Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Inspiring Creativity through Digital Storytelling

In his book On Writing, Stephen King says "Let's get one thing clear, now shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Best Sellers; good story ideas seem to come from literally nowhere, sailing right at you out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn't to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up."

Helping students to connect to storytelling and recognize those ideas sailing at them through digital means could be a very powerful experience.

Presentation Resource


Get your own copy of the presentation here.

An Invitation to Create

In the book Tinkerlab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors, Rachelle Doorley points to the idea of creating invitations to creativity for learners. As an educator and Digital Learning Coach, this idea has stuck with me as I try to help learners to engage in the learning process. We can use traditional and digital prompts to invite students to write creatively.

Three resources to develop an Invitation to Create

Green Screen by DoInk is a really flexible app that you can use with a green screen and without. It is a paid app that you can use on your phone or tablet. Here are some basics of creating a layered video:

Anything you record on a green background, including videos just made in front of the green screen or videos created through app smashing with a green photo inserted and animated graphics recorded over top, can be used as a visual prompt. Record your class ahead of time with a dancing pirate or with cuddly monsters hanging out overhead, or your miniature clone and then invite them to write about the problem in the room.

The Creativity Project is a great book put together by Colby Sharp. The book, a collection of writing prompts by famous authors, includes imaginative responses by other famous writers. Consider giving your class a prompt - which is sometimes written and sometimes visual and have them respond, then read the or see how that prompt was imagined by a published author. Consider using a Google Slide deck and collecting all student responses in one space or encourage students to use digital or paper/pen sketchnotes to respond.

Augmented Reality is all the rage right now - and the Merge Cube is a hot item. You can use free apps like Th!ngs (Free) and encourage students to use the record feature to tell a story about one of the augmented reality prompts.

Craft of Writing

Once you get students hooked and creatively thinking, it's time to help them go back through their prompts to discover something they want to develop more into a story. There are many digital tools students can use to help develop their writing - everything from Google docs to add-ons to subscription services. Here are a few of my favorite ways to help students stay on track:

Learn about writing from the experts in Khan Academy's Pixar in a Box: the Art of Storytelling. The module includes a series of videos that feature people who work and create for Pixar with activities students can do to help them develop ideas. Seeing real world people talk about their work lends a sense of authenticity to the writing that students might connect to as a possible future career.

Interactive Notebooks are a great way to help organize the entire writing process into one resource. Make use of Google Slides or PowerPoint for this type of tool to mimic the effect of a book and help students easily access different pages.

Get your own copy of a Digital Story interactive notebook here.

Manage Writing and interact with students to help give students feedback and help them edit using Google Classroom or a Learning Management System like Schoology.

Publishing Writing

With all the digital tools available to students, it would be a waste to leave that writing piece in a folder. Help students publish their work to the world using any number of tools. These are three device agnostic tools for creating dynamic published work.

Adobe Spark with the free education edition and a little help from your IT department you can have students create visually engaging pieces as a written publication, video or webpage. 

Adobe Post

Adobe Video

Book Creator  is a great tool that you can access through Google Chrome and for fee have 1 library with 40 books. Although the iPad app is paid, it is well worth the investment as you can create amazing multimedia texts that include video, audio, and images. Get tons of ideas on their blog.

CoSpacesEDU is another favorite tool that includes the ability to create original 360 degree, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality content. The free version will allow a teacher 1 class with limited access, but there is still a lot that can be created with the free version! Under Resources they have ideas for getting started, lesson plans and more.

While there are countless ways to help students publish writing these days, I think these three places provide students with enough variety to get started and hooked on digital storytelling. 

What are some of your favorite strategies or tools for digital storytelling?