IT 10: Digital Storytelling

Our class is going to draw upon an inspiring example of the power of social media put together by Alan Levine. He decided to experiment with the potential of various freely available “web 2.0” applications to tell a story. He then told his own story, Dominoes, about a man’s heartfelt exploration of his connection with a runaway dog in 50 fun and bizarre ways.

After you’ve viewed a few of Levine’s Dominoes, it’s time to think about your own digital story, which is your next assignment. Here’s a recommended trajectory:

Step 1. Pick your  story (¼ class)

You can tell a well-known story, a cultural story or an historic event.  It can be true, fiction, or fictive (true with some creative license). You get to choose.  If you need to find some additional images/clips for your story, look below at those belonging to the public domain and creative commons that you can use for your stories.

Note: All media (i.e. graphics, videos, etc.) must belong to you, public domain, or creative commons. Do NOT use any copyrighted media.

Step 2. Explore the tools (½ class)

Visit the cogdogroo wiki site that Alan Levine has set up (http://cogdogroo.wikispaces.com/StoryTools) and explore the various tools that he has linked into the page.  It is worth noting that all of the tools on the page are free to use, though the “free” versions might have significant limitations. In some cases, you might have to create a user account.

Warning: It takes a while to explore all these tools, so be mindful of how much time you are spending.

Step 3. Pick a tool, any tool! (¼ class)

Select at least one of the web 2.0 tools from the ones listed on the page (or others that you know of, with your teacher’s advance approval) and create a short media piece that tells a story. You may use other “free” open-source tools, such as CamStudio, Windows Live Movie Maker and Audacity, to support your project. However, the final product must be an object that you can embed (or linked) on your blog.

Note:

  1. For this project, you may not use Prezi nor Pixton to create your digital story, since we have already used them in class. Try something new!
  2. Numerous students have reported that they have had problems with Kerpoof: it requires parental permission or else the account gets deleted after a few days.

Step 4.  Create your story (3-4 classes).

You will need about 3 to 4 classes to fully develop your digital story with all the plot elements:

  • Introduction – The beginning of the story where the characters and the setting is revealed.
  • Rising Action – This is where the events in the story become complicated and the conflict in the story is revealed (events between the introduction and climax).
  • Climax – This is the highest point of interest and the turning point of the story. The reader wonders what will happen next; will the conflict be resolved or not?
  • Falling Action – The events and complications begin to resolve themselves. The reader knows what has happened next and if the conflict was resolved or not (events between climax and conclusion).
  • Conclusion – This is the final outcome or untangling of events in the story.

It is important that you use the time efficiently because you will likely encounter problems along the way and need the time to troubleshoot. You will probably need to work on this project at home in addition to class time. In the past, students who had left the assignment to the last minute did not complete the assignment. If you finish early, then you can get another peer to read your story, listen to their suggestions and make improvements.

Step 5. Post a link and write a blog entry (½ class)

Embed it on your WordPress portfolio when your story is completed. If the tool does not have an embed feature, then take a screenshot with a hyperlink to your story.

Provide a short paragraph (3-5 sentences) explaining (a) which free tools you have explored, (b) which free tools you have used to create the project, and (c) why you have chosen those tools.

Step 6. Check out your peers and finalize (1 class)
Look at some of the stories other students in the course have created. Give them some constructive, forthright, collegial feedback!

Example:

The story above is told using Pixton.com but the story is progressed with Prezi.com. Prezi allows the reader to focus one frame at a time, similar to flipping pages in a storybook. The speech is ripped from a text-to-speech website (http://text-to-speech.imtranslator.net) using Audacity and then embedded into Prezi.com.

Evaluation

The project is marked out of 20 based on the following criteria:

  • Audience (5 marks): The story is appropriate for a PG13 school audience. It is free of spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Plot Elements (5 marks): The story flows and is fully developed with a clear introduction, rising action, climax, falling action and conclusion.
  • Media (5 marks): The story uses media (e.g. graphics, videos, sounds) must belong to you, public domain or creative commons. Quality images are used. Mashups of images and tools are permitted and encouraged!
  • Reflection (5 marks): The story is properly posted onto WordPress with the required reflective paragraph.
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