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Digital storytelling and Powerpoint in teaching


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#1 Peter_Tollmar

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 09:36 AM

Presentation at E-help conference Gothenburg Sep 2005 – Using Digital storytelling and Powerpoint in History teaching by Peter Tollmar

I divided my presentation into two parts

A. Digital storytelling

- What is Digital storytelling?
- Two different ways I have used it
- Showed some Digital stories my students have made

B. Powerpoint


- How I integrate Powerpoint with design history
- Why use Powerpoint in Design histoy?
- Showed some games and animations made by my students


A. Digital storytelling

1. What/How/Why is Digital Storytelling?

WHAT? A Digital story is a story told with the help of computers. It combines images, text, sound-effects, music and voice-over to tell a personal story.

DS was “invented” in Berkeley in the early 90’s when a group of writers, artists and computer people was trying to find a way to incorporate new computer technology with storytelling.

HOW?They set up the Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley and the Digital Clubhouse in New York City, where they held courses and invited people for screenings. They also wrote a manual for how to make Digital Stories: the Digital Cookbook.

WHY?They wanted to find an alternative to mainstream media, and also to let groups who usually wasn’t heard (ethnic minorities in the US army, woman with breast cancer) be heard.

And finally they created some “rules” or guidelines for how a DS should be constructed to work efficiently.

The guidelines are:

1. There must be a point of view in the story. Something important the storyteller wants to tell.

2. There must be drama in the story. It is necessary to capture the viewer. It must be exciting.

3. There must be some emotional content in the story.

4. Voice-over. The storyteller must read is story. This will make more personal and it will be easier for the viewer to connect to the storyteller.

5. Use music as a soundtrack to the story, since it will enhance the emotional feeling.

6. Economy in the use of pictures and sounds. Keep it short and simple.

7. Change pace in the story. A change in the rhythm sustains an audience’s interest.


2. Two different ways I have used Digital Storytelling (or been inspired by it)

a. Learning Bridge

In Learning Bridge we communicate with American students over the internet and go on a two-week trip to USA to visit some of the students and stay in host families.

We run this project to make the students grow and change into more responsible persons. (You can read more at www.learningbridge.se)

In order to emphasize this we let them do a story about a person or an occasion that has changed them or have had a great importance for them.

The have to go home and collect photos and then write a story. One of the students, Sebastian, did a story about his grandfather who had moved to Canada and USA in the 50’s to work in the auto-industry. And Sebastian did a movie about how inspiring this is to him and that he wants to do the same thing. And it also became a historic movie about his grandfather and family history.

When we returned from the trip each student had to make a digital diary of one day, using photos taken during the trip and voice-over.

The programs we use are Windows Moviemaker which the students learn to use in 30 min and also various photo editing programs (Adobe Photoshop mostly). For sound editing we use a share ware program called Audacity available at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

These (and other) digital stories are available for viewing or download on the Learning Bridge web site at http://www.learningbridge.se under "Archives".

b. Virtual history movie


I have also let the students make digital stories in history. Here they don’t make a personal story, but an ordinary short film about an historical event.

The material they use for their movies are all available on the internet. They download a number of movies, maybe 20-30, and then take pieces from all the movies to create something new – tell a new story. Like using sampling technique in hip-hop.

The main source is www.archive.org which is an internet library with movies, sounds and texts. The material is donated by the American government, companies, institutions, organizations etc and is free to use for non-commercial use. The best for movies are the Prelinger archives, which is found by clicking on “Moving images” on the http://www.archive.org web site, then on “Prelinger archives” and finally “Browse by subject/keyword”.

The Prelinger Archive have 2000 movies mostly from the 50’s and 60’s – educational (the banana industry in Central America, nuclear energy), commercials (the new Chevrolet), propaganda (Duck and Cover).

The students have to decide what they want their story to be about - the development of the nuclear bomb for instance – and then start looking for material in the archive. When they have watched the movies available they write the story more in detail (the story is somewhat dependable upon what material they can find). Then comes the process of editing and cutting the movies they have downloaded, making it into a story. And then do a voice-over and add sound-effects and music.

Movies my students has made are available on my web site www.tollmar.com/skola under “Elevarbeten & projekt”.

