Tag Archive: course 3

Mar 31

From Pre-Analog to Digital Storytelling


David Jakes wrote, “There is a biological basis for visual communication.” in his blog post from 2008.

There are…

  • auditory nerve connections to the brain = 30,000 fibers
  • optical nerve connections to the brain = 1,000,000 fibers (Burmark, 2002)

The optical fibers in the human body are more than 3x the amount of the auditory fibers.  This makes sense as to why vision plays an important role in our lives.

Long ago-

My digital storytelling roots start when I was a kid.  My father had an 8mm camera and then later a Super 8 camera.   I have found memories of getting out the screen and projector in order to watch the silent black and white movies.  I was later impressed when color and audio were also included!

Sound Super Zoom - Super 8 Camera

I also have to admit that I grew up experiencing 35 mm slides shows.  Yes, the kind with two slide projectors so images could fade into the other.  There used a time when I wanted to possess my own two slide projectors so I could make the same type of presentations.

Kodachrome Slideshow

Now with all of the technological advances available today, it easy to create multi-media presentations. Digital storytelling is no longer limited to only those possessing special equipment, but it can now easily be done on your home computer, iPad, cellular phone, etc.  The tools needed to create digital media are readily available and additional content is available through a variety of resources on the Internet.

Great example-

4 Generations: The Waterbuffalo Movie (HD) – I first learned about The Waterbuffalo Movie when reading  David Jakes’ post.  The story and visuals combined with Robert Thompson’s narration and background music create a compelling message.


Student work-

One activity that I do with students towards the beginning of the year is to create a simple puppet show to have students perform their self-introduction. (first graders, beginning level)

This year I was able to try out an iPad 2 for a short time.  I was able to create, edit,  and share a simple story acting out the classroom phrases.  Students enjoyed the  activity and they liked the final product.  Using iMovie on the iPad2 made editing quick and it was easy to incorporate background music to help create a more finished product.

With the fifth grade students having access to either an iPad 2 or a Macbook, a future project could be having the students create their own story about someone famous in Japan.  Students would do the research and gather useful video clips, photographs, maps, and other media.  They would be required to learn about the person’s life and perform a self-introduction as the person.  They could use puppets similar to the ones used in the self-introduction video or it could be something similar to the Common Craft style.  One goal would be to try and show how the person the student selected is/was important to Japan.


Like many other adults, it is amazing to watch my own kids easily taking movies with the iPhone, iPad, or DS.  Out of the blue, my six year old just finished his video of the inside of our house.  My dad started with a super 8 camera.  My son started with an iPhone.  I look forward to seeing what the next generation will have to play with.


Burmark, Lynell. Visual Literacy: Learn to See. See to Learn. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2002.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/03/31/digital-storytelling/

Mar 30

Key Words and Visuals-What Contributes to the Story?

First of all, thank you, Garr Reynolds for (pooping a lot) providing many resources and examples to help guide my presentation development.  Having watched Reynolds-sensei present on TEDxTokyo, reading his blog, and watching and reading other interpretations of Zen and the Art of Presentation, I know that I have just scratched the surface on how to sharpen my presentation skills.   I appreciate the material made available for access on the Internet and I find value in what is being presented as Reynolds-sensei works to bring harmony with western and eastern thinking.

Searching for other Garr Reynolds resources on the web, I stumbled upon a presentation that Garr made at Google.  I found this presentation to be more educational for me as the hour workshop provided additional resources and it allowed for dialogue with the audience.  The presentation is embedded below.

YouTube Preview Image

Trying to apply some of the teachings of Presentation Zen, I worked to simplify and refine the content of the presentation.  One take away from Garr’s Google presentation is…What is the story that you want the audience to walk away with?  Sometimes I forget about that story and go straight to listing the facts or possibly including non-essential information.  When working on revising this presentation, I made an effort to decrease the amount of text and increase the visuals focusing on what contributed to telling the story.  I have included a select number of presentation slides below.  On the left are the original slides.  On the right are the revised slides (revision still in process).




I looked at this slide and I thought that while it was informative, but a little on the bland side.






The revised slide on the right is a step in the right direction.  It shows blue skies and a “positive outlook” for the school year.  There is the healthy green of the trees and the learning environment looks fertile.  :)







The revised slide makes the kids the focus and it clearly shows the students in their restaurant role play.








Also, I decided to take the initial wording from the original slide, reduce the wording to only three key words, and include more visuals.



















Original slide







Focus on the key imagery–listening and speaking.







