8 steps in the digital storytelling process as illustrated in edtechteacher.org

The Power of Storytelling across the Curriculum: The Role of Digital Storytelling

In our Learning through Stories program that we conduct across schools in Bangalore, we use different tools to tell a story – books, oral storytelling and most important of all, digital storytelling.

Digital Storytelling is a very powerful method of teaching and learning that uses the narrative, digital pictures, animation, audio and video to create a digital media that talks about, narrates, explains and above all tells a an engaging story that the digital storyteller wanted to convey.

Steps in digital storytelling Here’s what digital storytelling requires a storyteller (the student, the teacher or both together) to do. This illustration from edtechteacher.org explains eight important steps in digital storytelling.

8 steps in the digital storytelling process as illustrated in edtechteacher.org

Steps in the digital storytelling process

Benefits of using digital storytelling in the classroom

Creating a digital story requires the students to apply thought and reasoning in order to tell their point of view about a topic. It urges them to use their imagination and get creative. Digital storytelling compels the students to thoroughly probe, explore, question and examine a topic before they can develop it into a digital story.

The power of storytelling in the curriculum

At the center of a digital production is the story – the script of the film. When a class gets down to write a script for a digital story, they are actually constructing several different stories – all based on individual perspectives and viewpoints. This means that the students are dwelling deep into the topic, getting a good grasp of it, understanding it before putting forth their arguments or taking a stand about the topic.

Bottom-line: using storytelling in the classroom improves reading and writing skills, augments visual comprehension, guarantees better retention and recall of the concept, promotes logical thinking and boosts imagination.

University of Illinois’ Community Informatics Initiative website, prairienet.org explains the power of stories in the curriculum:

“Children who are exposed to storytelling learn the process of creating and sharing an effective story. Students learning digital storytelling learn how to express and share emotions with their audience in the 21st century…In order for their story to be effective students must be able to express their emotion using and piecing together video, pictures and sound.

This learning process can help them express their feelings, views and creativity using new modes of communication…In order to develop a story, the child must first understand who he or she is creating the story for, developing their ability to empathize with others and improving their conflict resolution skills.”

How do we do it – the Ever After edge

In our Learning through Stories program that we conduct for the Amaatra Academy, Bangalore, we teach their Social Sciences curriculum for grades 6 to 9. We liberally use stories from folktales, myths, books and films to teach about the Mughal Empire, French Revolution, Early Humans, Democracy and so on.

One such lesson was on King Akbar for 7th graders. One of the topics that we touched upon and discussed was his heroic conquests, accomplishments and his greatness. As assignment, we asked the students to reflect back on the story of Akbar and explain what greatness meant to them. This is what one student had to say:

Ever After's Learning through Stories  program in school impact

Such profound thoughts and all prompted by a story! Now you know why storytelling can be such a powerful tool in learning and teaching. The class is currently working on a digital story project on Water. We’ll upload those stories soon!

To know more about Ever After’s story-based services and program, go to www.ever-after.co.in or email us to info@ever-after.co.in. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest news and resources about using storytelling in education. We also invite you to join our Facebook Group – #learningthroughstories (#Learning through Stories). And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly newsletter. Just drop us a mail telling us that you’d like to subscribe and we’ll make sure you get all of our next issues.

 

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Creative Educator Contest – First Place: Rajeswari Devadass

Rajeswari Devadass’s entry – a lesson plan based on a wordless picture book – has been adjudged the best entry in our Creative Educator contest. Rajeswari, we confer the title of ‘CREATIVE EDUCATOR’ on you! And you also win a Flipkart voucher of Rs. 1500!

Well done and many congratulations, Rajeswari! It was a comprehensive lesson plan, indeed.

Here is Rajeswari’s winning lesson plan:

Name of the book: Journey (A wordless picture book – first in the trilogy series), A 2014 Caldecott Honor Book.

Author : Aaron Becker

Theme/Topic: Travel, creativity and imagination

Lesson Objectives:

Through listening, discussing, and participating in the given story-based activities students will demonstrate –

  • How to read and interpret a wordless picture book in their own way.
  • Their imagination to extend the story.
  • Their ability to illustrate in pictures.

Time Taken: 40-50 minutes.

Grade Level(s) or Age Group:  Ages 6+.