3. How they work at DigiClub NYC

At the Digital Clubhouse in New York they have a very ambitious community of youths who work with DS. They are not making DS about themselves but about important persons in their local community. Their present project is called Stories of service and is about war veterans – with the focus on veterans from ethnic minorities. They usually start out at the local old people’s home to find veterans. Then they interview the veterans with a tape recorder, and collect photos and other documents which they digitalize.

Finally they write a story from the material they have collected and put it all together.

You find DigiClub in New York’s website at http://www.digiclubnyc.org/ , Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley at www.storycenter.org/ and Stories of Service at http://www.stories-of-service.org/

B. Powerpoint and Design history

I have a class that I teach both in Design history and Basic computer skills, and instead of teaching the two courses separately I have tried to integrate them. I give them a lecture in one field in design history and then they have to make some sort of presentation in a given computer programme. In Basic computer skills they are supposed to learn Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Photo editing, use the internet, internet ethics, ergonomcs,...

So I give them very specific exercises which include both design history and the specific computer programme we are working with at the moment.

By integrating the subjects I gain a lot:

- teaching computer skills can boring and abstract if you don’t fill them with relevant content. Earlier the students have made presentations in Poweroint where the content never mattered – now I let them make a presentation about a subject we are working on. Then they get graded both for the computer presentation and the content of the presentation.

- I get more time – now I can use part of the computer skills classes for design history. Probably get 30-50% more time on design history now.

- As with the Digital Story telling the students has to internalize the material to make it understandable. For instance – they make a computer game about the Bauhaus School of Design aimed at a certian age group. They have to think through “OK, what does an average 14 year old now about modernist design? How can I make this material understandable to him?”. I think the students understand more if they have to think in those terms.

Here are two exercises my students has worked with:

- Show the connection between Piet Mondrian and the De Stijl-movement. A painting that is turned into a chair. The idea is to show how art can inspire design. The students learn how to make an animation in PP and how to add sound effects.

- Make a computer game about the Bauhaus school of design. The game should be a pedagogic game, i.e. you must learn something from it when you play it.

Games and animations my students has made are available on my web site www.tollmar.com/skola under “Elevarbeten & projekt”.

Peter Tollmar, Sept. 16th 2005

#2 John Simkin

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 11:36 AM

1. What/How/Why is Digital Storytelling?

WHAT? A Digital story is a story told with the help of computers. It combines images, text, sound-effects, music and voice-over to tell a personal story.

DS was “invented” in Berkeley in the early 90’s when a group of writers, artists and computer people was trying to find a way to incorporate new computer technology with storytelling.

HOW?They set up the Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley and the Digital Clubhouse in New York City, where they held courses and invited people for screenings. They also wrote a manual for how to make Digital Stories: the Digital Cookbook.

WHY?They wanted to find an alternative to mainstream media, and also to let groups who usually wasn’t heard (ethnic minorities in the US army, woman with breast cancer) be heard.

And finally they created some “rules” or guidelines for how a DS should be constructed to work efficiently.

The guidelines are:

1. There must be a point of view in the story. Something important the storyteller wants to tell.

2. There must be drama in the story. It is necessary to capture the viewer. It must be exciting.

3. There must be some emotional content in the story.

4. Voice-over. The storyteller must read is story. This will make more personal and it will be easier for the viewer to connect to the storyteller.

5. Use music as a soundtrack to the story, since it will enhance the emotional feeling.

6. Economy in the use of pictures and sounds. Keep it short and simple.

7. Change pace in the story. A change in the rhythm sustains an audience’s interest.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Another great E-HELP seminar. I have never been to a conference where I have witnessed such a high quality of presentations.

I am very interested in the ideological aspects of Digital Storytelling. One of the problems of Oral History is that it is usually viewed through the eyes of the historian. These historians always come to the subject with a point of view. This is reflected in the questions asked and the way the material is presented.

Take for example of the man who I believe is the world's greatest oral historian, Studs Terkel. I love his books. One of the reasons is that I share Terkel’s view of the world. Although he always interviews people with a wide-range of political opinions, there is no doubting his own standpoint. This is reflected in the way he edits his interviews.

The exiting aspect of digital storytelling is that it gives far more power to the individual to construct their own understanding of the past. It would make an interesting history project for students to work with grandparents in order to reconstruct their past.

