July 21, 2008
My two weeks at the Holocaust Seminar were amazing, just amazing. Because I need some time to reflect on the depth and breadth of what I learned, I’m planning to share the experience and resources a bit at a time, starting with the way I started most of my days: walking through Central Park’s Strawberry Fields.
July 2, 2008
Arnie Abrams is opening the session by stating that digital storytelling should be more about the writing – and the writing process – than about the technology.
Benefits of digital storytelling:
- can be made interactive
- provides real audience
- works for the “YouTube generation”
- helps develop visual literacy
- helps to understand mass media
- requires presentation skills
- develops writing skills
We can now do digital storytelling 2.0 – interactive (VoiceThread – my idea, not his;-)
Ten step development process:
- start with a good story
- write an outline/script
- brainstorm visual ideas, music
- findavisual, shoot
- edit visulas
- add title , graphics
- record narration
- match visual to audio. add music
- produce, revise, present, distribute
Meg Ormiston quote “Without a structure students will focus on adding images, music, and other elements instead of focusing on the content and organization”
Storyboarding – recommends using index cards so kids can move slides around.
Ways to build a digital story:
- Stills in a folder
- PowerPoint (export PNGs)
- Slide show programs – Photoshop Elements
- Video editing programs
- DVD authoring
- iPhoto – Mac only and lacks features, such as titles
- Photoshop Elements – has slideshow option – with 2 audio tracks! And nice pan and zoom effect; add clip art on top of images via drag and drop; good edit control – but only makes WMV format – appropriate for 5th grade on up
- PhotoStory 3 – Windows only. You can work only with stills – and doesn’t run with Vista. You can bring in your own music – or create your own copyright-free music.
- Corel VideoStudio – appropriate for 6th grade up – Windows only. Allows importing music and video from DVDs. Bottom third option for text. Has 5.1 surround sound – nice for exporting to DVDs. Also allows exporting into all the basic formats (mov, avi, etc.)
- iMovie – previous versions great, but iLife 08 pretty much sucks – but you can download previous version.
- Clicker – works on Mac and Windows – Arnie has developed storytelling templates to get kids started. Appropriate for primary kids. Includes text reader, but they can also use microphone option.
Tip for copyright issues: Include a disclaimer on your site with offer to remove images, etc., by request. Here’s a sample one from Arnie:
“Many of the digital stories on our site include images and audio found on the Internet using commonly available search engines. The stories have been created for non-profit, educational use by students and teachers and we hope are within the fair use protection of existing copyright laws. If any copyright owner objects to the use of any work appearing on this site, please contact us and we will remove the work and review the propriety of including it.”
June 30, 2008
Bernajean Porter is asking us the difference between a story and storytelling. It’s a “lesson learned” that raises a story to storytelling. We’re watching the sample The Music in My Heart, with the tip that when justifying storytelling in your curriculm, make sure you always end by focusing on the difference it makes to an individual student.
Digital storytelling is tuned in tightly to the writing process. You’ve got to have some art to the story, plus a good beginning and solid end. It’s about stories having power and memorability.
Sample exercise: The prompt is “write about a time when technology made a difference in the life of a student” Check out samples and tips at Become a Storykeeper Wiki. Bernajean’s passion for the need to make and share stories about making a difference in the lives of children is infectious. She’s proposing a national project.
“There’s amazing power in storytelling for learning and for spirit. We have to start celebrating from our hearts how teachers make a difference for kids.” Bernajean Porter
June 30, 2008
I’m sitting in a very packed room with Rushton Hurley (I’m actually hiding from the fire code folks up front where they can’t see that I’m exceeding the room limit). Low Tech Advice:
- time limits
- violence and martial arts (think high school boys)
- podcasts and slideshows – ask the students “Is this what you want other people to hear.” Ease kids into projects so they care about a quality produce
- alone or with others – helps kids who don’t have the equipment
- alternatives – you can give students non-video options such as posters (but they’ll want to do video!)
Resources: These resouces can be used as long as you cite them:
Titles and Screenshots:
- using save-as in PowerPoint (use save as > save as type > save as jpg option)
- Google Earth or Sketch Up
- PicLens – plug in for your browser – perfect fix for those with “iPhone envy.” Great tool for teaching vocabulary, for instance.
- CreativeCommons.com- KIds need to read the attribution requirements; otherwise, they’ll go to Google and not only violate copyright but also pick something that will pixalate like crazy.
- Morguefile.com (newspaper term) – Huge file sizes, which are good for video.
- Motion should ahve a purpose (pans, faces, eyes)
- What to do if you’re on PC? Use PhotoStory3 – great, great tool and free! Import pictures > customize motion option > save. If you’re using panning, you want the motion to be different all the time (which is shortcoming with default panning (Ken Burns effect). Oh, and you can create music in Photostory. A bit “elevatorish,” but you have options. Tip: don’t use a favorite pop song because that’s what your listeners will concentrate on — not your movie.
Moving Beyond Freebies
- Macs – Final Cut Express
- PCs Adobe Premiere Elements – $99 (BHphoto.com) – It’s a memory hog, so you’ll need a good video card with lots of RAM. Remember to render often, not just save. Big advantage of having multiple tracks. Key frames feature is cool, allowing you to add great effects., such as translucent text floating across an image. Want a good mic for camera: lavalier mic.
