Digital Stories Through ‘MasterCard Moments’

This blog entry provides educators with an easy-entry, classroom activity that can engage students as they create an online slideshow using Creative Commons images. Those readers, who have read my previous post entitled “Digital Storytelling – Engaged Learning“, know that I believe that our students can become engaged in learning through the storytelling process.

Unfortunately some educators, who may feel somewhat overwhelmed with technology in their schools, offer the following reasons as road-blocks to implementing digital storytelling:

  • As an educator, I don’t have time to master the technology and a new application.
  • I use a Macintosh at home and the school has Windows hardware (or vice-versa).
  • I can never get sufficient access to the computer lab for my class to learn the application.

True, it will take a little time to become “familiar” with the application. Note I said “familiar” and not “master”. Rather, let your students become “masters” of the software program and encourage them to share techniques and strategies with classmates and yourself. As an educator, you should focus on the pedagogy not the program.

Encourage students to create digital stories outside regular school hours. Collaborating students don’t need to worry about incompatibilities between Macintosh and Windows computers when they use web 2.0, online digital storytelling applications. I encourage your students to explore Alan Levin’e resource entitled 50+ Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story. Suggest that different teams of students use different on-line applications to create a digital story and, in addition, have them compare and contrast the benefits of each web 2.0 process.

Having used Photo Story 3 as a digital storytelling tool for many years, I wanted an on-line application which allowed me to narrate each image. Believe me, it can be a real hassle importing the entire narrative script and then having to “fiddle” with transitional timing to position the appropriate slide with the corresponding narration. Having reviewed a number of Alan Levine’s recommended web 2.0 digital storytelling applications, I returned to “VoiceThread” which allowed me to narrate each slide.

In addition, I decided to use a technique, which I observed in Dean Shareski’s YouTube video called “Priceless“. In this digital story, a father reflects on the increasing cost of wedding components such as bouquet, dress, and reception but “seeing your daughter find happiness” was priceless. I utilized this process when I created my “MasterCard Moment” using VoiceThread.

I think this “MasterCard Moment” technique is a simple, but quick, entry which all teachers can use to introduce digital storytelling to their classes. Students can now focus on the process and not on the “bells and whistles” of the program as they collect 5-6 Creative Commons images to tell their “priceless” story.

Take care & keep smiling 🙂

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