I think it also has potential in other curriculum areas. For example, English, Art, Sociology, Media Studies, etc.

#3 Anders MacGregor-Thunell

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 11:40 AM

A very rewarding seminar. This was a very structured presentation where we got to learn about the background of "digital storytelling" and later got to see some fascinating samples of this practice. What I especially enjoy with "digital storytelling" is the possibilities to let our students conduct them. It also gives them a good introduction to various practice of ICT. Very good! B) I will definitely try this out with my students and report back about the results.

John - It's funny you mentioned Studs Terkel. To prepare for the interviews I conducted in Texas 1989-1990 (working on my PhD) I studied many different approaches towards Oral History from "The Voice of the Past" by Paul Thompson to the works of Tamara Hareven and Studs Terkel. Tamara Harevens book "Amoskeag: Life and Work in an American Factory City" and Studs Terkels book "Division Street: America" became two of my absolute favorite books. Ever since then I have had a special heart for "Oral History"... :lol:

#4 Richard Jones-Nerzic

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 08:07 PM

The exiting aspect of digital storytelling is that it gives far more power to the individual to construct their own understanding of the past. It would make an interesting history project for students to work with grandparents in order to reconstruct their past.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yes, this aspect struck a chord with me also. Oral history can be a fantastic experience for students and a wonderful way of bridging generational gaps particularly within a family. But oral history can also be a bit onesided and tends to be one-off. The idea of scripting and performing a documentary together over a series of meetings, could be a wonderfully challenging experience. I have already thought of getting some of my students to have a go next summer.

The other idea I picked up from the seminar was storytelling of the school trip. What a brilliantly simple way of getting students to reflect on the educational experience of field work. Have all the students share their digital photos of the trip on the school network. Make them choose a set number of images (say, 10) give them a strict time-limit, a headphone microphone set, MovieMaker and a choice of music and away they go. Students can then compare their 'stories' and reflect on the subjectivity of history production and documentary technique. IST students will definately be doing this in the next year.

#5 Dalibor Svoboda

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 11:31 AM

The exiting aspect of digital storytelling is that it gives far more power to the individual to construct their own understanding of the past. It would make an interesting history project for students to work with grandparents in order to reconstruct their past.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


At a meeting after Peters “Gothenburg presentation” we discussed and preliminary decided that all 35 students in subject Learning Bridge should accomplish this.
After all most of them does have at home a family photo album and at least one of the parents to ask too.

#6 Dalibor Svoboda

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 03:53 PM

One of the pedagogical tasks for The Learning Bridge student group will be a digital story made by each student presenting student’s grandmother.

By this task we shall get approximately 30 stories containing old pictures and English text or English voices telling about the women’s past.
The best one may be published at E-HELP site at the end of this school year, in June 2006.

#7 John Simkin

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 12:42 PM

You can see Peter Tollmar's E-HELP seminar here:



#8 Dalibor Svoboda

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 02:18 PM

At a meeting after Peters “Gothenburg presentation” we discussed and preliminary decided that all 35 students in subject Learning Bridge should accomplish this.
After all most of them does have at home a family photo album and at least one of the parents to ask too.



One of the students from the last year of The Learning Bridge activity made a wonderful digital storytelling Me and my grandfather which can now be seen at:

http://www.tollmar.c...a/fb_e_help.htm

#9 Richard Jones-Nerzic

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 10:25 PM

I was inspired by Peter's presentation to have a go myself.

I had the idea of producing digital stories of a school trip.

http://uk.youtube.co...h?v=X_tfjHWprhg

The students pooled their hundreds of still images of the day and then produced their own digital account. The point of the activity was to demonstrate how interpretations of the same event could differ significantly even when produced by similar types of eyewitness.

#10 Terry Haydn

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 03:47 PM

The potential for digital storytelling to enrich history lessons has increased since the original seminar as more and more schools/pupils are able to use Windows Moviemaker. It is now a more eminently 'doable' topic given many pupils' facility with Moviemaker. What would help would be some good examples to go with Johannes and Neal's tutorial on Moviemaker (www.innovativehistory.net).

In the UK, it is now essential that all history teachers incorporate some element of family or local history into the curriculum at KS3; digital storytelling would be an ideal way of making this a powerful, worthwhile and interesting way of doing this.




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