Why do we do video?
- another way to show learning
- good for ELL, LD kiddos
- impact (“favorite thing”)
- audience – we need to expand the audience so that kids really stretch
Good news… You can contact Rushton via www.NextVista.org or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fabulous session!
April 30, 2008
Many thanks to glassbead (Clarence Fischer) for sharing a Tweet with the link to In the Time of Trees, a beautiful photo essay. The topic is a multimodal match for NPRs This I Believe podcasts in terms of providing rich visual + text possibilities for student – and teacher – writers. Besides the slide show format, Voice Thread would be also be an effective format for an “In the time of….” photo essay genre.
April 29, 2008
Over the next few weeks, I will be uploading and showcasing some of the amazing student projects that have come out of the DOLCHE project. Right now we are gathering input from students on their tips for future filmmakers. If your students are questioning the value of storyboarding as part of pre-production, I think Florin High School student Xavier Carillo (from Bob LeVin’s 12 grade English class) explains it well.
Many thanks to SECC cameraman Doug Niva for sharing the interview clip…with more to come:-).
March 21, 2008
Following on the heels of my trip to the CUE Conference, last Wednesday I headed over to our Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium (SECC) to help judge the SEVAs (Students Educational Video Awards). As I sat with a team of teacher reviewers scoring middle school entries, I kept thinking about Mathew Needleman‘s second graders’ amazing going-beyond-Open Court productions , such as as Camouflage Jones – Private Investigator. Making an award-winning film requires more than a well-designed storyline and storyboard. A bit of background in basic camera shots can make all the difference in grabbing and keeping an audience’s attention (and scoring judges points)!
As part of my district’s DOLCHE project, we provided participating teachers with a copy of Niko Theodosakis’s The Director in the Classroom. As engaging and comprehensive as this resource is, it does not include a section on basic shots. Fortunately, to complement Nikos’s book and videoconferencing trainings, my talented DOLCHE partner Krishna Harrison-Munoz jumped in with both a teacher workshop and a student workshop on basic shoots, much of which is included in her Roadmap for the New Video Producer and her Roadmap for the Student Video Producer.* Combine this handout with Mathew’s Kinds of Shots Tutorial, and even I (Queen of Bad Photography) feel confident about taking digital storytelling to the next level.
*Note: This was my first time using the K12HSN’s edZone to upload a document. Very easy! And I love having all that free space for uploading!
January 30, 2008
Sunday morning, I received an email via the NWP Tech Liaison’s listserv from Scott Floyd. It was an invitation to check out a post in his A Piece of Mind blog about the recent violence in Kenya:
I was fortunate enough recently to be in contact with someone who lived the Kenya unrest firsthand. She (Ellen) and her twelve year old son were in Kenya volunteering at an orphanage when the presidential race unfolded and the violence began. She shared her story of escape in a blog post on Guy Kawasaki’s blog. I contacted her, and we worked together via the Internet to create several versions of her story using various Web 2.0 tools. I used it this past week while training school staff on integrating more technology, and we are going to use it with our high school world history students where Ellen will video conference with them via Skype after they view her story and send her questions about the events. The feedback I received from the teachers showed just how powerful digital storytelling can be regardless of the subject being taught.”
Scott has shared not only an amazing story but also another take on the possibilities for telling stories – even a current event – in a digital age.
It just gets better…Scott will be joining tonight’s Teachers Teaching Teachers session to share more about the project. And Scott will be joined by David Karp, 21-year old founder of tumblr, and Felicia George, who will share highlights from EduCon 2.0. Many thanks to Paul Allison for his organizing time and efforts! I already have the headset out, ready to logon at 6:00 pst.
January 8, 2008
Andy Carvin posted today about an amazing digital storytelling project/collection:One Story, 50 Tools, Infinite Possibilities. One of the challenges of working with emerging writers is getting them to buy into the need for revision. But, oh my, a visit to educator Alan Levine’s treasure trove of Dominoe the Dog stories introduces not only multiple tools for digital storytelling but also presents a beautiful model of the unlimited possibilities for constructing a storyline when storytellers embrace revision. If you listen to the story below, you will definitely want to visit the Levine’s CogDog wiki and check out the next 49 versions (and tools)!
[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.youtube.com/v/eMp-Fl-sXrU” width=”425″ height=”350″ wmode=”transparent” /]
January 4, 2008
Thanks to Kevin H for posting about Mathew Needleman‘s re-launching of his Video in the Classroom site. I am always in search of good models of filmmaking in the classroom to share with elementary teachers and their students. I also want to recognize Mathew for his Open Court Resources.com site, “which aligns units of the basal reading series, Open Court Reading, with integrating technology activities and is visited by thousands of teachers across the country daily.”
I also like many of the video tips for students posted by the Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium website on their Student DV page. The SECC team members are local heroes in supporting teachers’ efforts and journeys into filmmaking in the classroom, starting with DV Loaner Starter Kits and culminating every spring with the SEVAs (another great site for finding great K-12 video projects!).
Since lighting can enhance or hinder a quality project, I especially like Center High School’s Vernon Bisho’s Outdoor Lighting Tips: