The Strength of Weak Ties

Everyone participates. Everyone contributes. Leveraging the power of digital networks to connect people, resources and ideas to drive creativity and innovation forward...and actually accomplish something!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Reflections on Narrative Writing and Digital Storytelling

We've recently finished our best round of digital stories at one of our schools, Downers Grove North with a group of senior composition students under the tutelage of master teacher Matt Formato. We've made some major strides forward, specifically with the creation of stories that honor intellectual property rights as many students used music from freeplaymusic.com and used Flickr imagery from the attribution only and attribution-noncommercial Creative Commons photo pools. The use of Flickr photography greatly, and I mean greatly, enhanced their productions. As many of you know Flickr contains some stunning photography, and it was amazing to watch these media-centric kids blend the imagery to portray meaning within their stories.

We also learned a great deal from the kids about the use of Flickr. I'll share that in another post.

But for now, it's important to focus on some reflective work about the writing process and what they've learned. So, Matt gave the kids four questions. Here they are:

1. Was there a time that you discovered new levels of meaning or a story within a story in the writing process or in the construction of the digital story; can you state what that deeper story or theme is and how you re-worked your material and your product to convey this deeper story?

2. What did you learn about your own life and/or your ability to express yourself and to communicate significant ideas through the production of your digital story?

3. What were the problems you had to solve in the creation of your digital story? That is, how did you work out the expression of ideas and feelings in the written narrative and in the technical representation in the sight and sounds of the digital story?

4. In what ways has the digital story medium enhanced not only your final product but also sharpened your abilities as a writer; would you agree or not that creating a digital story is a valuable writing experience?

Look at the essence of the questions: new levels of meaning, discovered, writing process, reworked, conveyed, product created, what did you learn about your life, express, communicate, significant, ideas, problems solved, ideas and feelings, technical representation, sharpened your writing....

That's what kids do when they do a digital story....

I'll let you know what the kids said as soon as I can.

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