Thursday, July 10, 2008

Teaching through digital stories

(Note: what you see here is a picture of me but it is not a digital story).

See the smile! I'm wearing it now, again! Why you might ask...

I have had a massive brain explosion and have begun to think about some stuff that was ignited at a recent conference in South Australia, that I went to, on Stories, places, spaces: literacy and identity.

It was a conference for English teachers, which I know sounds like a massive yawn, but wasn't. (By the way I'm an English teacher, to give you some context). It, the conference, was stimulating and made me recognise why the humanities are what I enjoy teaching. It is about being human...hardly a revelation for many, but sometimes teachers become jaded and frayed around the edges and forget about humanities and humanness.

Two really exciting things happened at the conference:

Firstly, Daniel Meadows presented a keynote lecture on digital stories as a means of democratic expression. The notion that, a two minute, two hundred and fifty word narrative, constructed through and supported by digital media, can evoke, and suggest, a poetry of connectivity, is very exciting.

Secondly, met, talked to and got thrilled (again!) about Shaun Tan's work and the humanity I feel when I read it.

A third, more terrifying than exciting, thing that happened at the conference was a 90 minute workshop presentation that some colleagues and I presented... That workshop was about teaching using multi-modality and multi-literacies, which is really just teaching using pictures, words, sound, digital moving images and the space of virtuality... der, the internet stuff, like wikis, online classrooms and other stuff.

We are all pretty relieved. We survived. It is a far more daunting thing to stand up in front of 50 adult English teachers and talk to them about teaching and learning than it is to teach teenagers about English. But alive we remain! The feedback, thus far, about our workshop has been positive. Watch this space for any developments that errr... develop from the workshop.

Okay, that's my idea, or rash of ideas, or rash ideas...
I want to figure out if teachers can teach as well as learn using digital narratives... like teach about making narratives, but also about teaching and learning through using technologies (ICTs) while making their own digital narratives. (Germ of an idea and I feel some sleeplessness will keep the germination fidgeting away at the back of my brain). You might notice that when I get excited about something I use hyperbole, exaggeration, overstatement and the like. lol

If a picture paints a thousand words, what then are the possibilities for students, and teachers, to enrich their expressive, their creative purposeful texts to demonstrate what they know about stuff? How creative can we be? How many kids stories can be told? ( well as reflections of teacher experiences)

I hate the idea that school is prescriptive and the work teachers force students to do is meaningless and separate from their real lives. So buzz, buzz...I'm thinking!

1 comment:

Kelli McGraw said...

Yeah, I am going to get my year 9 class (and maybe my year 10 class as well!) to make a digi-stories this term.

My year 9 class is a gifted and talented class, and I am expecting some very rich pieces of work to come from them; my year 10 class are low-literacy 'naughty' kids (my favourite class!)and I am going to attempt an 'Area Of Study' with them. I'm trying to do it using engaging texts that link to their own worlds, and also help them to understand narrative structure. I think digi-stories will be perfect!