Preparing Our Students to Be Digital Storytellers

Discovering the numerous components of digital literacy is part of the learning experience. Teaching you, the teacher, what they, the students, have actually found is also a vital part of the learning experience. All of us know the power of this flipped classroom model, even in this micro format. It still takes guts and confidence to yield that control of details and knowledge.
The reward is big.
One of the lots of charms of digital storytelling is the depth of the narrative bench at its disposal.
Well over seventy years of tv has actually yielded myriad narrative types that can be used in the classroom. We are talking video game shows! Music videos!
Digital storytelling in the classroom is an invite to trainees to use their intimate knowledge of tv, podcasting, and social networks formats to check out curricular material. That is part of the tourist attraction for students– tapping into their virtually organic understanding of these categories of storytelling.
Have you ever believed of these platforms as … libraries? They carry out the precise same function as standard libraries, serving as crucial sources of understanding, material, and entertainment.
However because these platforms are libraries of digital stories and not books, their special qualities have generated new narrative formats that go beyond television. Popular examples consist of:.
1. How To/Tutorials– The efficient, aesthetically pithy videos that take the viewer through how to … change a sparkplug … produce a survey in Google Forms … produce a killer curry sauce.
2. Vlogs– This video blogging format enables individuals to relay personal details and social observations in a casual style.
3. Item Reviews– A subset of vlogs are the item reviews. This format includes popular Influencers discussing products that they are trying, from make-up to hair shampoo to tech accessories. Item reviews can likewise take the form of a list or “listicle” that ranks their favorite topics in a particular category. Envision asking students to create a Product review of … a novel, an existing worldwide leader, or your towns recycling commitment.
4. Refresher Course Educational Model– This is that quick cutting, highly scripted talking head video format with graphics that aims to take complicated academic content and relay it back in a casual, amusing, story-based design. This design is well represented in the YouTube brand Crash Course from Vlogbrothers John and Hank Green.

Digital storytelling– the composing side of digital literacy (you can call it multi-modal communication, however I discover that phrase enervating)– is, I would argue, of equivalent academic value to text-based writing.
Since the digital world is your students library. Digital storytelling is the capability to communicate using text, images, music, and noise– still and moving. Is digital storytelling teachable without previous media production knowledge? The answer to any concern from the trainees about digital production and IT-related activities is this: “You figure it out.”.

Brett Pierce is the founder and Executive Director of Meridian Stories, a Digital Storytelling nonprofit for middle and high schoolers that challenges students to develop digital stories around core curricular goals..
Brett just recently composed Expanding Literacy: Bringing Digital Storytelling into Your Classroom from Heinemann and the new National Geographic Storytelling for Impact course series for teachers which won the Gold Anthem Award in 2022.
Brett has actually invested much of his expert life at Sesame Workshop in New York City, acting as a producer on media tasks about literacy, science, mathematics, and dispute resolution for youth around the world.

By Brett Pierce
Just a few times in the history of mankind have societies shifted completely as a result of the introduction of a brand-new medium or interaction innovation. We are amidst among those times.
This short article investigates the brand-new kind of composing that is becoming an outcome– a composing that requires to be completely incorporated into the class. Lets begin with some context.
Method, method, way back when, we moved from an oral culture to a literate culture. The origins of writing can be traced to the late 4th millennium BC where, some scholars argue, it started as a result of an increasingly intricate economy in Mesopotamia where deals could no longer be remembered: they had to be recorded in some style (Robinson, Andrew 2007).

So what do I imply by digital storytelling?.
Digital storytelling is the capacity to communicate using text, noise, music, and images– still and moving. You dont need to use all of these tools, but they are the main parts of digital storytelling. If we think about this in regards to secondary and main colors, then text, sound/music and imagery are your primaries.
Pacing, visual combination, graphics, category, tone, and voice (funny, video game program, news, secret, etc) may be your secondary colors. Its a relatively huge range of tools with which to work in order to successfully interact. And because range lies both its complexity and wonder, obstacle and chance.
Is digital storytelling teachable without previous media production understanding? Yes! All you require to understand is what you know: the material. The response to any concern from the students about digital production and IT-related activities is this: “You figure it out.”.
Heres the truth. In conventional text-based literacy, you, the teacher, know the guidelines and you teach those rules to your trainees … whether you are teaching science, mathematics, history, or literature. Text-based literacy is powered by guidelines of syntax and grammar, word options and punctuation.
Digital Literacy is not about guidelines as much as about mechanics. Digital Literacy is about understanding (1) the specific operations of the different digital parts (imagery, music, sound, modifying, zooms, and so on); and (2) how those various digital parts all synchronize with each other.
For the students, finding these digital mechanics– consisting of cool apps that let letters fly or distort an image to comic result– is like letting them loose in a play area developed simply for them. Other than its digital.

