End of the Year


     I’m always a little leery of the barrage of end of the year shows and columns. I’m hesitant to join the cacophony myself, but it is a natural time to reflect and look ahead.
     I hope that I have begun to show the wonderful variety of styles and tools available to help students tell their stories: video tape, still pictures, stop action animation, etc. PhotoStory is indeed a great entry point for PC users and Meg Ormiston and Dave Jakes added a couple more tips in the comments of my December 1st post. Meg points out that you can import a PhotoStory project into MovieMaker and Dave offers a PDF and screencast tutorial of a “priceless” story he crafted.
     I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the passing of a great storyteller, Robert Altman. Coincidentally, my wife and I just rented his last movie, “Prairie Home Companion,” written by Garrison Keillor, based on his show and storytelling style. These two were a natural combination and as much as I’ve always enjoyed their work, their rambling, loose end stories are just the thing you want to help your students AVOID. Altman and Keillor have a tremendous amount of time and great talent on both sides of the camera and microphone to help unfold their stories. Unless you have a semester or two to devote to a single project, keep it short and focused. (Though Keillor’s "commercials" are almost always great little stories all by themselves!)

Looking Ahead
     “Empowering Students and Teachers” is one of the themes of AFI’s (American Film Institute) “Lights, Camera, Education!” program which is available through unitedstreaming along with an 86 page guide that also includes rubrics, storyboard templates and permission forms. The DEN’s first webinar of ‘07 on Wednesday afternoon, January 24th will feature an AFI associate director and focus on this great program. You can give yourself a preview at my November 15th post and download the DEN podcast introducing the program from there.
     Here’s to a great 2007, learning and sharing through digital storytelling in all its forms!

Clip art from Discovery Education. "happy new year!."
unitedstreaming: http://www.unitedstreaming.com/


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