+ Tips for Teaching Digital Storytelling Projects Amy Goodloe Program for Writing & Rhetoric University of Colorado, Boulder
+ Teach the genre, not the technology Focus on helping students: Understand how digital storytelling functions as a genre Develop and organize their ideas effectively Recognize and apply composing strategies appropriate to an audiovisual medium Let someone else teach the technology. Doing so: Helps students have clear expectations about your role and your area of expertise Avoids the problem of blaming the instructor for the students’ own issues with technology Encourages students to take ownership of their own tech learning
+ Provide plenty of tech resources Invite academic technology experts to come to class to lead workshops and/or serve as mentors for students Share links to step-by-step instructions and screencasts that will help students with specific aspects of the composing process http://digitalwriting101.net Remind students how to make effective use of Google searches to find help Encourage tech-savvy students in the class to help others Organize workshop groups based on level of skill Devote some class time to letting students help each other Provide an out-of-class forum for students to use
+ Clarify your expectations Show a range of sample projects Explain where each falls on the evaluation criteria Connect to learning goals Emphasize the use of narrative to communicate Goal is to expand range of options available for communication… … not to produce a slick short film for a film studies class A photo slideshow with a killer soundtrack won’t cut it
+ Raise the stakes Use peer pressure to your advantage by arranging for every student’s project to be visible to the class (or a larger audience) Allot time for in-class showings Ask students to post projects on a class blog or wiki If your class time is limited, ask students to vote on their favorites and show the top 3 in class
+ Give students plenty of time Week 1: Week 3: Find and discuss lots of Revise story boards samples Prepare audio recordings Brainstorm story ideas (voiceover, music, sound Introduce strategies for effects) composing in words, sounds, and images Week 4: Produce a rough cut for Week 2: workshop Develop and workshop story boards Week 5: Continue exploring Revise and polish composing strategies Hold a showing on final day
+ Be patient! Many of today’s college students grew up learning how to write, but this may be the first time they’ve been asked to compose a multimodal message They’ve likely had poor instruction in technology Perhaps due to the faulty assumption that they’re “digital natives” So keep your expectations realistic, especially for students who struggle to use computers Frequently remind students of the value of what they’re learning, to help them focus on the end goal and not their technology hassles
+ Do it yourself first I highly recommend that instructors who want to ask students to produce digital storytelling projects go through the process of making one themselves first, ideally through a workshop. Until you’re confronted with the challenge of telling a brief narrative in a multimodal format yourself, you won’t be as well prepared to help students with the kinds of rhetorical and composition strategies available to them. You’ll also develop much more realistic expectations for what is and isn’t possible in this medium!