Monday, May 11, 2009

Advanced Thinking in Digital Storytelling

The Creative Educator Spring 2009

The foundation of any digital story begins with a good story, one with a point of view, a dramatic question, and emotional content. Bringing the story to life for the reader through the words of the story should be more important that all the transitions, visual and audio effects, background music and text styles that the students can add to the digital story. As an example of visual effect, instead of writing “He was walking down the street,” the student may choose verbs and adjectives to describe how a character was walking down the street, “With his head slightly cocked to the side and held high, teeth clenched, and shoulders back he strutted down the street like he owned the town” draws the reader into the story allowing the reader to be a more active participant.

Once a story is mapped out on a storyboard the students will be able to decide which technology tool will best add the effects, transitions and sounds to bring their stories to life. If the students are using still images to illustrate their stories, panning and zooming can add a certain impact and dynamic feel to the story. But transitions can be a problem. Help students understand there should be a reason for using transitions to tell the story, not distract from the story. A great story could be lost to the viewer because the students crammed all the effects they could into the finished product. Just because the students knew how to add all those effects doesn’t mean that those effects added anything to the story. Students need to learn that "less is more."

So what about the background music? Does the story need music to give a dramatic impact to the story? The background music should set the tone, add to the pacing of the story and augment the emotional content of the story, not distract from the story. Let the students’ own voice personalize the story. Teachers can help students decide what sounds, soundtracks, or sound effects can best enhance their stories.

The main focus in digital storytelling should be the writing experience with the technology as the tool to enhance and bring the story to life. There are many tools that students can use:

  • Audacity for podcasting the story
  • PhotoStory 3 to enhance the story with images and music
  • Movie Maker to add images, video and music to the story
  • Voice Thread to allow other students to add their comments to the story and the images
  • PowerPoint presentations

To read the entire article please goes to Spring 2009 edition of the magazine.

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