Archive for September, 2009

Digital Storytelling in a Nutshell

I just published a blog on Curriki that I think Literacy is Priceless readers will find useful. To see the original post, click here. Or, continue reading below. -Anna

If you are looking for a project to build your students’ communication and digital literacy skills, why not have them participate in a digital storytelling project?! As this excellent introduction to digital storytelling by Curriki member Robin Surland points out:

Digital storytelling consists of a series of still images or video images, combined with a narrated soundtrack to tell a story. Many times an additional music track is added to invoke emotions.

Once, you’ve reviewed Robin’s excellent backgrounder, you’ll be ready to take a look at the link Curriki member Anne Leftwich posted here that provides in-depth information on how to create a digital story. Thanks Anne!

Need help visualizing the process before you get started? Here’s “How to make a Digital Story” in a nutshell:

  • Determine what personal experience you wish to present in your story. If you need a bit of help selecting a topic, try filling out this worksheet on the seven basic elements of a digital story by Indiana University.
  • Select images that you wish to display in your story. Beyond your own digital photos, Flickr (creative commons licensed images) and OpenStockPhotography are useful places to find images to accompany your narration. Indiana University has a nice template that will help you storyboard your ideas.
  • Draft a 3-5 minute script to accompany your images.
  • Select music (optional). ccMixer and Open Source Audio are two places where you can find large quantities of open music. Make sure that the track you select allows you to share and remix the original music. For example, click on the cc box featured on the left hand side of this audio. You should be directed to this page that tells you exactly what you can and cannot do with the track.
  • Note: If you find this whole copyright thing confusing (i.e., What images and music from the Internet are you allowed to use legally in your digital story?), the Creative Commons website has lots of great advise. The Wanna Work Together video is particularly helpful.
  • Pull it all together! Create a final storyboard that clearly shows how your images, script and music will all fit together. Indiana University has provided a useful template for this.
  • Select which software you are going to use to create your digital story. Here is a list of possibilies. Voicethread is another nice tool for this. To learn how to use Voicethread, watch this YouTube tutorial.
  • Produce your digital story!
  • Share it with others! (The fun part!)
  • Create a digital storytelling assignment for your students and share your lesson plan with others in the Curriki community here.

For more detailed information on digital storytelling, take a look at the Digital Storytelling Cookbook from the Center for Digital Storytelling. Or, take a moment to watch the YouTube video above (created by Stanford’s Teacher Education Program).

Have fun and feel free to share additional digital storytelling resources in the comments section of this post.

Anna

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On October 8, 2009 Celebrate Literacy and Early Education with Millions Around the World

I recently received an email from Jumpstart about the wonderful literacy event above. See what Kisha has to say below and make sure to open a book with your children and the children of others on October 8th (as well as the rest of the year as well)!

To Reading!

Anna

Hey there,

Just from reading your site, I can tell you know the importance of developing
solid reading skills and improving reading comprehension in classrooms and
schools.

Please join Jumpstart’s Read For The Record on October 8th, 2009 and
celebrate the joy of reading with children. I’d truly appreciate you sharing
this message with your readers, by posting this PSA from Weeds’ star
Mary-Louise Parker on your website.

Read for the Record
www.readfortherecord.org

Link to Mary-Louise Parker Jumpstart PSA:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8agDSSiiDAA

Thanks in advance,
Kisha


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Are Textbooks Going the Way of the Dinosaurs?

I recently posted a blog on Curriki that I think Literacy is Priceless readers will find of interest as well. So, here it is…

Anna

Dinosaur

Not likely, but thanks to the Internet and social media tools, the traditional model by which textbooks are written, produced, distributed and updated just might be!

In a recent post by Dan Misener on Spark, he writes:

So how is digital technology affecting on the textbook business? According to a New York Times story from this past weekend:

Many educators say that it will not be long before they are replaced by digital versions — or supplanted altogether by lessons assembled from the wealth of free courseware, educational games, videos and projects on the Web.

As more and more players enter the digital textbook and open educational content space, it is interesting to see the variety of strategies, platforms and styles of digital textbooks and textbook alternatives that are sprouting across the Web. Here are a few to sink your eyes, ears and creative sharing, mixing and remixing juices into:

  • Flat World Knowledge (FWK): Looking for free and open college textbooks online? Take a look at FWK’s catalog and course listings to start browsing. If reading on a bright screen is not your thing, FWK gives you print, audio and self-print PDF options, as well as numerous mixing and remixing tools to customize your “text” to your needs. To learn more about FWK’s business model, listen to this interview with Eric Frank (FWK co-founder).
  • CK-12’s Flexbook Tool: As the website states, “CK-12 Foundation is a non-profit organization with a mission to reduce the cost of textbook materials for the K-12 market both in the U.S. and worldwide. Using an open-content, web-based collaborative model termed the “FlexBook,” CK-12 intends to pioneer the generation and distribution of high quality educational content that will serve both as core text as well as provide an adaptive environment for learning.” For a sample of what Flexbooks look like, take a look at these resources on the human body. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, start creating a Flexbook today!
  • Curriki: California is pioneering an experiment with free high school digital textbooks. Curriki has two science books—chemistry and earth science—in the running, and is calling on science teachers to make these open source books the best they can be. That means you! Click on the curriculum tabs on the aforementioned chemistry and earth science links to get started! Or, if high school science is not your subject, search for digital textbooks and textbook alternatives here! Feel free to share your own content too!

Obviously there are a lot of great digital textbook and textbook alternatives out there beyond the three above. Leave a reply below to share you content and favorites!

Curriki

Note: The image above is a public domain work and can be found in its original form on Wikimedia Commons.

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Essential Web Tools for Teachers and Students

After two weeks of merrymaking while on holiday in Greece and Turkey, I am back online and supercharged for the 2009-2010 school year. While the holiday gave me a chance to satisfy my desire to read literature (The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera) and hear chick lit (Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips via iPod) while on long bus rides and overnight trains across the border, I came back with a strong thirst to resume my ritual morning combing of the web for interesting finds in the fields of education, technology, literacy and business.

While I was offline, Mashable posted two fantastic lists of back to school apps for students and teachers. Make sure to take a look at the full lists on Mashable and my highlights below!

Back to School: 15 Essential Web Tools for Students. My favorites on the list include:

  • Evernote–A note-taking and organization tool for the 21st century student (and teacher). This is a great tool for helping students stay organized, remember homework and compile research.
  • Google Docs–Why use pricey Microsoft Office when you can use Google’s free collaborative spreadsheets, better-than-wiki docs and wonderful form/survey tools? If you like to assign group projects, this is a tool your students will most certainly find useful to stay organized and in touch during and after school hours.
  • CiteMe–An automatic tool for creating APA, MLA, etc. citations… Need I say more?!

Back to School: 10 Terrific Web Apps for Teachers. My favorites on the list include:

  • Curriki–Your one-stop-shop for free and open curricula and K-12 online resources and lesson sharing tools. Make sure to check out the new subject focused pages for ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies! The new browse page is very useful too!
  • Shmoop–Resources and study guides for ELA, history and more! Learn how teachers are using Shmoop here and read my past blog about Shmoop here!

May your school year be filled with many awesome educational apps and organization tools!

Anna

P.S. Thanks to Jenny Krueger for sending me the above two Mashable links while I was away on holiday! These are two posts not to be missed!

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