Monday, May 10, 2010

Digital Story Telling

I tend to wait until the last minute (day before class or day of!!) to do these posts because I feel like I need to think about things, play with them throughout the week and then decide what it is I want to say. I am also a typical artist, deadline driven and using every minute of the time I've been given with wet paint right up until the critique! I think of all the things we've learned so far in this class digital storytelling could be the most powerful and meaningful for students to learn and use properly.

Our human society is based on the ancient ability to tell stories. The circle of people around the fire imagining images as they flickered across cave walls is not so ancient if you look around a theatre some weekend while the film and video images reflect off the rapt faces of the 21st century patrons. It is basically the same thing- a good story. The difference is that films have a director and cinematographer and many others to help tell the story. Musical scores and more cause us to feel a certain way, to emulate with the protagonist or to despise their every move. Cavepainting was the first form of visual story telling with oral language and images coming together in crude form. Flash forward to Thomas Edison in the late 1900s and his invention of the moving picture and there a whole new way of telling stories was born. Kodak gave us the super 8 movie camera and allowed people to make movies at home. Stories for the masses...our stories.

Now in the 21st Century anyone can make a movie using the wealth of web 2.0 free digital storytelling sites or some of the fancier more expensive varieties available on a Mac or PC computer. These tools have one thing in common: they make story telling via moving pictures available to everyone. This is powerful stuff.

I am planning to use this information in many of my classes. The project I'll be presenting later will involve a Voicethread and I believe so strongly in the idea of digital storytelling that I've made my exam for all of the tech-based classes I teach a form of this. It is a REAL authentic form of assessment and provides students with skills that will travel with them and take them far.

Our goal as educators is to help our students find their VOICE and join the larger society of humans. By being able to help that voice include images we are empowering kids with an amazing repertoire of tools for the future.

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