This writing is just one educator's view from this side of the desk.
This past week I began teaching digital storytelling to one of my classes. We began the discussion talking about and looking at examples of traditional storytelling. They could easily see the value in using it in the elementary classroom. But they also had many concerns about their abilities as storytellers, which is natural. Then we moved on to digital storytelling. Instead of pulling up a PowerPoint detailing the basics of digital storytelling, I decided to use an actual example of digital storytelling to help them understand the process. I used the video The Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling (linked below). At first, they just watched. After their first viewing, they worked in groups to remember the elements. Then they had a second viewing where they could add to their notes; and finally we debriefed in discussion about the concepts. Of course, they will also have concerns about digital storytelling, but there was an energy in the classroom as I introduced this idea. I believe they were processing - thinking - allowing their minds to begin creating because this is the medium with which they are so familiar (coming from a world of Vine, InstagramI will share an update later in the semester when they have finished their own digital storytelling projects because I'm anxious to see what they will create. But I must add that when I asked my students why they should learn about digital storytelling, one student remarked, "Because it's 2013." The rest of the class either smiled or shook their heads in agreement. That one comment gave me hope - we will someday fill our schools with teachers who finally understand the basic idea of why digital literacies are important to our students - because we must keep looking forward.
This past week I began a new chapter in my life. I have uprooted our lives in Texas and moved us to southern Alabama to teach and conduct research in higher education. Even though this isn't my first time in higher ed, I wasn't sure what to expect. And my expectations were more than met. In fact, I was blown away. My students are articulate and dedicated and bright. After years as a public school administrator, I have finally begun to unearth that spark I once felt as a classroom teacher. I want to do well for my students - I want to challenge them - I want them to evolve. But most of all, I look forward to watching them grow into teachers. In one of my classes this week, I told my students that teaching someone to read could quite possibly be the most powerful thing one can do for another. I realized by Friday that I had misinformed them. Shaping one into a teacher - a quality teacher - is the most powerful thing one can do for another.