Tag Archives: Digital Storytelling

ISTE’s Virtual Creative Constructor Lab Inspires Creative Storytelling

Last week ISTE kicked off its first ever Creative Constructor Lab bringing together amazing educators to inspire ALL, experiment with digital storytelling, design thinking, coding and more. Over seven days there were 70 virtual hands-on sessions, daily creative design challenges, and lots of sharing among participants. Innovative leaders and presenters included Tim Needles, Claudio Zavala, Holly Clark, Josh Stock, Sean Arnold, and many more talking about injecting creativity into our classrooms through hands-on presentations and design challenges.

What inspires you? That was the theme that was threaded through each presentation and design challenge. #Eduleaders and presenters invited participants to be courageous and creative throughout the week in order turn around and do the same for our students.

Here are five innovative projects to do with students that are grounded in storytelling and video creation.

  1. Craft Your Own Narrative Based off Humans of New York. Kelly Hilton, TK-12 Professional Development Integration Specialist, designed a creative and captive digital storytelling project that is based off Humans of New York Stories. First, students explore photography and read the stories told by the famous writer, photographer, blogger, Brandon Stanton. Then, students learn about the potential impact of telling a story through writing and photography on social media when they study a specific news story. Next, students, are invited to take photos and tell their own stories. Finally, students publish an Adobe Spark Post and write a social media post telling the story of the photo. Stories and posts are shared to celebrate community.  CLICK HERE to see the #HyperDoc lesson plan.

2. Middle School educator Sherri Kushner @Sherrip shared a visually powerful project her students created in order to speak out against injustice. Students designed portraits for change. These mixed media designed highlighted student voice and activism.

3. Author of the new ISTE publication, Awesome Sauce: Create Videos to Inspire Students, Josh Stock shared dozens of quick video and bigger projects. From choice boards to PSAs, Test Reviews, Travel Videos, Screencasts, and more, Josh is a wealth of information and ideas to use videos for communication, learning, and showcasing understanding.

4. Tim Needles is the master of design challenges. An art teacher and artist in New York, Tim emulates creativity. Some of the daily challenges included: create an untraditional selfie, animate a selfie, create a 4 frame romance story, and create a Spark Video Poem. Here are the directions for the Spark Video Poem and the untraditional selfie. I am going to do both with my students in the upcoming week.

5. Design a Virtual Tour. Virtual tours are a way to expose our students to a whole new world view, and there is a plethora of free tools to utilize along this journey to discovery. Virtual trips can be built into menu choice boards or educators can lead live virtual tours for distance learning. There are many pre-made tours that are already available at no cost, and also discover how to create their own using websites such as Google Earth, Google Arts & Culture, 360Cities.net, and more. Virtual trips enhance learning and knowledge of resources to help empower students on their quest to becoming global citizens. This Wakelet collections contains virtual tours, resources, and articles from Amanda Jones.

I am still reviewing and rewatching the presentations that I did not get to yet during the Creative Constructor Lab. This virtual experience provided creative ideas to bring into our classroom and inspire students as innovative designers and knowledge constructors. Whether learning in person or remotely, students need the opportunities to create and teachers must personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning across content areas using a variety of digital tools and resources that engage and support learning.

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The Power of Storyboards

Story is everywhere, it’s all around us.

I recently participated in an ISTE Digital Storytelling Webinar focusing on The Power Behind Story & Storyboard to Inspire Imagery and Creativity. Presenter and educator, Julie Jaeger states, “storytelling is meaning making, not just media making. Storytelling is a process, deliberate, intentional and purposeful.” When creating digital stories, both words and media reveal the story through details rather than being directly stated. Craftsmanship is key.

The storyboard itself is a powerful tool in the classroom for meaning making. A storyboard is a road map and guiding influence for story making. I use storyboarding for comprehension and creativity in my 8th grade English class. Whether it is a storyboard used for a 5 Frame Story, which I describe in Personalized Reading (ISTE, 2018), or sketching and stretching the setting in a creative writing piece, storyboarding requires planning, evaluation, analysis and creative thinking.

Professional storyboards a useful models and mentors for students to see how film creators utilize storyboarding for brainstorming and outlining story ideas. Julie Jaeger describes how she has students write down the feelings the frame should evoke in the viewer. Depending on the purpose of the storyboard, the details under each frame can be descriptions of types of shots, actions, and sound. The objective is to create a final product with purpose and intention for the audience.

Whereas I have students retell a short story, chapter, or sonnet in only five frames, here is a two frame storyboard activity from The Jacob Burns Film Center:

You are going to tell a visual story using two photographs.

Discuss each scene and what kind of shots you would choose to show it.

  • Two best friends telling each other a secret.
  • Looking for my favorite book in the classroom bookshelf.
  • Two kids reaching for the same favorite marker color.
  • My pencil tip breaking.

Now it is your turn to create two shots of your own to tell the story! 

  1. Choose one story prompt you would like to illustrate.
  2. Think about what shot type you would like to use to introduce the idea.
  3. Draw that shot type in the first frame.
  4. Think about what shot type you would like to use to give your audience more information about the idea.
  5. Draw that shot type in the second frame.

Once you’ve completed your Two Frame Storyboard, it’s time to turn it into photographs. In small groups, position your actors to match your storyboard. The cameraperson can move closer or further away to try to match the shot type chosen in the storyboard.

Setting Storyboard

Setting Storyboard to help students sketch and stretch creative writing.

Storyboard That is a digital platform with free storyboard templates and online storyboard creator. For a fee, teachers can create classroom accounts and sync lessons and projects with Google Classroom. As the website states:

Storyboard That’s award-winning, browser based Storyboard Creator is the perfect tool to create storyboards, graphic organizers, comics, and powerful visual assets for use in an education, business, or personal setting. The application includes many layouts, and hundreds of characters, scenes, and search items. Once a storyboard is created, the user can present via PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Apple Keynote, or they can email the storyboard, post to social media, or embed on a blog. Storyboards are stored in the users’ account for access anywhere, from any device, no download needed. Storyboard That helps anyone be creative and add a visual component to any and every idea.

Other online storyboard platforms include Boords and Canva.

From book trailers to creative story telling and movie making, storyboards help students understand story concepts and frameworks. The objective is for students gain a critical perspective in looking at images and develop an awareness of craft and structure.

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