Materials Required:

  • Aaron Becker’s picture book, Journey
  • Crayons or markers
  • Drawing papers or card paper

Instructional Plan:

Introduction/ Pre-reading:

  • Take out the Journey. Beneath the book jacket, on the hard cover of the book is a parachute. Ask the children what they think the book is about.
  • Discuss the jacket cover and probe the children to talk about the red crayon in the girl’s hand.
  • Explain to them that the book is about a journey that the girl with the read crayon is about to embark on.
  • Explain to them that this book is picture book without words and the story is meant to be interpreted by them in their own way using the pictures.

Read the story to the class:

  • This being a wordless picture book, allow for the illustrations to be seen clearly by all the children. Ask questions like “What do you think is happening on this scene” or “What are the characters other than the girl that you can see on each page?” or What emotions the characters on the page show? for each picture (illustration).
  • As you turn the pages, if the children fail to notice some obvious characters or elements, either give them sufficient hints or reveal what they missed them in the next subsequent read once the plot is uncovered.
  • Ask more questions urging the children to share their observations. For example –
    • What are the things that they notice on each page?
    • How do the soldiers welcome the girl when she enters the palace?
    • Is the girl scared when she about to fall off a cliff?
    • What do the soldiers feel when the girl runs away with the bird in cage?: Angry? Helpless? Defeated?
    • Do you notice the King watching over the girl?

Discussion questions for assessing students’ comprehension:

  1. Why did the girl decide to embark on this journey?
  2. The soldiers held a purple bird captive? How did the purple bird come into this palace?
  3. Did you notice on the very first page – a boy who was holding a purple crayon? If the children did notice that – did they think that he would be part of this story in this role?
  4. How did the girl save herself from the soldiers who tried to kill her? Who helped her in this?
  5. How did the girl meet the boy on her journey? Who led her to the purple door?
  6. How and when was the boy part of this place that she traveled to?

Subject/TopicTravel/ Creativity/ Imagination:

  • What have you done at home when you were bored – while mum and dad are busy? Things other than TV / Games?
  • The boy with purple crayon – did the child notice it in the first read? If they didn’t, where did they think the purple bird came from?
  • Why did they think the boy drew a cycle in the end? On the first page, the boy’s friend were on a cycle and he didn’t have one? Did he wish for a cycle?

Activities for sparking imagination and building a story:

Worksheet 1.1- Draw a Journey that you think the two friends will take on now.

  • Ask the children if they too have an imaginary dream or journey that they want to go on – a  place that they long to visit, an expedition that they dream of?
  • Ask them to tell you their imaginary dream or journey by drawing the same in the worksheet 1.1.

Worksheet 1.2: Draw the next scene or add details to the image to save/help the character.

  • Ask the children if they have encountered difficult situations like in the story – a bird kept captive, a hurt puppy, an old woman on a cold night without warm clothes – Have you helped in such a situation and how?
  • Hand over Worksheet 1.2 – To draw the next scene/ additional objects to the image to save/help the character.

How to use this worksheet?

Worksheet 1.2 includes some images or scenes (see below) from different picture books. These pictures are set in different stories in different picture books. Yet there is one thing similar to all these images: all of these pictures depicts a problematic situation in the course of the story – like a character needing help or rescue – so that the problem is resolved.

For example, image 2 is from the story, Brave Irene. The dress that Irene carries to the palace in a box gets whisked by the strong wind and it flies out of the box. Encourage the children to draw an object or the next scene so as to save the dress from flying off.

To conduct this activity, first print these scenes from different picture books on 6×6 card papers. Along with each picture give a blank card of the same size. In the blank card, ask the children to draw the next scene based on what they think would happen next.

IMAGE 1

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann - Ever After's Creative Educator Contest Entry by Rajeswari Devadass

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann

IMAGE 2

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett in a lesson plan by Rajeswari Devadass for Ever After's Creative Educator Contest

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett

IMAGE 3

A Bit Lost by Chris Houghton in a lesson plan by Rajeswari Devadass for Ever After's Creative Educator contest

A Bit Lost by Chris Houghton

 

IMAGE 4

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin in a lesson plan by Rajeswari Devadass for Ever After's Creative Educator contest

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin

 

IMAGE 5

Brave Irene by William Steig

Brave Irene by William Steig

 

Further Reading:

Quest – Aaron Becker – The sequel to this.