Tell Better Stories

Are you looking for alternatives to the traditional book report and research projects that teachers have assigned for generations?  One of the fastest growing and exciting new trends in instructional technology is the concept of digital storytelling—the process of combining standard narratives with digital resources using the growing array of multimedia tools and video software applications. Some might argue that in its purest form, digital storytelling involves only original student narratives coupled with original video content shot with camcorders. More commonly, however, a growing number of teachers are viewing the digital story concept as a welcome change from traditional written assignments and they embrace a wide range of digital resources and software tools to use in their assignments. In the process, many have discovered that the collection of nearly 15,000 “editable” video clips in the unitedstreaming video library is a tremendous source of stock footage for a wide range of digital story projects.

Getting Started:  If you plan to use clips from the unitedstreaming library in your projects, start your search by clicking on the “Advanced Search” link. You may select from any of a number of search options as you locate relevant titles, but before you click the “Go” button, be sure to click the box labeled “Editable Titles Only.” This will insure that all of the titles that are displayed in the search results screen have been copyright-cleared for use with video editing software such as iMovie, MovieMaker, Adobe Premiere or Premiere Elements, and Final Cut Pro. Before you download video clips, it is also important to select the preferred file format so that the clips you download will be compatible with the software that you or your students will use. The clips are available in either “.asf” or “.mov” formats.  Once downloaded, the clips may be imported into the video software and combined with original video footage, digital still images, and audio files.

Additional Resources: If you are looking for ideas or more information about digital storytelling, one good source is a website with the fitting name Digital Stories. Here you will find explanations, story samples, and links to multimedia resources. For information about copyright issues as they relate to video projects, a great source is Hall Davidson’s site. Another good place to look is Kitzu, a repository of digital kits that contain organized collections of resources for use with school video projects.

As you empower your students to tell better stories with original and existing digital resources, you will also help to arm them with the technology skills and creative instincts that will serve them well in the years ahead. 

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