The nature of this modification is eloquently articulated by Walter Ong, a development scholar in this world who had this to say about the introduction of the written word, perhaps the first brand-new communication medium beyond the primacy of the voice:
Writing separates the knower from the known and hence sets up conditions for objectivity in the sense of individual disengagement and distancing. … To live and understand completely, we need not only proximity but also range. This writing provides for awareness as absolutely nothing else does (Ong 1982).
Heavy stuff. However so cool, this concept that a person might write an idea and leave it behind; leave it. The concept that the thought no longer needed to be kept alive by an active mind in order to exist. It can sit and percolate as a sequence of written words, and after that another person can come upon it and … include to it. This simply scratches at the surface area of how writing changed humankinds relationship to self and society.
tomislav medak, CC BY 2.0
Quick forward to the start of the twentieth century. Radio, followed by TV, enters into societys mainstream, reshaping how we hang around and connect, expands our understanding of the bigger world and presents the concept of culturally shared experiences: everyone maturing in the 60s and 70s knew Walter Cronkite, Bewitched, and The Jeffersons.
The introduction of tv and radio considerably reconfigured the way we think, perceive, understand and interact, and all of this was anticipated in the mid-sixties by Marshall McLuhan who notoriously wrote: “For the message of any medium or technology is the modification of scale or patterns that it introduced into human affairs” (McLuhan 1964).
My translation: communication innovations generally reprogram our understanding of self and others, and societies and communities; and the more aware we are of this phenomenon, the better able we are to harness and optimize those changes.
And now we have the Internet, which has in turn yielded the many social networks platforms of which we are all well conscious.
A broadened understanding of literacy
I point out all this not as ground-breaking news, however as a reminder that (a) history has proven that the introduction of communication innovations does indeed alter how societies progress; and (b) we are presently living through one of those seismic societal conversions that utilized to take centuries– the impact of the printing press, for instance– and is now lowered to a matter of a few years.
In the middle of this technological maelstrom has evolved a broadened understanding of literacy– of interacting and composing. Text is no longer the only game in the area. Digital storytelling– the writing side of digital literacy (you can call it multi-modal communication, but I find that phrase enervating)– is, I would argue, of equal academic worth to text-based writing.
Since the digital world is your trainees library. Its their communication platform. Its a full-blown interaction spectrum the breadth and depth of which is extraordinary in history.
Has there ever been a more intense and far-reaching literacy? Has the need to teach toward composing fluency in this literacy ever been higher? The concern then is: Are we preparing our kids to be meaningful factors to this digitally literate universe? And the answer is primarily No..

All of these different narrative structures promote various storytelling strengths. From the personal journey of the vlog to the concentrate on voice and character in the radio drama; from the variety of perspectives and expertise in the special news cast (believe anchor, color commentator, field reporter and interviewee) to using funny to communicate essential, visceral material in the comic sketch, the digital story provides trainees a seemingly unlimited series of creative choices that open websites into understanding and communicating serious content, within the digital universe in which they spend half of their lives.
Preparing trainees to be digitally meaningful.
In the end, if we are to correctly prepare our trainees for life after secondary school, we require to set them approximately succeed digitally, to communicate meaningfully inside the digital landscape of stories, and to contribute properly to these new libraries of digital stories.
This indicates consistently try out text, sound, music, images, voice, story, tone, point of view, narrative format, time, color, … the list goes on. And to do this, the students need to collaborate, produce, believe critically, problem solve, work iteratively, present publicly, manage time and schedules, make decisions, master digital apps, … that list goes on too.
The educational worth must be inexorable and clear. And heres the final killer piece to everything. For the students … its a blast!
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

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