Friday, June 24, 2011

Ever "Wonder" about Digitial Storytelling?

This past week the Department of Instructional Technology provided a series of summer workshops on a variety of great topics ranging from Edmodo to Thinkfinity to digital storytelling. Digital storytelling has always been an area of interest for me so I decided to seek out some resources and ideas on how teachers can use it in their classrooms. Thanks to the great team of people I work with at DIT, I came across Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano's "How to Guide: Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators." Silvia's guide offered many great tools for integrating digital storytelling in the classroom. Silvia's guide provides teachers with step by step instructions and visuals on how to use tools like Audacity, VoiceThread, and many others.

After reading Silvia's guide I was inspired to make a presentation for our summer workshop, "Tell Me a Story." Below is the presentation Melissa and I shared with teachers at our workshop:

As a former classroom teacher, I know sometimes generating a idea, or finding a starting point for a project can be the most difficult part. After last weeks workshop I decided to look for even more ways teachers could use digital stories in the classroom and I came across Wonderopolis. I've heard my colleagues talk about it so I was curious to see if this was something that would go hand in hand with digital storytelling. Needless to say, I was very excited by the possibilities!

Each day Wonderopolis offers a new "Wonder of the Day" by posing different questions about the world around us. In their 60+ list of categories, you can find a Wonder that fits your content area (Social Studies, Math, Language Arts, Technology, Science, etc.) or suits an area of interest. Regardless of what content or grade level you teach, there is a Wonder that would feed a students curiosity and yours! Ever wonder what causes freckles? (I actually had a student ask me this while on a field trip.) Do you know how perennials and annuals are different? What's so special about Broadway? These are all great questions! You can find answers to over 260 questions like these at Wonderopolis on their Wonders page.

What does any of this have to do with digital storytelling? Well...why not have your students illustrate and narrate a story on VoiceThread that explains how a species becomes endangered?
If you are planning a unit on explorers, students could create a timeline (timetoast is a great timeline maker) highlighting what the Lewis and Clark expedition is about. Why not have students create a public service announcement stressing the importance of why we need to wash our hands? As students create their projects, don't forget to remind them to cite their sources. Growing your students creativity and imagination just got easier thanks to Wonderopolis!

Need more information about Wonderopolis? Check out our blog posts!

For more ideas and information on digital storytelling, check out our LiveBinder:

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