I was so excited, reading chapter one of New Literacies, when the work of Paulo Freire was cited as important for the factor shifting literacy into formal education (Lankshear & Knobel, 4). I was introduced to Freire’s work when I was getting my Master of Education. I latched onto his ideas that education was a catalyst for revolution. I saw the application of his theories in the elementary classroom, because the students in those classrooms were facing revolutionary change in their lives everyday, socially and physically. Education gives students perspective on those changes, a way to understand and interact with the world as students are exposed to a larger and more diversified segment of it. New Literacies seems to tout a similar belief letting students use the medium that best communicates the story the author is inspired to tell, the means of communication are rapidly changing and Freire would have wanted education to embrace it.
I had come to class with a thought that digital storytelling is a technical activity. How do you use this program? What are the newest tools reach audiences? Chapter one of New Literacies opened my eyes to the need to keep focused on best practice literacy instruction when creating digital stories or incorporating digital storytelling into classroom instruction. New literacies need to focus on the story or ideas that are being shared. When the focus of the project is on the content being shared it becomes the foundation that engaging delivery methods can be built on. Digital stories that are technically impressive will grab the audience’s attention but will be unable to hold viewers attention or will not create a memorable impression for the viewer. A story is effective when the content or lessons of the story are memorable, not just how flashy the presentation was.
I am still trying to find what my focus is for this course. I am torn between thinking about using digital storytelling with my students so that they can share their stories or do I want to experience the successes and failures from the creation of digital stories created from my passions. I feel that it will serve me and my students best if I experience the process for myself. The experience will let me know how it feels to plan and execute projects. The experience will also give me a greater understanding of available tools. Mostly creating projects for my own passions will give me exemplar products that I can share with students and let them know that the success is worth the effort.
I wanted to find some resources that I could share that highlight the connection between digital storytelling and new literacies, and I felt the the best way would be to find a digital story that highlights not only the ‘whys’ but also the ‘hows’ of digital storytelling. This Prezi gave a coherent descriptions of both digital storytelling and literacy, and how teachers can use digital storytelling to support students. It also has reviews of resources that teachers can incorporate into their practice.