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!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

What I learned in Amarillo-Digital Storytelling

One of the benefits of conducting workshops is that you can learn as much as the participants. During my four-day set of workshops, here is what I learned from the participants:

I didn’t know that the plural form of y’all is all y’all. I lived in Georgia for five years and don’t remember ever hearing that. I tried saying it and they had a pretty good laugh.,.then I made them say hey youse guyz...

Seriously, with regards to digital storytelling:

I was reminded of the power of story circle, which I first encountered at The Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley, California. Basically, you read your narrative to others and they comment about your story, and in the process, help you find the story within the story. I had several participants that had trouble finding their story and I simply asked them to tell me a story rather than write it. They were able to communicate it, they saw the story and were able to continue.

I provide them with a series of story prompts that encourage the development of a personal story. I need to do a better job with personal, as some stories were probably too personal. The participants suggested telling a story that they were passionate about.

I ask participants to develop a written narrative, and from that, we extract a script. The script will become the voice of the digital story and it represents the essence of the story. Basically, we strip down the narrative and then build it back with the inclusion of the multimedia elements to build two tracks of meaning, one represented by the voice and the other by the visuals/song. I had them print their story, open a new Word document, and then extract/rewrite/reframe 8-10 sentences that became their script, and it worked well. Many times their script became much different than their narrative, much more elegant and passionate as a result of having a limited amount of written real estate.

We used Flickr Storm to locate images and it performed flawlessly. After they found their images, I had them re-display them with the square setting in the photo set (the Web page that displays after you download the tray). We printed this, and used it to create the Attribution page at the end of their story (I ask them to use images from the attribution pool of Flickr) which was very helpful. Also, consider having them build in the attribution information in the file name of the image when they download it from Flickr or FlickrStorm. If you are not familiar with FlickrStorm, check out the tutorials at TeacherTube.

During the storyboarding process, I ask them to visualize their story so that their image searching is streamlined. The participants also suggested that this process should include developing a keyword list (actually tags) for searching in Flickr or FlickrStorm.

Overall, a productive four days for all...thanks to Heather Voran of ESC 16 for having me.

tags: digitalstorytelling flickrstorm esc16

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