Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Embellishing Reality & Improvising the Truth with Digital Storytelling

TED Talk to watch

What does it mean to tell a story through visuals? What power do comics have in telling a story? McCloud a comicbook artist, explores his journey and philosophy as a comicbook artist. He examines symbolism, visual iconography and the role of vision in the artistry of comicbooks. He explains the art of storytelling, using images in digital storytelling mode with pictures. He discusses what does it mean to have vision and the 3 components that make up vision: the unscene or the unknowable; what can be proven or the tangible; or the unproven. He also explores what does it mean to have vision? What are the principles of vision? In the talk he share these four principles of vision, which are:
1) Learn from Everyone
2) Follow No one
3) Watch for Patterns
4)Work Like Hell

*Tips that we can all live by!
For comicbook artists there are four ways of looking at the world in four main comic book types:
1) the Classicist
2) the Formalist
3) the Aimist
4) the Iconclast
Throughout the discussion he examines how the comicbook artist makes a story come alive by activating all our senses. It made me realize all the components that went into making a comic, it's more than being a great artist with an eye for detail and a lingering sense nostalgia for this literary form. McCloud explores interactivity and hypertext in comics and "comics of the ancient world" and how comics can explore space and time the way information is shared. Huh?? He examines how comics could be shared so that the plot or the type of story or tale could be shared in the manner in how the comic is created. For example, a circular story would be shared in a circular manner, so that the panels were circular.

I love the graphical way he visuals how a story can be told. I immediately connected with Alan Levine's session and how the form for telling the story depends on the story that is being told. So going back to technology... It's all about finding the best tool or the best means to tell that story. Hmmm... It's all making sense now. Be sure to check out this TED talk. Great points to consider in telling one's story!

Here is a link that also includes visuals of Scott McCloud's elements of comicbook storytelling that connect well with digital storytelling. This link is to a presentation, "Digital Storytelling on the Go" created by the SAMR model creator Dr. Ruben Puentedura. I thought the connections between McCloud and Puentedura were pretty cool! Kind of demonstrates the learning that even experts like Puentedura can make from visual pen/paper artists. Storytelling is storytelling - digital or paper.
Now with my own personal applications to digital storytelling...

The Tales of an Unsung Technology Coach...

Here is the first part of a comic that I created using the free version of StoryBoardThat. The free version limits the user to creating comics that allow for only six panels. After some thought on writing a creative story. I gave up on that, and decided to just share some of my experiences in my new role as a Technology Coach. Maybe my creative juices were just tapped out...

Comic created via Storyboard That

After I create my second part of the comic, I'm going to look at narrating the comic with an audio recording uploaded to Soundcloud. How else could I add audio without downloading this image to Explain Everything or Educreations on a tablet. Other ideas?? Vocaroo?? A screencast?? Create a ThinkLink of my comic (screenshot or use Snipping Tool to capture) with embeds of my audio recording?? Hmmm....

How can we make it quick and easy?? I have a MAC which has iMovie and is great for video production, but most teachers don't. So the question I keep asking myself is... How can we make using technology easy for the non-digitally savvy user??? How can we make it all accessible and worthwhile for teachers to learn??

More Questions and Great Resources on Storytelling

In terms of digital storytelling, I have even more questions. So I wonder...
How can we make using the tools easy to tell the story??
What tool is easiest? For photos? Videos? How can we share these stories? 
Is creating a comic telling a story? Should I narrate over it?? What role does that play?? Should I have the speech balloons or thought bubbles??

In addition to the great resources Alan shared with us, I've been looking at resources on Digital Storytelling for primary grades with the work of Shelly Terrell. Shelly has tons of great tools and examines strategies to engage learners and help them tell their story in the blog post article, "Engaging Learners through Digital Storytelling: 40+ Resources & Tips", there is also another article on Edublogs, "20+ Apps to Support the Digital Storytelling Process". She explains some key aspects such as using creative commons images when telling stories which is pretty essential (unless you are a Creative Commons Criminal like myself! ;-) There is also a great link to Kevin Hodgeson's site, StopMotion Movies where he explores the process of storyboarding in creating Stop Motion Projects. He has great process oriented resources to guide teachers and students into great stories that are well planned and executed!

And in addition to the great tools @cogdog shared with us, it's worth one's time to check out this article on tools and digital storytelling  practice suggested in an article by Mindshift, "Ideas for Using iPads for Digital Storytelling" finally, be sure to check out Kathy Schrocks Guide to Everything Blog post on Digital Storytelling where she explore tools, strategies and assessment in making digital storytelling come alive in curricula. What I love it that she also has tons of examples to illustrate the many ways one can tell a story and the different shapes it can take to make the voice of the author heard by the audience.

Another great tool for sharing a story in the form of a journey is from StoryMap JS, which @Raelynn shared from our class. This resource I think would be perfect for telling a story which demonstrates a change in geographical setting. Right away, I envisioned students using this tool in English Language Arts to explore the journey of a character if the plot changes considerably. When I was co-conducting a "Teaching With Technology" session I introduced it to a teacher who was going to be using the Seven Series of books in Book Clubs with his grade 8 class. Immediately I thought as part of the unit, one could explore the geographical plot changes in the book and the emotional journey of a character as he partakes in the adventure to do the bidding of his deceased grandfather. By writing a storymap in this form, students could write the journey, then narrate it from the perspective of a character.

Here is a fan-made book trailer created by a student who loved the book, Between Heaven and Earth by Eric Walters. Creating book trailers could be a form of Digital Storytelling to get other peers enticed to read a book. This one I believe was made with the iMovie app.

Be sure to check out the resources above and the TED talk.

Stay tuned for more on my comic, "The Tale of the Unsung Technology Coach" - I will add more to this post with part 2 of my comic, which might become one of the aspects of my own Summary of Learning. Thoughts anyone??


  1. A lot of useful links in your blog. Thank you! I think your comic would be a good addition to a summary of learning. I look forward to what you share.

  2. So many cool ideas you mention. Almost makes me want to teach primary grades again... Almost. Don't think I have time to fit a long enough nap in my day given the energy output required to keep up with that age level!