How My Students and I Benefit from Digital Storytelling

How My Students and I Benefit from Digital Storytelling
My objective for using digital storytelling is to infuse technology into the teaching of reading and build students’ self esteem. 
The school’s resources includes one laptop and eight desktops and internet access. These are used for ten sessions each

The fifty students I facilitate are from the third and fourth grades. They are in pull-out groups for two sessions each week to attend CAI reading, differentiated instruction. They are performing 1-3 years below grade level and are deemed at risk.  I expect them to gain at least one year level at the end of the intervention. The school’s laptop is available for follow-up and enrichment at the class level.

At the start of the new school year the routine orientation week unfolded and staff was dissuaded from immediately starting the curricula. However this year I was determined to maximize the time and hone the enthusiasm of the students and jump right into the core task of improving reading right away.

To achieve this robust start I decided that we would create a digital story for our class rules. I got the students involved in modeling the correct classroom etiquette and had them discuss among themselves why this would be appropriate. We used a cell phone to take pictures of students practicing the correct behaviors.  The students wrote captions describing the pictures and recorded the narrations. I selected background music and transitions

The students viewed the story at the start of each session during the orientation week. They were thrilled to see themselves and their peers.  They read the captions along with the narrators. The rules came alive for them.  Rule infractions are now rebuffed with a reminder from a peer ‘Remember the rules on the video!’ Classes are very orderly and conducive to learning and I believe they will remain so for the entire year.

This was created using Photo Story 3. Up to four frames with the same pictures and appropriate transition created movement akin to a zoom or change in the angle shot. The children’s narration was enhanced with background music.  Transition selections made the change to a new picture and rule seamless 

I also used Windows Movie Maker to create a DS on ‘Jonkunnu’.  Jonkunnu is a traditional folk festival or street parade and the theme of a poem with the same title by Allison Hall, another is based on ‘Susan Loves Bridges’ by Amino Blackwood-Meeks.  I used these DSs to introduce these concepts and   poems to my students. It is so important to facilitate students’ acquisition and enhancement of background knowledge as this aids analysis, comprehension, synthesis, assimilation and appreciation of new knowledge.  After  just three weeks into the term and students’ reading is already improving.

I also use recordings of my lessons to create DS to reflect on my teaching style and its effectiveness. I then readjust my method of delivery and interactions with the students in order to be more effective. My  DS also incorporates reflections of parents, past students and class teacher and records evidence of program effectiveness. Digital storytelling is an excellent tool and should have a place in every teacher’s portfolio.

About the Author
Author: Joyce Campbell
Joyce Campbell is a teacher and also a Counseling and Consulting Psychologist. She meets organizational needs at the individual and group levels using technology and a person centered approach. She is passionate about teachers' Professional Development.

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