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, March 22, 2006

Uh oh-Another Flickr Post

Anyone who reads my blog knows I'm a big fan of Flickr and of digital storytelling. With the risk or irritating Miguel (grin), I'd like to share a project that one of our health teachers, Mr. Ted Glazier is doing with his sophomore health students. Ted's work has been featured before in this blog, and in David Warlick's.

Before I talk about the project, let me examine two criticisms of a digital storytelling project like this that takes advantage of the Web's best collection of digital photography.

1. it takes too long, and I don't have the time
2. Flickr is inappropriate for use in schools

Well, if you are concerned about time, especially as it relates to meeting curricular standards that are associated with high-stakes testing, go on to the next entry in your aggregator. However, you actually might want to stick around, because I'll be talking about basically a four period digital storytelling project, where a period is a 50 minute class.

And if you can't use Flickr in your district or you don't think it's appropriate, or if you get frustrated when I talk about it, then you might want to move on. But wait-maybe not. I'll be talking about a resource of images, selected by the teacher, which students select from.

Okay, here's the project. It's called: Putting a Face on Statistics

Ted teaches about addictions and he talks about escalating drug use, and that entry level drugs (alcohol, marijuana) can lead to even more serious addicitions.

The project began with kids doing some Flicktion. If you don't know about this, it's the intersection of Flickr images and fiction (see the Flicktion images I have selected on my Flickr page at JOL). People post a starter sentence in the comments window of a Flickr image, and others continue the story through the addition of more comments. We didn't do that, we simply showed this image (if you can't get it at school, be sure to look at home-it's heart-wrenching and one of the comments indicates that this person may have been a teacher) and had kids develop a story about the image. We did this to help them understand how to interpret a digital image to tell a story, a skill that will serve them well in the next part of the project. And we got great stuff.

So, the kids have researched these addictions previously as part of another assignment and have written a short paper on these. From this paper they will distill a 6-7 sentence script, and use about 10 images from the pool Ted has selected and that are delivered via a shared class folder on our network. The pool contains about 40 images-we decided not to wait for someone to develop an educational app for Flickr, we just did this simple thing ourselves. They then will use Photostory 3 (absolutely no open source for us, we just use Microsoft stuff-wait, would you consider Flickr to be open-source? If so, then we do.) to build a very simple digital story where they will include two slides of statistics, 10 images from the pool, onboard music from Photostory 3, and their voice that will tell the story of the addiction and the statitics, but now with a visual face. It will be interesting to see how the same images get used in different ways.

The kids will then, as homework, be required to engage in a metacognitive evaluation of why they selected the images that they did.

All images selected for the shared photo resource have come from the attribution pool of Flickr. Ted saved the images, and when he did, he added the name of the photographer (Flickr screen name) so the kids can include an attribution image in their project. By doing this, Ted can also teach them about intellectual property rights and creative commons licensing.

We'll also be able to share them.

Writing. More writing. Critical Thinking. Composition. Visual Literacy. Empowering Creativity. Understanding intellectual property rights. Learning new software, that can be downloaded and used for other projects and for personal use to encourage the development of individual voice, and in fact, a competitive voice.

An appropriate use of digital storytelling that addresses the time issue? Yes. A safe use of Flickr that takes advantage of high quality imagery? Yes. A project filled with essential skills-YES! (don't look now-how many of these skills transfer to standardized testing?)

Good teaching? Absolutely.


  • At 3:21 AM , Blogger Kevin said...

    Ah, it's a real shame standardized testing isn't composed of those skills. Then I might be able to get a perfect score...


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