Why? For this assignment I wanted to see if I could create a story using my iPhone. All of our schools have open public wireless, most allow student handhelds, after Christmas there will be an influx of these devices and as a district we will be starting a grant project around student owned devices. This assignment seemed like the perfect fit for trying it out what could be created. I went looking for apps not even sure what was out there. After floundering for a bit I ran into Wes Fryer’s post on mobile digital storytelling I downloaded all 3 apps and started experimenting.
Storytelling is not my strong suit, I would not describe myself as a creative person so I had to find a story that I could tell. The position of Ed Tech coordinator is a new one for our district and because we are so spread out I am trying to be transparent in this position. The blog, Facebook page and public calendar help, but I get asked a lot what my days look like. I was instantly drawn to StoryKit because it would allow for multiple voices and I knew the story I wanted to tell had to include reflections from myself, teachers and students.
The Tools, Story and Teaching
The tool guided the way I told the story, which is why I have two different versions. I really liked how StoryKit allowed for multiple voices, internal cropping of images and adding text to slides. However I did not like how it rendered as a single static webpage with tiny little blocks to click on. I was hoping for something more movie like. For that reason I decided to try and tell the same story using Storyrobe. This app renders as a YouTube video, which may be problematic for student uploads, but does not allow for text or multiple voices. Storyrobe also limits you to three minutes worth of video recorded all in one sitting which became extremely frustrating. Together these tools would be wonderful, separate they are lacking some features but nothing that is insurmountable.
Storyrobe and StoryKit both turned out to be apps worth recommending. I can see students, using StoryKit to take pictures of their math work and record their thinking process. They then share the link with their teacher. I can also see StoryKit used in our second language classes. A lot of the vocabulary our French and Cree classes learn has to do with everyday items. They can take picture, record their translations and create a webpage of oral responses. Conversely I can see teachers doing the same thing, recording the proper pronunciation to words and then posting the link to the webpage in our Moodle. Storyrobe I can see being used in a more traditional storytelling manner of creating and narrating a story.
Student access to technology is an issue in our schools, there is never enough to go around. I deliberately chose free apps for this project to see if they had enough functionality . I do not see this as an entire class solution for a storytelling project but rather an option. By allowing students to use their own devices it will free up the limited number of school owned devices for those students that require them.
We love telling stories and students love using their own devices. Together this seems like a perfect combination. A legitimate use for iPods and iPhones that teachers could buy into. We know that through digital storytelling “students become active creators, rather than passive consumers of multimedia” (Ohler, 2005/06) and when you are actively involved in learning you synthesize and retain it much better. Student will engage in the writing process and develop skills to become critical consumers of the digital media they are now creators of. I would expect to see increased student engagement and a creative outlet in some otherwise non-creative courses.
Ohler, Jason. (2005/2006) The World of Digital Storytelling. Educational Leadership. December 2005/Janruary 2006. Accessed online 12 November 2010. http://www.jasonohler.com/pdfs/digitalStorytellingArticle1-2006.pdf