said “what really bothers me about this story

good technique: use a story circle
– that got down to 3/4 of a page

power of a digital story: you have other ways to communicate

This video is called “A New York Minute”

David directly links digital storytelling to
– 21st century literacy skills
– NETS standards
– 3 position papers from NCTE

Why do this?
– kids have stories to tell, and these stories need to be told
– David observes that 50% of these at least created by students are therapeutic

When we start forgetting about educating the whole child, and instead focus on the standards, then we do leave children behind

This is really about writing
– this is why I am doing this, to get kids to write

2 quick stories
– Dept Chair of PE on one of our campus confronted a health teacher, about a project that is creating 45 second PSAs with students
– one of her students is writing 2 stories, or 4 stories, for 1 that they need to create

We have a fundamental desire
– this is a classic case of technology use, it extends the writing and takes it to a place where it could not go alone
– ask yourself how it changes learning, it extends what kids are able to do

Reasons this is valuable for kids:
– write
– revise
– visualize
– create
– locate
– take risks
– communicate in new ways (the visual medium suggests these ways, like in transitions visual nature can help writing)
– collaborate
– extend
– learn new technology skills
– become more visually literate
– manage and prioritize
– use real world tools
– produce meaningful, personal products of value

Good way to get into digital storytelling is to look at advertisements
– they are built to persuade

Point of this example: the power of visual imagery, the connection between your eyeballs and your brain
– do a search for
– done by Spike Jones, an award winning filmmaker
— first establishes the shot
— she carries the lamp like a baby at first, with the 2nd shot it has a face and is a baby
— next shot: from the lamp’s view of its former home
— wind is blowing, the lamp is shivering!
— then the lamp gets rained on
— the lamp has been replaced
— watch the lamp’s face
— the light goes out

this gives kids a competitive voice in a media-centric world
– allows students to upload movies
– has huge power in terms of kids “having a say”

Students that don’t talk a lot in class still often have a lot to say

Example Steve Hernandez movie “Acceptance” for 2005
– he never would have shared this

Assignment was “personal narrative: tell a story”
– quality digital stories have their genesis in quality writing

You have to move your written narrative into a script

What makes up a digital story?
1- video
2- still frames
3- sound
4- narration
5- writing

auditory nerve: 18,000 nerve fibers make up the , 1 million nerve fibers connect brain to the eye
– you have T1 from eye to brain, just dialup connection from ear to brain
– look at visual literacy: any time we add visual, we improve the chances of kids learning stuff
– studies by Xerox, when you add color to imagery, you increase retetion

Kids have PTS
– power point transition syndrome
– if you think powerpoint has a lot of transitions, then just wait till you see the transitions in moviemaking productions

the Irish were great storytellers
– “A Shoebox Story”: anything you could bring in make a story out of it
– can get in poetry here

Showed “A Dog’s Life” by Allan Jefferies

these actually have to be short to be powerful
– have done 10 min and 50 min documentary movies with WWII vets
– making

Great example of school outreach (doing this with Seniors and others in the community)
– write
– storyboard
– talk into a microphone

Digital Storytelling Process
– Write
– Write some more
– storyboard
– locate resources
– create
– share

No matter what, kids have to write the narrative first

Writing prompts go get you started:
– what do you want to say to that special person?
– what should you have said?
– i remember when…
– if i had to do it over again…
– it’s funny what a man/woman of my age remembers
– a story about a special sacred place…
– your firsts… (kiss, home, love, day of school)
– your lasts…
– I am from…
– “It’s just one thing…” (from City Slickers, the meaning of life) What’s the one thing?
– A story that you want your grandchildren to hear
– the greatest day of my life…
– The most _____ day of my life (disappointing, inspiring, magical, humbling)
– the conflict… I thought my life would have been…but it’s….
– One decision (fork in the road). If I had done this… my life would have been….
– MasterCard commercial…. priceless

Goal of the script is to strip out the elements you are going to represent in otherways: music, images
– key: get it down to 3/4 of a page, double spaced

then have them do a storyboard
– this is the least favorite part
– this is absolutely critical

Kids must plan everything in advance
– if kids are going to go out and shoot video, they must go out and plan it all out

the place to coach and provide constructive criticism is at this point: the storyboarding phase
– this is when the teacher can make a big positive difference / impact

Good sources to use
– we want to help kids learn to use digital content appropriately

Microphone recommendation from Dave’s website: Sennheiser PC-130 noise-cancelling microphone
– for Macs however you need a powered USB mic, it is more like $30.

Great set of Flickr tooks from Dave

25-30 images works well, 60-80 is too many
– 1 song does it
– 3/4 page of double spaced text does it
– 45 seconds to 2 – 2.5 min is good
– if you have 6-7 minute movie, you can take that down to 2, but takes some cutting

“platform is irrelevant, process is everything”

PhotoStory 3 is a free Windows software, requires Windows Media Player 10

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