Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Module 4: Digital Storytelling: Podcasts, Vodcasts, Videos & Web 2.0.

"I know only one thing about the technologies that await us in the future: We will find ways to tell stories with them." - Jason Ohler. 

Word of mouth, song, dance - stone, rock - clay, bamboo, wood - papyrus, paper - photography - radio - television - video, CDs, DVDs - computers, mP3 players, iPads, smartphones and the variety of digital mediums available through Web 2.0 tools in our digital world. 

Wow! Talk about coming a long way and being spoilt for choice! This module has opened up my eyes to how many digital storytelling tools there are available to educators - I find this overwhelming yet exciting at the same time. Although, I imagine that there are even more tools out there that this module has not included, therefore selecting some of the most useful and accessible for the classroom and for this I am grateful because it provides some focus through this exploration of Web 2.0 tools.

 Through this module I downloaded a Podcast for the first time. I explored some of the Podcasts from the ABC web site and found some Educational Podcasts where other teachers share their own ideas and experiences. I think this is a great way to connect with other teachers from around the globe to inspire my own teaching. 

I also explored Animoto. I quite enjoyed using the program and think it would be great to create presentations to tune students into a new unit of work or lesson. Also, it would be great for students to showcase their learning at the end of an inquiry unit (the 'So what?' section) to provide evidence of how they have applied their learning in the real world. I don't think I would use this program unless our school subscribed to it as being limited to 30 seconds makes it extremely challenging to make a meaningful clip without rushing the presentation. On my trial clip, the vocals on the song I had uploaded had just begun when my clip ended! 

My favourite tool by far would have to be YouTube clips. I use these all the time in the classroom. The variety of videos are extraordinary and are free to access. This year alone, the 5/6 team have used YouTube clips to look at how persuasive techniques are used in advertising (i.e. Sam Kekovich adverts), use of propaganda through cartoons during WWII, writing inspiration (i.e. Writer's Notebook seeds), math tutorials/songs and an assortment of clips within the Digital Literacy sessions.  I even use it for my own learning to gather lesson ideas or different ways to explain a concept to my students. Sometimes, if I see a funny advert on television or a clip that someone has sent to me, I share the clips with the students just to have a laugh! It's also really helpful to have web sites such as TeacherTube that filter clips, making it more efficient for teachers to find useful educational videos. The only challenge I have with using YouTube clips is that downloading the clips eats out of my web account at school, but I'm lucky to have a supportive leadership team who have always been willing to top up my account.

Ultimately, we still use storytelling, share our experiences for similar purposes as humans have done many years ago (to engage, teach and entertain). Many of the traditional methods are still valid today but now Web 2.0 tools provide us with more opportunities to share and experience the world through others' eyes. Yes, there are more bells and whistles with Web 2.0 tools which can make such experiences a little more flashy and exciting but more importantly, it allows us to move from connecting with a smaller, more immediate audience to connecting anyone in the world. Web 2.0 tools can be used by students to share their learning, thought processes and creativity with others apart from their teacher and outside of their classroom environment, therefore, making their learning experiences more purposeful. 

I wonder how I will attempt to use tools such as Animoto, YouTube, Photostory, iMovie etc. in future to allow students to share their learning in a creative way with others and to learn from others too? I'm excited to see what other storytelling tools will become available in the future. 

Image courtesy of: Wesley Fryer
Image received from:

Photo credit: <a href="">Wesley Fryer</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Further reading: 'Educational uses of digital storytelling'
 ' Not another History Teacher - History and Technology: another perfect pair'

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