Tech Tuesday: Digital Storytelling

(Programming Note: If you don’t want to read my commentary about the process I went through to produce this week’s Tech Tuesday, I link up my presentation at the very end of the post, you can just scroll down:)

Before Tech Tuesday this week, I sent out a survey to staff asking which type of professional development they were most interested in. The choices were “Alternative tools for student presentations (besides Google Slides and PowerPoint),” “Teacher tools for organizing your digital life,” and “Digital Storytelling.” I wanted to be sure that I was presenting on topics that the staff wanted to learn about, and this survey would help me determine the priority of the professional development that teachers wanted. As it turns out, all three were tied in interest level almost all the way through. At the end, Digital Storytelling barely prevailed, and I was very excited at the thought of putting together professional development for this.

And then, I Googled it.

If you ever want to be overwhelmed by resources, you should try Googling “Digital Storytelling” sometime. It was tough to know where to start. Luckily, I had recently made a connection with the educational technologist that is now at a school where I used to teach. She had recently completed a large project for a master’s class on Digital Storytelling, so her resources provided me with a FANTASTIC starting point. I then got on Twitter, because if I ever need a bunch of GOOD curated information, I head on over to @cybraryman1’s website (cybraryman.com) and I know I will find a ton of excellent resources. So using these two platforms as my launching pad for research, I knew I was in good hands. Thank you, thank you, thank you, to my PLN and all of the interwebs for your resources.

When I taught, I cannot say that I used a ton of digital storytelling in my classroom, but I did use the heck out of GoAnimate (back in the day where you could do some cool stuff for free) for some funny Spanish videos with my students (hey, all that matters is if I thought they were funny, right?). And that was about the extent of my knowledge on digital storytelling. So, I knew I had quite a bit of work to do when it came to this professional development. I needed to get to know the ins and outs of digital storytelling in about a week. What better way to get to know it than to start making a few videos?? But what do I make a video about? The obvious choice is to make a video about my daughter (which I did), but I knew I would need something a little more powerful. Something that came from…. the students. So I talked with our video production teacher to see if I could borrow a few of his students in his upper level video class to be in my video. I asked them a bunch of candid questions about storytelling and why it’s important, and how technology helps them tell their stories. I was blown away by their responses. Check them out!

The fun thing about this video, besides the students providing me with some amazing responses, was that I completed it ALL on my phone. (Shout out to the iPhone 6s for coming complete with iMovie!) Now, here’s where my Tech Tuesday adventure took a fun little turn. I sent my completed video to the video teacher and another tech-savvy teacher so they could see how great the kids did. I also put a plug in there about how iPhones rule, because they are both passionate about their Android devices. This spurred a fun and friendly video competition. The video teacher laid out the parameters for the contest:

Length: 45 seconds – 1 minute
Theme: Your Kid(s)
Must Haves: Text, a close-up shot, and a spoon.

I’m a sucker for competition, so I made my second video for Tech Tuesday. Check it out!

Through this competition, I was able to include mobile storytelling in my presentation for both Apple and Android devices.

I then knew that I needed to become familiar with some web-based Digital Storytelling programs. Throughout this process, I bet I looked through 15 or so web-based programs, and it was a lot of work to go through and weed out the ones I felt didn’t offer as much. Through my research, I came up my version of the best FREE ways to complete digital storytelling in the classroom. (Sometimes you have to get creative for “free.”) The top three that I found were:

WeVideo (Free version allows for 5 minutes of video production per month.)
Animoto (Apply for the educator’s package to get 50 free student accounts – get creative with student grouping if you have more than 50 students.)
VoiceThread

All three offer slightly different types of stories to be produced, based on teacher preference and comfort level with each one.

I finished my presentation with curricular ideas for implementation, to get some creative juices flowing for teachers.

What digital storytelling lessons to you incorporate in your classroom, or what ideas do you have for future use? I’d love to hear them! In the meantime, below is my presentation that I used during Tech Tuesday today! I hope you can find something useful out of it! Thanks for reading!

-Megan

Tech Tuesday Presentation: Digital Storytelling (Note – you can only watch the videos if you are in “Present” mode in Google Slides. And the links in the slides only work properly if you are not in “Present” mode.)

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