For this slide, I remember pretty much reading from the slide.  As mentioned by many, it is important to keep the slide simple.  If necessary, the important information can be included in a hand-out for future reading/reference.








Perhaps this is the slide with the most drastic change.  Meeting diverse needs, I ran across this picture of bamboo.  While I know that Garr presented on the lessons of bamboo in the TedxTokyo talk, I liken the bamboo to the elementary students.  Bamboo ranges from shoots to tall stalks.  Students range from first graders losing their first teeth to fifth graders bursting out of their chairs and desks.


The story behind the slide makes this slide much more interesting than the original slide.  The imagery of bamboo shooting up to the sky tells a more interesting story than the previous bullet points.

Reading over this post, I am happy with the visual results.  Compared to the original slides, I am much more moved and inspired by the revised slides.  (I am easy to please.)  This process has been good for me and I can see using this post as a future reference when I need another quick recap on how to purify my presentations.

While I understand that I still have much to improve with my presentations, I believe I have taken one small step towards presentation enlightenment.


Other Resources



Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/03/30/key-words-and-visuals-what-contributes-to-the-story/

Mar 28

Visual Literacy in the Classroom–A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

In his blog post David Willows writes:

There is simply too much information these days; too many words and not enough time to read them.

I would agree with David and I appreciate the ability to view his approach to capture the spirit of ISB using key words and photos—A brochure without words.

Doug McIntosh provides a good starting point for those wanting to learn more about visual literacy.  His website offers good links a variety of resources such as ASCD author and educational consultant Lynnell Burmark.  I have always been a big fan of graphic organizers.  I like the visual literacy overview chart created by Steve Moline (below).


An overview poster such as this can help give students options on how they would like to organize their material.  In the language classroom, even students with a limited vocabulary can utilize the key vocabulary that they know to communicate higher level thinking without having to worry about sentence structure, verb tense, and other grammatical points.

While I use visuals on a daily basis to teach and use vocabulary.  These illustrations are often simple line drawings that allow easier and quicker recognition by the students.  In the past, due to the limited amount of instructional time, I may or may not have included the quality of photographs that I desired.  For Hinamatsuri (ひなまつり) or Girl’s Day, I have used various photos acquired from a Google image search.  I have often used the document camera or the computer to zoom in on details of the dolls.  However, an image such as the one below found via Flickr has much more appeal.  In particular, the details of the layered kimono are sharp and clear.  I think this photo would be much more memorable for students.

Thanks go to Viviane Van Esche for her mention of Sliderocket.  I experimented with the site to see what it could offer.  The online presentation software allowed easy access to Flickr pictures that were licensed under Creative Commons.  The layout with the black background also made it easy to view the search results.  Here is a simple series of photos that I found that I could use for my Getting Around Unit (street directions).

I plan on having the students in pairs describe the pictures in Japanese.  Students would take turns saying three statements about each photo.  Students can state where the picture is taken, what the picture is of, what you might do at the location.  More advanced students could compare and contrast (in simple terms) two pictures.

In the future, students will describe routes from their home to the nearest train station or bus stop. One option I would like to offer the students is to be able to use a digital camera to document the key locations where specific directions are needed.

Incorporating visuals with presentations and projects is continually becoming more and more seamless.  I am looking forward to continuing to explore different ways of utilizing these capabilities in the classroom.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/03/28/visual-literacy-in-the-classroom-a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words/

Mar 16

My Blog-Let’s Kick it Up a Notch

Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/03/16/my-blog-lets-kick-it-up-a-notch-week-1/

Mar 10

Infographics & Data Visualizations- making data user friendly

Data, data, data.  What does the data say?  Often times we are asked this question or we ask this question of ourselves.

Hans Rosling does a phenomenal job of taking data and putting it into a format that makes sense.  He is passionate about the data and the trends and patterns that can be discovered if presentedinthe right format.  Like a sports commentator, he skillfully highlights the key plays on the screen.

YouTube Preview Image

Jer Thorpe shares how he makes history and data something meaningful and exciting with his data visualizations.

YouTube Preview Image


With the students-

One idea that I have using data visualization with the students would be to create something similar to the Linkedin map.

Here is one example from Flickr.
My LinkedIn network, visualized

Students could create something similar writing the names of students intheir homeroom and family members in katakana and hiragana.  Students could utilize the Your Name in Japanese website to help write names with the proper characters.

Another idea could be for students to record the data about the weather, what they ate, or something relevant to  student lives.  The students would then have to create an infographic representing the collected data and then share their results with the class.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/03/10/week-5/