Whew. I did some internet wandering to check out some of the digital storytelling links mentioned in Lisa Miller’s chapter, and there are some very powerful stories out there. We talk about writing with an authentic voice, but actually hearing the storyteller’s voice can bring a narrative alive in a whole different way. A few places I visited:
- KQED’s Digital Media Center This site is the home of the Digital Storytelling Initiative, a portal for community-created digital content. KQED, Northern California’s public television and radio provider, sponsors an annual digital storytelling contest for students in grades 6 through 12, and winners from the past 5 years are available to view on the website (here). This would be a great resource for middle and high school teachers who want samples of student work to get their own classrooms thinking about digital storytelling.
- Center for Digital Storytelling There is so much good stuff here! Resources (articles about digital storytelling, tutorials, links to other websites), stories organized by theme (oh the stories…if only I had more time to watch every one of them), descriptions of workshops offered at or through the CDS. It makes me wish I lived in Berkeley. I wonder…is there a similar storytelling initiative happening in Minnesota that I don’t know about? Clicking around on CDS website led me to…
- The Y.O.U.T.H. Training Project, a program that works with current and former kids in foster care. The kids in this program create training programs/materials for social workers to improve the way child welfare services are delivered. One component of this program involves the use of digital autobiographies to tell the stories of kids who have lived through the foster care system. These are extremely compelling stories. Amazing stories. Captain’s digital story, which inspired the title of my entry, combines personal poetry, music, images, and written text in such a determined, impassioned narrative. If only we were all so articulate in our storytelling.
I haven’t really initiated digital storytelling assignments with my students, but I have supported their work as they created stories for their classrooms, mostly using Photostory. At this point my students know a lot more about video composition and editing and all those storytelling tools than I do, so I rely on our media specialist’s tech tip sheets to help me help them. It’s clear that storytelling using digital media involves all kinds of writing processes, and my students are much more willing to jump in and embrace the process when it involves more than a piece of paper and a pencil (or even a blank Word document and a keyboard). There’s still a huge amount of organization and sequential thinking required to complete these multi-modal stories, processes that are hard for many of my students with executive function disorders. But when we’re engaged in motivating, authentic projects, it’s easier to tackle the tough skills, to take redirection without taking offense, and the end product is often a more true reflection of my students’ skills.