The Possibilities of Digital Storytelling

CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/street-sign-note-direction-possible-141396/

CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/street-sign-note-direction-possible-141396/

After looking through Educational Uses for Digital Storytelling, I felt like using this in a grade 1 class would be impossible. Most of the videos I found were done by older students and teachers.

The Educause Learning Initiative also talks about college level tasks using digital storytelling. My students don’t know how to search for a photo let alone credit one. The skills they discussed are skills that made me think “When would I possibly have the time to learn how to do some of this myself?”

My initial thought was to have my students use digital storytelling as reflection tool.  I would have them tell a story about their grade 1 adventure.  The more I read and thought about the implementation of this, the more I thought IMPOSSIBLE!

Then a thought came to me.

CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/light-bulbs-light-bulb-light-energy-1125016/

CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/light-bulbs-light-bulb-light-energy-1125016/

Why does it have to look exactly like these?  I adapt activities all the time so why not adapt this too?

My class uses Seesaw. One of the items students can add is a drawing. While they are drawing, they can record their voice and tell about their picture.  They could also choose to upload a photo they have taken, draw on it, and record their voice. Considering the skills my students have on an iPad, I think this is a good starting point.  They can use this format for many different things.  Most of my students do not use this tool so it will take some lessons and encouraging to get them familiar with it.

For me, the biggest take away is that students need many ways to express their thinking.  My students are a perfect example of why.  I have a student who has difficulty working independently so it is sometimes difficult to know what he understands. We went on a field trip to KidZania. The children get to role play and be many community workers in this pretend city.  When we got back from the trip, I had my students reflect on the community workers they got to experience.  I allowed them to do this in Seesaw if they wanted to. This particular child chose to draw a picture and then record his voice explaining his favorite thing at KidZania.  Had this been a writing/drawing only assignment, I would never have learned how much he loved the firefighters.

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9 Responses to The Possibilities of Digital Storytelling

  1. Profile photo of Matt Kelsey Matt Kelsey says:

    Screencast software is also great for process explanations (do X then Y), show ‘n’ tell… as you say, “the biggest take away is that students need many ways to express their thinking.” Thanks for sharing about Seesaw – I hadn’t heard of that one before.

    Reply
  2. Profile photo of Stephanie Stephanie says:

    Hi Abby,

    I appreciate how you initially felt about using digital storytelling in your class because I was experiencing similar struggles with high school biology. I wondered how I could get my students to be creative and have their stories have a “strong emotional component” about something like protein synthesis!  It’s interesting how we both struggled  but came to the end result – it can be adapted to meet the needs of the students.

    You mentioned you use Seasaw – this article has a list of digital storytelling tools. Maybe it could be useful with your grade ones. Loved the Seasaw you posted!

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Abby Moore Abby Moore says:

      Thank you for the list. I was looking for something like this when I was doing my reading for this week. That Seesaw post is one of my favorites!

      Reply
  3. What a great post! It was easy for me to follow and relate to. I have sat down to start the assignment for week 4 multiple times and each time I get stuck trying to determine how am I going to take what I have learned about digital story telling from various articles, link to net.educause.edu and link to digitalstorytelling.coe.uh.edu, and apply it to my class of 7 year old ELL students.

    Generally, my rule is to not read other blog posts from the week until I write my own…(it often impacts my ability to think as a creative being or individual)…However, I gave in this week and opened your post. As I read it, I thought to myself, DUH you use Seesaw too, what a great idea! Then I started thinking about other simple ideas/apps that my students have used in the past to explain things or tell or retell a story. Not wanting to “copy” your idea I pulled an iPad out and started looking through the apps….ding ding, I think I found my solution, PuppetPals, link to itunes.apple.com! This is a fantastic app. I recommend purchasing it if you have never used it. It is totally worth it. The creativity and the retells that my students have created in the past are excellent. While, it is not necessarily a movie it includes different scenes and requires the learner to use various methods to tell their stories or recounts using visual and verbal methods.

    Thanks for the post and reminding me that I don’t have to make things so complicated. Like you said, “I adapt activities all the time so why not adapt this too?” Let’s hope this stump or a road block that I have hit can be knocked down, it’s storytelling time!

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Abby Moore Abby Moore says:

      I’m happy I could help inspire you! It is the beauty of blogging. I love using Seesaw with my students. Right now my struggle with any app or technology use in my class is that not all my students have an iPad. I need to get better at letting them use my iPad to take turns doing things involving technology including digital stories. I also really enjoy PuppetPals. I have used it before but not consistently. Great idea to get it going again in my class!

      Reply
  4. Profile photo of Lauren Purdy Lauren Purdy says:

    Hi Abby,

    Initially I felt the same way as you – digital storytelling isn’t for grade 1. The majority of the examples we see are elaborate digital stories created by older children, so for me it was difficult to dial it back and think about what would actually be applicable in lower elementary. I love your idea to have the students use Seesaw to create their digital stories. Students would love being able to draw their own pictures or even remix an image that they find on the web and it is something every child can be successful with, no matter their writing ability. I might try it as a tuning in activity for my next unit of inquiry. Thanks for the great idea!

    I also came across this website that gives ideas of how to create digital stories with a variety of age groups. It is worth checking out.

    -Lauren

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Abby Moore Abby Moore says:

      That is a great idea to remix a picture! I like the Digital Wish website. It is a great resource for lessons.

      Reply
  5. Pingback: Journey of a Lifelong Learner | Week 4: Developing Oral Language: Digital Story Telling

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