Thursday, June 17, 2010

"An Invitation to Tell Digital Stories" with Wes Fryer

On the fourth and final day of our school's Summer Learning Institute we were joined by Wes Fryer to learn more about the world of multimedia digital storytelling. After a 75 minute presentation with Q/A, Wes challenged our teachers to create a 5 picture digital story in less than 100 minutes. They were all given the choice to share their very rough versions with the group later in the day. Wes encouraged participants to create personal digital stories and to not necessarily focus on curricular connections. This last point was genius - giving folks the opportunity to feel the power of the medium from a creator's standpoint through a personal story is so important. Most adults have experienced digital stories from the standpoint of consumer, but the majority of us have never created our own stories. The diversity of what was shared at the end of the day was incredible. Our teachers shared stories about recent trips, their kids, deceased family members, pets, the need to balance online consumption and creation, and more. These stories were incredibly powerful and I learned something new about each one of my colleagues. I think digital storytelling could be used in many different ways in our school, including our meetings. Imagine if we utilized digital storytelling in our staff meetings...departments could create stories to highlight their successes, teachers could create stories to reflect upon recent conference learning experiences, etc, etc.

I was really happy that we pushed our faculty to create something very raw with a limited amount of time. So often times in schools we only share our very best pieces after a considerable amount of time. This type of "rapid prototyping" instructional design encourages regular improvement versus delayed perfection.

The recording of Wes' presentation is embedded below. A special thank you to our student interns for the week, Sam Cecil and Angelica Ortiz, for handling the live streaming and video archiving of our SLI speakers.

Click here to subscribe to all four of our Summer Learning Institute featured guest (Helen Barrett, Sylvia Martinez, Gary Stager, and Wes Fryer) videos in iTunes.

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