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Week 9 Reflection Journal – Wiki and Digital Storytelling

October 27, 2012

As I was reading the chapter and supplements for my EME5050 course this week I couldn’t help but think about how I could apply the concepts to my own background; how could these concepts benefit a 6th grade Language Arts class?  I have been teaching 6th grade Language Arts for over 15 years and I have seen many changes.  I have seen the students change…I have seen the curriculum change…I have seen assessments and testing change…I have seen technology change.  How might I be able to integrate technology, digital media, and curriculum integration into my lessons?

Digital storytelling projects have just started to become more common in my school.  As a matter of fact, I have really only noticed them since this semester…perhaps this is because the EME5050 class has devoted a major chunk to this topic?  Or maybe they have really just started to gain popularity.  I’m not so sure.  I do know that the students I have in my class are just as tech savvy as I am, and would take very well to the challenge of completing digital assignments.

Digital storytelling assignments may start to take the place of traditional book reports.  I think the only thing that might even come close to preventing this would be the lack of access to technology of some families (which is a completely different blog!).

So the question to put out there to all educators regarding digital storytelling might be:

Exactly how will you develop the project if this is your first one?

Great question!  And fortunately we have many great resources to use in the planning, creation, implementation, and presentation of digital stories.

For my 6th grade students I would have to look at Common Core Standards (we formerly used the Sunshine State Standards here in Florida) to see what could be turned into a digital story.  I think I would use a biography assignment as a digital storytelling assignment.  I could see students using a digital presentation platform and/or digital timelines to create a project that is both rigorous and relevant. 

The assignment mightlook something like this:

Select a person to do a biographical research study on.  You will read and research your subject and create a multimedia presentation highlighting his/her major accomplishments.  Please be sure to include specific dates (birth, death, etc.) and specific accomplishments.  You can present using any type of digital presentation platform (other than PowerPoint).  Your presentation should include both text and images.  You may also include video and sound/music to your presentation.  We will spend 5 days in the Media Center where Mrs. Smith, the media specialist, will assist with research techniques and technology.  You can use traditional texts in your research if you wish, but you must include at least one digital reference.  Be sure to check that your web research is reliable.


Use the following links to assist where needed:

Now, there may be a bit more to the instructions, but this is just a starting point.  As far as teacher created materials…I would think that a good teacher would have a few demonstration presentations.  Eventually, the teacher would acquire some exemplary samples for future classes to view. I think this part would go along pretty well with the “Don’t Reinvent the Wheel” section of our reading!


In the creation of our Wiki page for this week’s assignment the following NETS-T standards were covered:

Standard 4:  Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

Topic C—Promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information

Digital Wiki pages tools which nearly all teachers should use at one point in their career.  Some may only use a Wiki page for specific assignments, while others will go into more depth using Wiki or other platforms to help themselves be known to the digital world, as some of them can be set to edit mode.  I was aware that individuals used Wiki platforms to collaborate on digital assignments, but it is a new concept to me all together.  This assignment was authentic, and I can see myself using Wiki pages to promote my class in the future.

Standard 3:  Model Digital Age Work and Learning

Topic C—Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats

Creating an online Wiki page is an effective way to communicate assignments and ideas to parents and students, as well as to collaborate with colleagues.  Using the online format allows for students and others to view the information from any computer with WWW connections.  You can add active links in your Wiki to make the page more of a network than a page.  You can also set the page to allow others to edit, making this a great collaboration tool.


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  1. sarahbrownmorse permalink

    “Digital storytelling assignments may start to take the place of traditional book reports. I think the only thing that might even come close to preventing this would be the lack of access to technology of some families (which is a completely different blog!).”

    When I worked at the public library, students often came to borrow books for their summer reading projects. There was always a choice of books and a choice of projects. These included journal entries, posters, newspaper articles, and videos. There was something for every learning style. I wonder if there are more digital media options in recent years. Should traditional book reports go away? Not entirely. Students should be familiar with the components of a book report. Instead of writing a book report, they can use these components as part of a digital story or book trailer.

    Access to technology is definitely something to keep in mind. We cannot assume every student can go home to an iPad. Some don’t even have a computer. Many people come to libraries or school media centers because that is their only computer access. In one of the articles I read for information on digital storytelling, the teacher wanted students to bring in photos to add to their digital stories. She quickly realized that most students (poor area) didn’t have photos at home. She ended up getting cameras, letting students take them home, and developing their pictures.

  2. Hi Mike,

    I enjoy your posts because the passion and dedication you bring to educational technology are always evident. I agree with your point that “Digital storytelling assignments may start to take the place of traditional book reports. I think the only thing that might even come close to preventing this would be the lack of access to technology of some families (which is a completely different blog!).” – so true!

    One thing I have really appreciated about this course and see you are appreciating too is the emphasis on Project Based Learning. In this course we are of course examining that from a technological perspective (which is always contingent on availability of technology), however, looking at assessing standards comprehension by collaborative project-based learning is always a good idea! Students without access to technology can still do the “foundational” work for a digital storytelling project at home such as story boarding, character development, etc. Then, assuming the school has the technology, the culmination could occur at school. Great post!

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