|Grade span:||1 to 12|
Description:In this lesson, students create original stories that include text, drawings, photos, animation, audio, and video. They use technology tools, such as digital cameras and computers, to bring their stories to life. Story ideas can come from personal and family experiences, connections to other cultures, and real or imaginary people, places, or events.
- Enhance communication skills through asking questions, expressing opinions, constructing narratives, and writing for an audience
- Develop and strengthen computer skills using software that combines text, still images, audio, video, and other media
- Choose the technology tools that are appropriate for the skill level of your students. Following are some basic recommendations:
- One computer for every 2-3 students
- Word processing software and presentation software such as PowerPoint; some recommendations for Mac and PC platforms can be found in the Resources section
- Digital cameras
- Tool for voice recording (most computers have this feature)
- Post-it notes or index cards and poster paper to use for creating the storyboards
- Internet access for instructor and student computers (optional)
- Electronic projector for instructor computer (optional)
- Microphones (optional)
- Scanners (optional)
Preparation:Instructors should determine students' computer skills level and select appropriate technology tools. Instructors also should have familiarity with multimedia software applications and equipment, or enlist help of a volunteer who does.
- Become familiar with the digital storytelling process by completing at least one tutorial from those linked to on the Resources page.
- Consult with day teachers to see if digital storytelling might enrich learning in a particular academic content area
- Arrange for volunteers to assist students
What to Do:Introduce students to digital storytelling
- Ask students what stories they first remember hearing. Who was the storyteller? What were their favorite stories? Which did they like telling themselves? Lead the discussion to digital storytelling. You may choose to project on screen examples of digital stories linked to from the Resources page.
- Students might draw ideas from personal experiences, special events, their community, their school or afterschool program, family, and pets. More ideas can be found here .
- After completing this brainstorming session, discuss what story the group wants to tell. Constructing a story as a group about a topic meaningful to them will help their learning of both the storytelling process and software needed to develop a digital story.
- Note: This can be a group or individual activity. If this is the first time your group has created a story, a group effort may be easier to manage.
- Remind the class that they may make changes to the draft at any time. For younger students in particular, review basic storytelling concepts, such as that a story has a beginning, middle, and end.
- As you guide your students through the storytelling process, use the seven main elements of digital storytelling, created by Joe Lambert, co-founder of the Center for Digital Storytelling. Visit the Resources page to read Lambert's Digital Storytelling Cookbook .
- Remember that the story — not the technology — should drive this project. Although audio and visual media may enhance certain aspects of a story, students should focus on how best to communicate what's at the core of their story.
- Different students can develop different parts of the story. Also, if this is your students' first experience with digital storytelling, keep the story short — no more than three minutes in length.
- Hand out small colored sticky notes and sheets of paper pre-drawn with empty boxes, resembling an empty cartoon strip. Take them through the story frame by frame, discussing the pictures through which — and the sequence in which — they will tell their story.
- After students have determined the text and picture sequence, discuss transitions, visual effects (if any), and soundtrack. Always keep in mind the skill level of your students for planning ways to represent their ideas.
- To see additional resources that may be helpful for this part of the lesson, including links to digital images and sound clips that can be freely used, see the Resources page .
Working from a single computer with projection to create the group story would be greatly enhanced by use of an interactive whiteboard. See the Teaching Tip.Help students prepare their final draft
- Break the class into small groups, based on their ages and skill levels. Ask each small group to develop one or two pieces of the storyboard. One group will be in charge of assembling the pieces into one story using PowerPoint or another software application.
- If the group wishes to record narration, ask them to divide the story so that everyone gets to read. Before recording, demonstrate how to narrate effectively. Discuss differences between using emotion and no emotion in your speech, and what effect quick or slow speech has on the story. Suggest they practice narration before recording.
- You might also share the community story with the community, for example by posting it to your local Chamber of Commerce Web site. If time allows, plan a follow-up activity in which students will develop individual stories.
- Have each student relate to a partner the special contribution s/he made to the project and why it was important. Discuss as a group what was learned about storytelling, and allow students to add and change their story based on their new understanding.
- Discuss as a class what they found to be most interesting about digital storytelling compared to traditional storytelling. Check for student understanding that, by using other media, stories can be fare more than just text.
Evaluate (Outcomes to look for):
- Student participation and engagement
- Discussion that yields insightful comparisons between digital and traditional storytelling
- An understanding that media can help make stories far more than just text
Find and download a rubric for students to use to evaluate their projects. One collection of rubrics for evaluation of multimedia projects may be found on the MidLink Magazine Teacher Tools Web site.
Click this link to see additional learning goals, grade-level benchmarks, and standards covered in this lesson.