Thursday, January 24, 2013

Digital Stories: Project Benefits

My students are creating digital stories--it has been a lengthy, deep process of brainstorming, story writing, illustration, multimedia composition and share.

There are so many aspects of this project that I really like and find beneficial including the following:

Engagement: Students love the project; they work for hours crafting their stories with care.

Story: The increased attention on the synergy of words, illustration and music bring wonderful stories to life in ways that text alone can't do for fourth graders.

The Intersection of Image and Text: It has been wonderful to see how text has informed image, and image informed text.  The interplay has made the writing more accessible and specific to all of the young writers.

Audience: When we share the films, the students are engaged in watching each others' stories unfold. They react with comments and critical thought.  Each child's story helps to inform their classmates' writing.

Fluency: Fluency practice and discussion is embedded in each project because each child has to record his/her story. We find ourselves discussing pacing, expression and accuracy regularly as a learning team.

Imperfection: Since this project has many elements, we sometimes have to make a decision that it's good enough since the time just doesn't exist for many, many recordings or perfect pictures--with writing there's always room for growth.

Repetition: Students get to watch and listen to their stories over and over again.  They also have the chance to easily share their stories with family members and friends near and far.  This repetition also informs their work as writers and storytellers.

21st Century Story: In students' lives, they will utilize digital stories often to access information and entertainment, their creation of a digital story gives them greater understanding of the venue which will allow them to access and create digital stories with greater understanding.

Today, we'll continue to work on this project. We're approaching the end, and students are busy helping one another with all the steps.

Have you employed digital story creation in your classroom?  If so, how did the project work?  What were the benefits?  What did you learn from the project as an educator?  Thanks in advance for any ideas, thoughts or processes you may share to grow this project.