Bernajean Porter (author of the website resource “DigiTales”) offers some great advice and suggestions for teachers at all levels using digital storytelling in the classroom or contemplating its use in her recent skypecast interview with Tim Wilson. I love the following exhortation she shares (at minute mark 28:57 of the podcast) regarding the importance of getting digital storytellers (in this case students) to personally construct meaning in their work:
Don’t just tell me ‘about, about, about.’ Tell me how this story, this person’s life, this event, connects to you or humanity. Make some meaning out of it for me. That means you have to go a lot deeper into the content than just standing out here and cutting and pasting facts together.
We need teachers at all levels to be challenging students to go DEEPER into content, rather than just skimming the surface. Some people have referred to this learning style as “content dipping.” We need to reject dipping in all forms: the smokeless tobacco kind and the learning kind! 🙂
Bernajean also offers some great suggestions for teachers and writers wanting to improve their craft. She asks rhetorically at 31:30 of the podcast:
Are your langauage choices decorating your story, illustrating your story, or illuminating your story?
We have WAY TO MUCH “decorating” in a lot of student writing in the classroom, I think. Many teachers encourage students to write ABOUT, ABOUT, and not construct meaning in the way Bernajean is suggesting here. These recommendations are applicable for anyone writing, not just those writing for digital storytelling.
Many thanks to both Bernajean and Tim for creating and sharing this SUPER podcast / skypecast about digital storytelling! 🙂 Her DigiTales website is a super resource, especially her pages addressing copyright-friendly (royalty free) media and intellectual property for students and teachers. Tim will be publishing a 3rd episode in his digital storytelling podcast series, again with Bernajean, but this time on the subject of assessment of digital stories. Tim’s blog and podcast is on www.technosavvy.org.
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