Thursday, April 29, 2010

Issues with Toondoo

Unfortunately, Martine (Spanish teacher) and I realized there are some easily accessible inappropriate images on Toondoo. Toondoo Spaces allows educators to have a private account, but you have to pay for it. We ended up using Comic Creator from the Readwritethink web site. We didn't like it as much because there weren't as many options for characters and you can't save the cartoons online: you only have the option of printing them out when you're finished. However, if you're looking for something safer for younger students, it's completely kid appropriate and really easy to use.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Year in Morocco: Digital Story

Ironically (and pathetically!) it took me a year to create the digital story below: I started out in a Photostory workshop at a conference and added to it and revised little by little. I have yet to use it with students, but have enjoyed showing it to teachers as an example of a digital story.

If I hadn't been so motivated to tell this story, I would have given up because the process took me so long. The idea of publishing it on the blog so that it would be easy to share with teachers and classrooms was also a motivating factor. That's important to think about when creating a digital story: how will it be published or shared with others? How will students decide what story to tell?

In workshops and online templates, I see the recommendation of having students use a storyboard set up to plan for their digital stories. I wrote out my story first in word, thinking about what pictures and music would go with groups of sentences. Is that process best for me because I'm a digital immigrant? What is the best way for students to plan? How do documentary makers create their text? I'm still thinking about this.

I started this story as a memoir piece, but realized that it had a lot of Social Studies content in it. I've seen examples of students using Photostory to report on content information that they had read in Social Studies and one middle school student this spring created a report-like digital story in Imovie about his XBox. However, the most powerful digital stories I've seen have been personal narratives and I like to think of digital stories in the way they're defined on wikipedia (which acknowleges that the term is evolving and debated): "'Digital Storytelling' is an emerging term, one that arises from a grassroots movement that uses new digital tools to help ordinary people tell their own 'true stories' in a compelling and emotionally engaging form. These stories usually take the form of a relatively short story (less than 8 minutes) and can involve interactivity."

This wiki (Cogdooroo) can be a bit overwhelming, but I found it a great resource for thinking about digital storytelling.

And now, without further ado, "A Year in Morocco." (Thanks, Taaka!!!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Teachers creating digital stories

At one school, I'm working with middle school teachers of special education to create our own short digital stories as a way of modelling for students as well as familiarizing ourselves with this form of communication. Here are a few short examples teachers created their first time using IMovie. The first, "Labrador Retriever" by Sherilynn Saporito, is an example of how you could use Imovie, powerpoint, Moviemaker, photostory or another program to have students write about content in a science or social studies course. The second, "Dallas" by Katrina Hammerl, is one I'm most interested in: telling a personal story using music, words and images.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Daniel Boom a.k.a. Loudboy model booktalk with flip camera

This is a booktalk a colleague helped me record as a model in preparation for fifth grade students using the flip cams to record their own booktalks. (Thanks, Gwen!!)It was done in one take, so the teacher and I had the students give me feedback on how I could improve it if I were to record it again. Solana loves Daniel Boom and I thought this series might be appealing to fifth graders. I'm still working with my teacher colleagues on the best way to teach this series of lessons as well as deal with the classroom logistics of making the videos with minimum background noise.