EdTechConnect:Digital Stories

Joebrennan_3On Wednesday, September 20, Joe Brennan, pictured here in an unusually contemplative pose, gave the first EdTechConnect webinar presentation for the 2006-2007 school year. Joe is a STAR Discovery Educator from Illinois, and his presentation titled “An Incompleat Guide to Digital Storytelling” revealed his fascination with language and the derivations of words as well as his expertise with digital media. Joe’s audience included teachers and technology specialists from across the country, and he shared both practical considerations and personal insights into the world of digital stories. The presentation included references to several software applications and relevant web sites, and I have included brief summaries of a few of the sites that Joe discussed along with links to help you locate these resources:

Center for Digital Stories: Joe Lambert and Dana Atchley formed the CDS in 1994 and many educators view this organization as the place where the modern concept of digital storytelling was born. It’s a good place to start if you are searching for the basic concepts that define all good stories, and while you are there, be sure to look at a short digital story titled Momnotmom to get a sense as to how much information and emotion can be packed into a very brief video.

Torres 21:  Marco Torres is a teacher, photographer, and facilitator for a collection of web sites that are rich with information about digital stories and wonderful examples of student video projects. Pay special attention to the SFETT student video site where remarkable student projects representing seven years of the “ICan” Festival de Cine will provide you with many good ideas as you develop your own story projects.

Digital Stories: Joe Brennan helped to create this web site when he worked in Niles Township High School District 219 in Skokie, IL, and it is another great place to begin your journey into the world of telling stories with digital resources. There are some excellent examples of student work on the site, and there is a special section devoted to projects by senior citizens.

Digitales:  Bernajean Porter is the host for this site, and she shares practical information that will help teachers prepare their own story units. A good place to start is a PDF file titled “Take Six: Elements of a Good Digital Story.” Among other things, Bernajean reminds us that the most important element of a successful digital story project is not the software or the special equipment that is often used to craft a project, but rather the focus on the story itself. Unique video footage and interesting images are important to a digital story, but without a compelling narrative, the final project will not have much impact.

Do you know of specific web sites that you think would be helpful for other teachers who are just beginning to learn about digital stories or more experienced educators who might be looking for advanced techniques or project ideas? If so, please leave a comment and share your recommendations!


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