Tag Archive | Digital Storytelling

Just Another ‘Secondment Thoughts’ Post

At the beginning of this session, I submitted a number of CPD ‘twighlight’ courses that I planned to present to teachers here who were willing to give up two hours of their own time after a day at school. This is quite a responsibility, I think, because I didn’t want teachers to go away believing that:

” Well that was ok –  but I could probably have spent that time doing something more productive

I know that I’ve attended quite a few of those sort of CPD sessions in my time 🙂

I wanted to hear the, ” Thanks for that – I feel that I could use some of these ideas tomorrow in my class” type of comment. I was delighted, therefore, that this was exactly the reaction I got from the last two sessions I provided. The first session was on Digital Storytelling. I’ve included a slideshare version of the handouts I provided for the session. 

View more presentations from carronshore.

Producing something like this before a CPD session helps me to focus on what it is I’m trying to portray – the theory behind the practice sort of research. Being seconded, however, means that I usually have practical examples to show. The short ‘story’ below, for instance, was made by the primary 7 children after a class trip. They were faced with a number of potentially dangerous scenarios and this helped them to become more aware of  water safety, fire safety, first aid, safety with animals, food safety, etc.  When we returned to school they were asked to use the pictures taken during the day as prompts to remind them of what was learned. A digital story resulted …. well it wasn’t what we called it at the time – but it almost fits the definition??


Untitled from Education Services on Vimeo.

 This was just one of the examples I was able to show. There are lots more on our class blog ….perhaps another good reason for keeping a blog – a record of what has been covered / learned etc. in class

One of the things that surprised me during the CPD session, however, was the interest in my wordle pic I’d used on one of the powerpoint slides:


 We spent a fair amount of time exploring http://www.wordle.net/ and looking and the great possibilities for interesting ways of using it in class.

Because of the interest shown, I made sure that ‘wordle’ was included in the next CPD session on ‘motivating learners through the use of freely available online tools’. I decided to focus on just a few so that they wouldn’t be too overwhelmed.

 The handout for that session is included here.

View more presentations from carronshore.

I sensed that the teachers were interested in what I was saying and, as a result, I went off on a tangent (once more!) and introduced them to a number of other tools. At the time, I worried that I was going too fast too quickly and had possibly bombarded them with too much information – I even pointed them in the direction of  http://cooltoolsforschools.wikispaces.com/ . I think this is a fantastic resource, but can find it overwhelming sometimes 🙂

At the end of the CPD session I was  pleasantly surprised again, though, by the feedback – especially the verbal comments as people were leaving. A few of them stopped to thank me, and the impression I got was that, although they felt a bit ‘snowed under’  they valued the many practical examples of how I’d used most of the tools mentioned in my own practice.

Digital Storytelling ….. and ePortfolios?



Last session I demonstrated to various groups of teachers how to use Audacity with Windows Moviemaker to make what I termed a ‘Vodcast’. I think this was the most popular of the courses that I presented. After taking part in the ‘hands-on’ sessions, even the teachers who lacked confidence in their ICT skills went away with something that they knew they could use in class the next day. I’d used the process with my own classes on quite a number of occasions, so was able to demonstrate a variety of possible uses. A few examples are included below to show how pupils used this to:

  •  recount what they’d learned on a class trip by using photographs to jog memories
  • illustrate a story they’d written, and retell it orally
  • talk about favourite books and show a slideshow of front covers and page illustrations
  • provide an oral and visual account of what they’d learned about a particular topic

Windows Moviemaker and Audacity (and lame encoder) are installed in all PC’s in our Local Authority, and next session I’m hoping that Photostory3 will also be installed.  I’m looking for ways to develop the opportunities for using ‘vodcasts’ in the classroom next session. I’ve heard the phrase ‘digital storytelling’  and decided to investigate this concept further.

Of course, there’s also a wide variety of freely available online tools that can be used to create your own web-based story, too, and more than 50 of theses tools can be accessed here. The wiki ‘owner’ mentions that it wasn’t long ago that producing multimedia digital content required expensive equipment and technical expertise, but that we are at the point now where we can do some very compelling content creation with nothing more complex than a web browser. The stories can include  basic use of media types – images, text, video, and/or audio.

So – what else have I found out about digital story-telling?

The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling website describes how British photographer, educator and digital storyteller, Daniel Meadows defines digital stories as “short, personal multimedia tales told from the heart.” He maintains that the beauty of this form of digital expression is that these stories can be created by people everywhere, on any subject, and shared electronically all over the world.

I also found a publication by the Educause learning Initiative and I’ve copied bits and pieces that seemed to make sense to me and I’ve included them here: 

  • “Digital Storytelling” is an emerging term, one that arises from a grassroots movement that uses new digital tools to help ordinary people tell their own ‘true stories’ in a compelling and emotionally engaging form.
  • It is the practice of combining narrative with digital content, including images, sound, and video, to create a short movie, typically with a strong emotional component.
  • Digital stories can be instructional, persuasive, historical, or reflective
  • Some learning theorists believe that as a pedagogical technique, storytelling can be effectively applied to nearly any subject.
  • Constructing a narrative and communicating it effectively require the storyteller to think carefully about the topic and consider the audience’s perspective.
  • ……. to facilitate various learning styles and connect to students’ interest in technology, and, for students, to develop their ability to appropriately evaluate and use online content and electronic tools as a means of personal expression.
  • A digital story typically begins with a script. The storyteller then assembles rich media to support the ideas and emotions in that script, including music or other audio effects, personal or public-domain images, animations or video, and other electronic elements.
  • Digital stories let students express themselves not only with their own words but also in their own voices, fostering a sense of individuality and of “owning” their creations

But I also found this statement:

  • Moreover, digital stories are a natural fit for e-portfolios, allowing students not only to select representative artifacts from their academic careers but also to create compelling resources that demonstrate the student’s learning and growth.

Could helping the children to use digital storytelling in their wikis be a starting point for setting up their ePortfolios as described in my previous post?

I’ve also been looking at the ePearl Portfolio Project mentioned by David in a comment on that last post and now have usernames and passwords to check out their demo site. And today I’ve been checking out the UniServity website after being made aware of it via yet another blog comment. Both these projects look like they’re full of great ideas, but could a wiki serve the purpose just as well?

Next blog post pending …….