Finding exemplars in Digital Storytelling

With the advent of digitalstorytelling as more common place in our schools, often we’re so elated to get them to produce anything that the quality of work isn’t always there. We’ve been down this road with powerpoint, but now most are taken in by the the wow factor. With video, there’s still enough mystery in production for many teachers and students that we accept work that is less than exemplary. I think at times, we’re letting kids off the hook.
Last year, I showcased the work of a couple of local kids who did a great job with the lego format. My son and one of the contributors to the other video had an assignment to create a movie trailer on the novel Life of Pi. This is a fairly common assignment and one that does require synthesis and should incorporate elements of good design. But there work does many of the things I think make for a great trailer.

Simplicity, planning, innovation, constraints and whitespace all are used. Yes, they use some green screen but really, it’s about storytelling. My son played director and  producer and his buddy did the editing. When asking about ideas, he said it came from watching movies, playing video games and tv.  This is why demanding students to talk about movies like we ask them to talk about books is critical. Students should be as fluent talking about video as they are about writing. We’re so text bias as schools, that it makes it difficult to even understand what is a well crafted, design piece of multimedia. And while I think we need more examples of student work, I think there are so many in the real world, but we don’t look deeply at what makes them work. That’s what these guys did.

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