Friday, September 26, 2008
Getting Our Stories Out: Going Digital
I have to say that I was a little intimidated by this week's lesson. I became a Mac person last year, and as a result, I haven't used a lot of the Windows applications lately. So, when I saw that we were going to create digital stories in Windows Movie Maker, in a half hour no less, I wasn't sure if I could pull it off. However, after going through the process myself, beginning with writing my own narrative about why I chose to become a teacher, I kind of got excited about this lesson. It wasn't that hard after all! The latest version of Windows Movie Maker seemed a lot more intuitive than when I had used it last. With a little guidance from some of the other lab instructors, I had it figured out in no time. I recorded my narration (using headphones - something else I learned this week!), found and imported some pictures, add a few transitions, titles, and effects, and presto - my one and a half minute digital story was complete.

So, during class, I briefly discussed what digital storytelling was and highlighted some educational uses, tools for creating digital stories, and potential topics for digital stories. Then, I showed the students my completed digital story and then recreated it in Windows Movie Maker so that they could see how I had done it. I then had the students read their narratives to a classmate so that they could hear how they sounded when spoken and revise as needed. They then spent the rest of class time constructing their digital stories. I had allotted an hour for this activity, half of which would be spent on creating the stories and the other half in sharing the stories. The creation process, however, took the entire hour. Some students had brought their pictures in Word documents and so had to spend some time copying and pasting them into Adobe Photoshop to create JPG files that would import into Windows Movie Maker. Most of the students were able to wrap up and publish their stories before class ended. A few were still working and planned to finish before next week. I was disappointed that we didn't get to the sharing part, but I plan to share a few at the start of next week's class. I think it would be helpful for next time I teach this lesson to create a handout with most of steps, from finding Windows Movie Maker in the Programs list to submitting the assignment on Oncourse.

The discussion went much better today. I tried out another strategy from Dr. Bonk's creative, critical thinking, and cooperative learning class I attended last spring - free writing. I modified the strategy slightly, as I gave the students the option to type instead of write on paper. I had the students write for two minutes anything they could remember from this week's lecture. They had to write whatever came to mind and if their mind was blank, they had to repeat what they had written until something else came to mind. I then had them share their writings with a partner and had a few students share with the entire class. This led into a pretty good discussion about technology use and current problems in their areas of focus. One student voiced her opinion that she is skeptical about using technology to teach kindergarten. We talked about grappling with this issue throughout the semester and how we will strive to learn the appropriateness of using technology in various settings.

We also created a concept map in Word on technology strategies/tools that correspond to each of the 3 e's. I demonstrated concept mapping using the free web-based tool Gliffy as well, but I chose to have the students use Word because they would have had to create accounts in Gliffy, which would have taken more time.

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posted by SG @ 12:29 PM  
  • At September 29, 2008 at 4:22 PM, Blogger Debi said…

    Great documentation of innovative teaching! Next time you want students to try Gliffy, set up their account ahead of time using Gliffy Academic MultiUser Accounts. You'll enter their email addresses ahead of time, when class starts, simply have them log in and start mapping!
    Bonus: They and you will have access to all the diagrams made during class.
    Please send us any suggestions you have for increasing the ease of use in the academic setting.
    debik at gliffy dot com

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Location: Houston, TX, United States
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I am attempting to develop practical instructional applications of developing technologies and provide educators with tools to implementing instructional technologies effectively.
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MUVEs, Web 2.0, assistive technologies, digital video

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