Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In response to Sara's post

Note: I tried my best to comment on the blog, but (whereas it was seamless last week) I am now having difficulty posting. I chose to answer one of Sara's questions for my post: 

Do you think the “digital story” can be a doorway to writing in a classroom? What would you add to my lesson idea? What would you change?

I absolutely think this is a doorway to writing, especially for middle school and high school kids. I had a similar experience in my senior year English class in high school. Instead of digital storytelling, we had to compose a "senior book." It was basically a scrapbook that we designed about our personal lives that could contain personal documents, photos, cards, etc., but for every page we created we also had to write an essay. Our teacher explained that it was a challenging project, even more so because the year my class entered our senior year was the same year Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast and our hometown was essentially wiped out. It was amazing to see the stories we managed to tell strictly through creativity, especially taking into account that majority of us had lost our homes, photos, and memorabilia. Instead, we had to create new narratives.

The only caveat that I have with the project is that, other than motivating the kids to become more active in the classroom, how can we spin this to prepare them for a post-secondary education? They've learned a lot of cool techniques that can be applied to a professional career as a videographer and/or designer, but how does this prepare them to succeed the stodgy 200-level literature requisite coursework in college? It's a great idea, so long as it doesn't become the central focus and purpose (read: main/final project; read: abandoning the "research paper") of the class.

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