Archive for category digital storytelling

Coming to Voice

Looks like the theme for this blog at the moment is VOICE!

A little while ago I was alerted to this excellent production of student work from South Western Sydney, and I’d like to share it with everyone here on the blog.

Coming to Voice is a collection of ‘literary videos’ from students at Sir Joseph Banks High School. The video production by Westside is 5 minutes long, and showcases an innovative layering of student stories, voices, and animation:

Coming to Voice from BYDS on Vimeo.

From the press release:

Thirteen students from year 7 worked with the Chief Editor of Westside Publications, Michael Mohammed Ahmad, to develop writing that was then animated by 2012 SHORTCUTS film festival winner Vinh Nguyen.
The literary video, called ‘Coming to Voice’ will be screened at an assembly at Sir Joseph Banks High School and will also be launched on the BYDS website as a new web series on August 23rd.

Digital stories, literary videos etc.

BYDS (Bankstown Youth Development Services) seems to have a range of resources relating to the local community on their website: http://www.byds.org.au/ including oral history and photomedia materials. I’m so glad that these kinds of digital arts-based resources are flourishing!

When I talk about ‘digital stories’ or ‘digital narrative’ with teachers, it can be hard to explain the possibilities for the genre. There is of course the Daniel Meadows school of thought that advocates for 2 minute, 12 frame, voice-only digital biographies. The digital storytelling project at QUT uses a similar form.

I think the folks at BYDS have cleverly carved out a different kind of genre here for what they’ve produced – a “literary video”. As the students are reading their POETRY, the production is not quite of STORYTELLING. Could they have called them “digital poems”? Perhaps. But that might distract from the multimedia nature of the production, and the way that animation and video shots add meaning to the piece.

Literary videos… I like it! Thanks for sharing Mariam!

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My 12 favourite TED Talks

Many people have already discovered TED Talks, or have seen some footage of one. A conference scene that involves short presentations on ‘ideas worth spreading’ in the field of technology, entertainment and design, TED provides freely viewable recordings of select talks on their site (and through their app).

One of the most famous TED Talks amongst educators would have to be Sir Ken Robinson’s 2006 talk on how schools kill creativity. If you’ve never gotten around to seeing this video, I highly recommend it – I even set it as a ‘reading’ in the opening weeks of my curriculum studies unit. With almost 10.5 million views to date, the talk was such a hit that Sir Ken was invited to follow it up in 2010 with a second talk, Bring on the learning revolution!

But what’s there in TED for an English teacher, besides Sir Ken?

This topic came up a few weeks ago on the #ozengchat Tuesday night stream and I had a few suggestions ready to go. One of my favourite talks of all time is one of the first I saw – by David Griffin onhow photography connects us.I love to show it to classes that are about to start a unit on digital storytelling, or picture books :)

I have quite a few favourite TED Talks, and looking at the collection of downloaded talks on my iPad, I thought it would be good to post my collection (so far) up here on the blog. I’d love to hear about which ones you’ve seen and liked, or which ones you would recommend. Here’s my list:

TED talks ipad screenshot

LINKS TO MY TOP 12 TED TALKS:

Sherry Turkle (2012): Connected, but alone?

Seth Priebatsch (2010): The game layer on top of the world

Sarah Kay (2011): If I should have a daughter

Rives (2007): Rives on 4am

Rives (2006): Rives controls the internet

Jonathan Harris (2007): Jonathan Harris collects stories

Joe Sabia (2011): The technology of storytelling

Geoff Mulgan (2011): A short intro to the studio school

Erin McKean (2007): Erin McKean redefines the dictionary

Emily Pilloton (2010): Teaching design for change

David Griffin (2008): On how photography connects us

Chip Kidd (2012): Designing books is no laughing matter. OK, it is.

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The medium is the message

The medium is the message” is a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived. (from Wikipedia)

The more I think about this issue of medium, the more unsatisfied I am with the way that medium of production is dealt with in the English curriculum.

While English teachers continue to be led by debate over the definition and role of Literature in English, and over the best way to teach language, questions of medium have been significantly sidelined.

      iTeach Inanimate Alice

It also seems clearer to me now why subjects like Drama and Media (content areas that technically sit under the umbrella of English, if you accept that English is a study of how meaning is made through language and texts) go off and take up their own space in many curriculum.  It’s not just because those fields have their own traditions and pedagogies that need space, or because they have industries that create an economic drive for the subjects to continue.  It’s also because those field require keen attention to production elements, including issues of medium.

Little wonder that Drama, which often deals with live performance of language, dies a slow death in English classrooms where the curriculum is still dominated by print literacy.

Little wonder that we still can reconcile the gulf between ‘literary’ and ‘digital/electronic’ texts in the Australian curriculum (medium is not a genre!)

