Digital Storytelling

Digital Story/New Media Narrative

Essential question(s): How can teachers and students use new media to advance teaching and learning? How can the story form be used as a guide to develop new media narrative? What specific tools can teachers use to help students plan and evaluate the quality of new media projects?

Objective: Students will 
create a digital story, documentary or piece of other kind of new media narrative observing the process described in the text. They will post the following artifacts on or through their ePortfolios: a story map, script, story table, the actual video, a reflection on your video and a media rubric that they developed.

Activity: Students learn the process of planning for and creating a piece of new media using specific story and media development provided by the instructor and through the text. This activity happens in stages, with faculty interaction at each step. At the end of the project students create a reflection on the process and develop their own new media rubric to use with their own students.


ISTE NETS Standards addressed

This activity reflects the following standards:

  • 1- Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity, particularly a, "Promote, support, and model creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness"
  • 2- Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments, particularly b, "Develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress"
  • 4- Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility, particularly b, "Address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources"
Overview

Your text for this assignment is my book "Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Media Pathways to Literacy, Learning and Creativity, 2nd ed." (Corwin, 2013).

For this assignment, create a digital story, documentary or other kind of new media narrative observing the parameters discussed below. You will post the following artifacts for this on or through your ePortfolio: a story map, script, story table, the actual video, a reflection on your video and a media rubric. These are explained below.

What kind of story? The word "story" can often be misleading. Please don't assume that you are required to write something fictional. You are free to, for example recall the story of a great unit of instruction you taught, or retell the true account of a student success story, or create a short documentary about an important figure or concept in your academic field. These are just three ideas off the top of my head. I recommend that you review the story examples from previous MAT years that I have posted some in the menu on the left.

You are also free to try your hand at a fictional story. That is perfectly fine.

However, I think this assignment becomes truly useful to you when you create something that you can then show to your students as a model of something you want them to do. So, a way to think of this assignment is: If you were going to have your students create a short piece of media for your class, what might it be about? Then take on that assignment yourself, and create a model of successfully completing that assignment.

Overview of the story development process. In a few sentences, here is how a piece of new media comes into being. First, you create a "story map" that maps the emotional flow of the story. Based upon this map you then you create a script. From this, you create a "two column story table," which aligns your script with your corresponding media you will use. You then find the media, put together your media piece, add citations at the end and post your piece on a video hosting site (YouTube, TeacherTube, etc.). If for some reason you don't want to post your media work, please let me know so we can discuss it and can make other arrangements. Email me if you have questions.

Each step is explained in more detail below.

1.     Create a story map as a planning document. To help prepare for this, scan the first four chapters of your text included, “Digital Storytelling in the Classroom,” then read chapters 5, 6 and 7 in detail. Chapters 6 and 7 address story mapping in detail.

What to post: Please post your map on your site. I recommend you do this with pencil and paper (vs. a computer), and then scan it or take a picture of it. Let me know it is there. I will look at it and we will email about it. Also, include a few sentences describing what the link is, for those who might be visiting your site and need some orientation.

2.  Write a script. This should be 1 page, double-spaced; absolutely no more than two pages. One page, double spaced, is just over two minutes of spoken narrative, generally speaking. This is plenty, but up to 2 pages (which is about 4 minutes) is the maximum.

What to post: Post your script on Google Docs, and tell me it is there. I will read it and we will email about it. Also, include a few sentences describing what the link is, for those who might be visiting your site and need some orientation.

3.  Create a "two column story table." This takes the place of a storyboard. You can see how to do this at another site I maintain about this, called, oddly enough, Creating a Two-Column Story Table. This is covered in detail in your book in chapter 6.

What to post: Post this on Google Docs and let me know it is there. Also, include a few sentences describing what the link is, for those who might be visiting your site and need some orientation.

4. Create your media piece. The guidelines for this are straightforward. It should:

a- Be about 2-4 minutes in length. Do your best to observe this length. As a teacher, it is hard to evaluate student projects much longer than this if you have many students. Besides, it is better to have students sculpt rather than paint in this arena, at least to begin with. Anyone can go on and on. You want them to say as much as they can, using as little as they need to.

b- Observe media grammar guidelines. These guidelines are addressed in Chapter 14 of your text.

c- Be, preferably, academically focused somehow. You have a lot of latitude here. For examples of new media narrative projects, look at some of work done by previous year’s MAT students by visiting the links in the menu on the left hand side of this site. Not all were academic. Some students used this assignment to "bust out" and try something more personal. No harm will come to your grade if you do this. But I think you are better served by seeing how you can use media development in content areas. Up to you.

d- Provide clear citations at the end. To help you with this, read Chapter 15 of your text.

What to post: Post your final media production on the video service site of your choice: YouTube, TeacherTube, whatever works for you. Also, include a few sentences describing what the link is, for those who might be visiting your site and need some orientation. As I said above, if for some reason you don't want to post your media work, please let me know so we can discuss it and make other arrangements. Email me if you have questions.

5. Write a 2 page reflection.

What to post: A one and half to two page reflection on your ePortfolio about the process, how you think you can use new media production with your students and what you think more generally about the role of new media in the lives of your students, as students and digital citizens. Include a link to your new media piece within your reflection.

6. A trait scoring guide and rubric for new media that your students might create. Finally, create a trait scoring guide (or other approach to evaluation) that you might use to evaluate your students' work in this area. This should be one-page, lots of white space. Decide on 3-5 traits that are important to you, and how you might assess them. If you want ideas for this, look at my website on digital story evaluation. I include examples from MAT teachers. 

Here is a good introduction to rubrics, found on the Creative Educator's site: Get Started with Rubrics- Make assessment a classroom conversation By Melinda Kolk.

What to post: Post this on your ePortfolio site, or through Google Docs. Also, include a few sentences describing what the link is, for those who might be visiting your site and need some orientation.

In summary, here is what you will post on your ePortfolio for your digital story:

  1. Story map- feel free to create it on a piece of paper, take a pic of it with your smartphone, and post that file
  2. Script
  3. Story table
  4. A link to your completed digital story, that resides on a video hosting service like YouTube
  5. Reflection of 1-2 pages on the process of creating a digital story, and how you can use this kind of project with your own students
  6. Trait scoring guide and rubric
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