For my Writing in the 21st Century class, one of our most recent projects was to tackle using digital storytelling to tell a story. I chose to write (or in this case, speak) about my hometown of Waxhaw because of the personal connection I have with it. I am thankful for the formative years that I spent in this small town and the person it made me today.
We were asked to submit a brief justification about our piece; mine is as follows:
“I chose to focus my digital story around something very personal to me – my hometown. Examining the question “What is it that makes my hometown significant to me?” allowed me to revisit several fond memories while bridging emotional content and my own point of view. I chose this topic because I can’t separate myself from it – it’s something that is a part of who I was and who I am as well. Though not grounded in content, I believe this would be a personal way to introduce digital storytelling into my classroom as an example of personal connection. The components of using my own photos, coupled with my voice telling the story allows for students to see the personal connections come to life. Students would be able to see that technology can be used beyond anonymity, but for sharing personal vignettes as well.
I used the newest version of iMovie to compose my digital story, which proved to be an adventure. My older computer had difficulty working with the new software, and I encountered several technical difficulties along the way. I don’t think that iMovie is a good fit for students in an elementary classroom setting, as there are several tricks and intricacies to make it work. I would use this application for middle school or high school students.
Overall, I enjoyed this experience despite the challenges along the way. Digital storytelling is a chance to share your story with the world – and I’m glad I was encouraged to share my own.”
Though I dislike the sound of my voice in any sort of audio recording, this project has caused me to see the potential benefits of using digital storytelling. As a teacher, I think that digital storytelling is a great way to connect with your students and allow them to share their stories as well. As I teach third grade, I would like to move towards using more kid-friendly ways of creating digital stories to share, as this may encourage some of my more reluctant writers to come out of their shells.
This project prompted me to consider “Where am I now?” in terms of teaching writing – I’ll admit that this was a challenge for me as I tend to be a more traditional / sequential writer. Grappling with a digital story allowed me to see that there are other avenues for students and teachers alike to explore. This has inspired me to consider using other means besides just pencil and paper for students to share their stories.
If you choose to watch the video, feel free to offer feedback – I’m always open to suggestions or comments!