Thing 4: Digital Storytelling

I came across digital storytelling about two years ago and have been looking for authentic ways to implement it in my curriculum ever since. Of all the digital tools, I think digital storytelling is the most frustrating for me. Perhaps it’s because I always go back to the SAMR model.  Digital tools are great but they are meant for more than a replacement for paper and pencil. I usually consider myself a creative, think outside of the box, kind of person, and yet, I seem to always hit a roadblock when it comes to this topic.   It’s so much of a roadblock that I really, really wanted to pretend this topic didn’t exist. Worries tend to cloud my mind when it comes to this topic: How long will it take to teach students how to use the tool? Will they have access outside of school to work on it? Will students need accounts? Will I have to pay a subscription fee or find a substitute tool each year? and most importantly, Will this reach the level of redefinition

Reluctantly, I decided to give Microsoft Sway a chance. Compared to other digital storytelling tools (I probably should have prefaced this post with a disclaimer that PowToons is my favorite digital storytelling/presentation tool), it was fairly easy and simple to use. I chose to visually illustrate the poem “Cloud” by writer Sandra Cisneros. The program curated images that I could use without worryong abput copyright infringement and matched the images found in the poem. I enjoyed exploring the different layout options for the images and decided to go with a linear design for my example, but really loved the stack option. 

My students have several opportunities to use digital storytelling in our credit recovery classes. For example, one of the projects in English II is an alternate ending or creation of a short story using elemnts like in medias res, nonlinear narration, foreshadowing, and discovery. Students might even find the assignment easier if they had the use of audio and images, in addition to text. It would be even better if students could take and upload their own photos.

Microsoft Slay was much easier to use than I anticipated and I am looking forward to experimenting with it more. It would also be interesting to see what other content areas in my department would be able to utilize this tool. There’s still a lot of exploring to do!

“Cloud” by Sandra Cisneros


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