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Tag Archives: Digital Storytelling

The best tool for Storytelling or Digital Storytelling

The equivalent to the Google classroom is the Adobe classroom. Later this month, Adobe offers a class ‘called Explanimation.’ An awkward word coined to describe animation to explain, or tell a story.

Too often however, Storytelling is linked to software. From iMovie, to Glogster; from Visme and Animoto to Audacity among many others. Humans told stories around campfires before most technologies were invented. So tools like these should not become a crutch.

Storytelling –be it digital or analog– requires being able to describe something succinctly. Long before firing up the software the ‘story’ needs a structure and focus. There’s the tried and tested Beginning, Middle, and End. Or the Introduction, Conflict, and Denouement, if you will.

Students are natural born storytellers, but they often freeze up when it’s time to sketch things out. The best technology for this? Something invented in the same year that Shakespeare was born – the pencil!

 
 

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Storytelling with Google Earth. Neat multimedia tool!

I found an interesting way to use Google Earth to enhance a lesson. It’s called TourBuilder.  It’s set up like a slide deck, and is quite intuitive. You need to have a Google account to log in and use it.

Ideally you need to have your images and videos ready to use. But you could search and embed them from other image sources – including yours, if your images are searchable. I tried my hand at it, creating a story based on a fascination with geology, and photography of rocks, canyons, geysers, and gorges. The ‘tour’ starts in Arizona at the Grand Canyon, hops across to Wyoming to Yellowstone, and then to Ithaca, NY.

You could check it out here

It’s possible to use this as a way of documenting a road trip, for instance, and attach specific dates to each stop. A great way to supplement journaling, and deeper, and richer than FB posts or tweets.

 

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Posted by on September 14, 2017 in Ed-Tech, Education

 

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ISTE Ed-Tech Conference Wrap-up: Part 1

Just got back from the ISTE 2016 conference in Denver, and it’s hard to decide what stood out more: The technology, or the practices.

HARDWARE: Being a tech teacher, indeed the tools were mind-blowing. From the simple Digital Storytelling hacks, and wide range ofgaming technologies, to Makerspace ideas such as conductive material, to Virtual Reality, and Robotics. (More on robotics in a later post.) VR seems to have matured since 2014, and mini robots –like the Sphero, here — were practically running over our feet. OK, I actually took the challenge and drove one of these across the floor. They’re practically unbreakable, too!

SOFTWAREThe software definitely made me do a double take, when it came to programming languages, and ‘kits’ to simplify the learning curve. It’s finally come to this: software doesn’t exist in some abstract dimension, but comes coupled with devices that a student could learn to program – and see the effects in real-time. Google and Microsoft appeared to be fighting for attention. If you had the stamina and enough coffee, you could go through an entire day toggling between a Google classroom and that of Microsoft’s. Both have well defined Education divisions. (The former made 5 education product announcements at the conference.)

The sessions I liked most, were the Education Playgrounds. These were informal on-on-one or group sessions. I picked several that combined hardware and software. I met with a few Raspberry pi experts, basically teachers who worked with kits that were built around this mini computer.

I was fascinated by the no-frills entry-level kits (starting at the princely sum of $35 an unit!). Why?

RaspberryPi-tn

First because this hardware was not housed in some beautiful laminated case but was transparent enough or a 3rd grader to understand what a computer was all about. I often need to remind students that ‘computing’ is not some mysterious art form.

Second, computer literacy and digital literacy are joined at the hip today, in the same way that Robotics and the Maker movement can be two sides of the same coin. We need to merge our lesson plans, and get our young Digital Citizens to be Makers, engineers, designers, tinkerers, problem solvers and storytellers to recognize they can each take a piece of this action, and run with it.

FINALLY: I attended a few mind-expanding poster sessions, where the presenters were students. I’ve said it before that no teacher conference would be complete until you have met with students who are after all the reason our schools go to great lengths to send us out to these professional development events. It’s inspiring to see the end product of great teaching, and how underpaid teachers in bootstrapped school districts get students to soar. Many takeaways from these sessions.

 
 

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Pixlr-O-Matic: Free tool for photo-editing

It’s been great fun this semester, stretching the minds of my students with Digital Storytelling –a topic that seems to lend itself to many aspects.

I am curating a group of these tools on Padlet –itself a space that is itself a great space for pulling together different elements of a story.

But here is one of those neat photo-editing tools that I may introduce next week – a free, online clone of Photoshop. It’s called Pixkr. I used one of the three features of tool called Pixkr-O-Matic.

NewBot_tnI took this photo, and –as you’ll see the screen shot of the editing frame– turned it into the one below, with just 4 clicks.

PixlrOmatic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indeed, the filters have an Instagram-like look to them.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Education

 

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