To move anywhere with this line of thinking will require some careful thought about the overlap between the words:

  • media as-in-the-artisitic-means-of-production and
  • Media as-in-the-field-of-media-studies.

Thanks to carolyn for stimulating my thinking on this.  Connecting the concept of medium back to the concept of narrative helped the penny drop today!

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List of Artistic Media

Some more thinking about what we mean when we say ‘medium’ in English curriculum…this list of artistic mediums has been helpful in contextualising English as a subject area within a broader notion of ‘arts':

In the arts, a media or medium is a material used by an artist or designer to create a work.

  • Architecture
  • Carpentry
  • Digital
  • Drawing
  • Film
  • Light
  • Literature
  • Natural World
  • Painting
  • Performing Arts
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Sound
  • Technology
  • Textiles

Wikipedia ‘List of Artistic Media’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_artistic_mediums

Within that list, the medium of literature appeared with the following explanation and links:

Literature

Main articles: Literature and Writing implement

The art of writtenwords and typography is traditionally an ink and printed form on paper or is creatively written with many forms of media.

Common writing media

Common bases for writing

This is food for thought.

The investigation into medium continues…

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Chat to Hemingway 0.5

Having the best time right now chatting to Simon Groth’s chat bot.

Hemmingway 0.5 is a chat bot based on the character in the eponymous short story. You can chat to him about anything you like.

Simon is a real find.  Made getting up today totally worth it!

Simon Groth is a writer and editor whose first two novels were shortlisted in the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards and whose short fiction has been published in Australia and the United States. His co-edited collection Off The Record: 25 Years of Music Street Press (with Sean Sennett), was published in 2010.

Simon is the manager of if:book Australia, exploring digital futures for authors, readers, and publishers.

Do yourself a favour and go browse his site: http://simongroth.com/

At least go and chat to Hemmingway.

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Evolution of storytelling

I just came across this excellent illustration posted by Dan Sellars of the way that storytelling traditions  have evlolved over time to reflect and utilise the technology available:

If you like that, you will no doubt also like another image he posted (in 2009) ‘Characters for an Epic Tale’.  Check it out!

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Narrative Unit: Texts

An update on how things are coming together for my unit of work on Narrative, which combined more mainstream print and visual texts with ‘new technology’ texts.

The texts I have selected to study are:

  1. The Raven – Edgar Allen Poe (poem)
  2. And antoher thing – Anthony Dennis (Sunday Life opinion article)
  3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon (novel)
  4. Fairytale and fable selection, possibly using a webquest
  5. Fox – Margaret Wild (picture book)
  6. Inanimate Alice (multimedia)
  7. and, if time permits, The Castle - Working Dog / Sitch (film)

After/while studying these texts, students will be creating their own narrative compostions:

  1. An individual digital story on the theme ‘Dreams and Nightmares’ (term 2)
  2. A group drama enacting a fairytale of students own choosing (term 2)
  3. A short story using hypertext to link to flashbacks in the story (term 3 – using new laptops)

I’m loving teaching this unit – so far we’ve looked at the poem and the magazine article, and are now reading Curious Incident…if we finish looking at the book by the end of week 5, that will leave plenty of time to look at the other texts (not a ‘close study’ – just exploring select aspects of narrative) and do some work on the assessment projects.

More updates to come!

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Digital Storytelling

I’ve come across some excellent resources tonight for teaching digital storytelling.

Memory’s Voices is the website for The Center for Digital Storytelling.  When I visited the site the sample stories weren’t working, but the Digital Storytelling Cookbook is a great resource.

A great introduction to why we tell stories can be found on the Call of Story website.  The site is geared more towrds a revivial of verbal, live storytelling, but the information about storytelling in general is great to get new digital storytellers thinking.

I also found great materials on this website made by Kevin Hodgson for the Western Massachusetts Writing Project.  The site includes a detailed tutorial on how to use MovieMaker to make a digital story, sample storyboards, an assessment marking rubric, and more.

And amongst all this I had to go back to the Capture Wales site, just to watch a few more of their digital stories!  The ‘BBC – Telling Lives‘ page is also a great source of digital stories.

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David Griffin on how photography connects us | Video on TED.com

Another TEDtalk that I’ll be using in my Year 9 unit on digital storytelling.

The photo director for National Geographic, David Griffin knows the power of photography to connect us to our world. In a talk filled with glorious images, he talks about how we all use photos to tell our stories.

more about “David Griffin on how photography conn…“, posted with vodpod

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Jonathan Harris: Collecting Stories

Artist Jonathan Harris discusses his latest projects, which involve collecting stories – what a great talk!

I’d like to show this to Year 9 when we start making digi-stories, to get them thinking about how images can represent people and their lives.

more about “Jonathan Harris: Collecting Stories“, posted with vodpod

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