If You Give a DEN Guru (Conni Mulligan) an iPad…….

My name is Conni Mulligan and I have been part of the Discovery Educator Network since 2005 when the service was called United Streaming.  Shortly after applying to become a STAR educator, I inquired about why North and South Carolina were combined on the DEN Leadership Council Blog instead of being separate states.  Well, long story short, I enlisted the assistance of Judy Uhrig and Kelly Hines and we began sharing North Carolina’s fabulous educators on the DEN Blog.  Since then, I have been privileged to attend several of the Summer Institutes where I have met, learned and grown professionally from outstanding fellow educators.  But by far, the best part of becoming a member of the DEN for me has been the inspiration to pursue my passion from a group of people that I am proud to call my DEN FAMILY.  A great family, pushes you to pursue your passion and because of their support, I decided that I would share my passion by trying to become a DEN GURU.   The title of my GURU presentation was “Tra-Digital Storytelling,” the blending of traditional puppetry (my passion) with digital storytelling (my profession).  In 2012, I was honored to be chosen by my peers and became a GURU.   Thus began the journey of sharing my passion for puppetry and blending it with digital tools.

In my daily profession, I am a Digital Learning Facilitator (technology integration specialist/coach) and thankfully, this position gives me the technology that I need to keep up with what schools, students and teachers use in their classrooms.  I currently am using an iPad2 (64GB) to showcase many different professional development opportunities through the broad title Visual Storytelling through Puppetry (aka: Tra-Digital Storytelling). (Note: If I had my own iPad, I would currently get an iPad Mini 3 with the 128GB.  Small, yet lots of storage for all of my movie editing.  Oh, and my music too!) Here are the descriptions of some these topics and the apps that I showcase during the presentations.

Conni Mulligan - Green Screen in Miniature

Conni Mulligan – Green Screen in Miniature

  1. Table-Top Movie Making – Using small sets and 2D paper stick puppets, students create digital stories on a variety of subjects and curriculum related information. There are numerous video recording apps (iMovie) that are easy for students of all ages to use for production.
  2. Green Screen in Miniature – My most recent and most popular technology integration workshop demonstrates the use of 2D paper stick puppets within a small scale green screen set that fits again on a table-top.  Students and teachers love the idea of using professional-level movie making techniques to demonstrate learning. Green Screen by DoInk is my app of choice for this workshop.
  3. Making Storybooks Come Alive – Augmented reality is growing in popularity and by using apps like Aurasma on the iPad, the pages of a student created publication can come alive.
  4. Picture Postcards – Utilizing photographs and overlaying a picture of a puppet allows the puppet to tell about places they have been to or events that have happened through the puppets perspective. This can be completed within Google Docs or any word processing program.
  5. Talking Faces – This is an extension to Picture Postcards where students use various morphing and digitizing apps along with their puppet pictures.  The students mark portions of their image and then use the app to make the image “talk” while recording the narrative or story. Morfo, ChatterPix and FaceTalk are just a few of the favorites.
  6. Shadows & Transparencies – Many schools are doing away with the overhead projectors and through this workshop, I am repurposing old technology in a way that allows students to tell stories through traditional shadow/transparency techniques. Educators that attend this workshop, are amazed at the simplicity of this technique and can quickly return to their classroom and incorporate it the next day.
  7. Stop-Motion (Claymation & Animation) – Again, because of the iPad, there are a variety of apps that allow students to create a stop-motion/claymation movie with little or no prep time to learn the technology component. Some of these apps include iMotion, Lego Movie Creator and StopMotion.
  8. Puppetry Apps – There are always those who want the pure technology tool with no props or traditional puppets.  There are many popular storytelling and puppetry apps available such as:  Sock Puppets, PuppetPals, Puppet Workshop and StoryMaker and Felt Board.  Have you tried any of these yet?

Feel free to check out my wiki that is being updated regularly with the topics and presentations described above.



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  1. Techy Nana said:

    Awesome post, Conni! I am sharing it with our district Tech Leaders to offer them some inspiration for the New Year.

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