Out of the Classroom

     Those are the last few words of the title of the book Digital Storytelling in and out of the Classroom by Kay Teehan. And though she makes a great comparison between digital storytelling and her favorite hobby, scrapbooking, as the outside activity, I think she (and anyone else promoting these kinds of projects) are sharing a life long skill that is extremely applicable outside of the classroom. Students who make and show their own digital stories don’t look at film/video or possibly even television the same. And if you don’t think that making AND sharing your own video isn’t already as common and far more popular than any letter to the editor ever was, then you’ve probably never heard of or visited YouTube.
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      On that note, a friend just sent me (it’s back up now!) a link to a video on YouTube in Norwegian or Danish? (don’t panic, it’s subtitled) that is probably very close to the reality of the dawn of two millennia. We can all have a good laugh at the old monk trying to make the transition from scroll to book and having to wait for the IT guy to show up. Do you think in the sequel he’ll need a new scriptorium and have to update his quill and ink? For almost a decade now, I’ve kidded about how this millennium is starting out exactly like the last one – give or take a century or two. I even tried to make a whole presentation out of it once. Where “they” struggled with moving from losing control over who reads, writes, AND publishes (with the appropriate permissions and in Latin, of course), we find ourselves in a similar spot. Language and writing are not always being used according to “accepted norms,” but they are being used constantly. The printing press freed people to write about absolutely anything in their own language. The Internet, cell phones, personal publishing, etc. are doing it in ours. I wonder what the first faculty or board meeting where someone proposed teaching the vernacular was like.
     The genie’s been out of the bottle for quite some time. We can’t stuff him back in, but we can guide him somewhat. And I think that’s where one of the great payoffs of using digital storytelling in education is. That “language” is readily available and pervasive in our students’ world. They need to be savvy consumers and producers of multimedia messages. Especially “…out of the classroom.”
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     Join us and author Kay Teehan this Wednesday afternoon at 5:00 EST for the DEN’s February EdTechConnect offering. There is still room and time to register. All you need is a phone and an Internet connection, whether you are in or out of the classroom.

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