Mash-Up

Digital Storytelling Mashup

 

For this final assignment I had a hard time deciding what approach to take.  To me the term “remix” means taking a previous work and changing the way it is presented in some way but still maintaining the same meaning.  I researched ways to “remix” and most of them were musical in nature…. I am not musically inclined.  So I settled on the idea of a “mash-up”.  My idea of a mash-up is taking a bunch of stuff and mixing it up but I did some research to see if I was correct or not.  Margaret Rouse explains mash-up as “a Web page or application that integrates complementary elements from two or more sources” (2016, Software Applications Glossary).  With this in mind and after viewing past cohort creations I decided to use Prezi.  Additionally, Prezi seemed like a interesting application and one that I might be able to use for my class.


Course Experience

When I enrolled in this course I had no idea what to expect.  I was simply following the recommendation of a friend.  Having not fully committed to getting my Masters yet, I just take a course here and there.  However, my friend has been trying to motivate me and said that many people have enjoyed this class.  What the hey, couldn’t be any worse than the other options, right?  Besides, I like the sound of digital, maybe it will be interesting.  After the first week of creating one account after another I started wondering what I had gotten myself into.  Not being a very strong writer, my apprehension continued to grow as I read through the course requirements and assignments.  The thought of posting my work on a blog site for the cohort to read and evaluate did not fill me with joy.  Now, with the conclusion of the semester I am very glad that I listened to my friend.  The cohort interaction via Google+ community, Google Hangouts, and blog comments has been nothing short of spectacular.  Cohort members have been very supportive and helpful with the writing and creative process.  Whenever I was stumbling or having a hard time coming up with ideas, I simply asked cohort members what they were working on, or if they had any ideas.  Every time it was simply a matter of hearing another perspective that would give me a direction to go.  Despite this being a autonomous course I always felt like I had others to turn to for help.

Reflection of the course:

  1. What I appreciated most with this course was the creative freedom.  It was very refreshing to be able to take our own approach to each of the assignments instead of being constrained to a set mindset.  With this freedom the cohort came up with many different approaches.
  2. Cohort interaction.  I have already mentioned this above and in my mashup.  I have taken several distance coursed with “cohorts” but this was the first time it felt like one.
  3. As the course comes to a close I feel that I have a large collection of resources that I can use in the future. Many that I found while researching for the assignments and many that my cohort members used. Several tools that I hope to implement in my classroom.
  4. Past cohort sites. Many times I found it beneficial to review the cohort sites from past years for ideas on the assignments.  Although some of the blogs had expired, there was usually enough to help out.
  5. Alignment of assignments.  I appreciated that the first assignment of the course was the most reading and writing intensive followed by the assignments that focused on the application of digital storytelling.  Instead of dreading doing the required work I looked forward to it.

To close, I reflected for a long time on what I may have disliked or would improve with this course but failed to come up with anything.  Thank you Skip and fellow cohort members.

Alexander, B. (2011). The new digital storytelling: Creating narratives with new media. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

Rouse, Margaret (2016) Software applications glossary, mash-up definition. Retrieved from http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/mash-up

Participatory Storytelling

Participatory Storytelling

via Twitter

Ed 677 Digital Storytelling

When beginning this assignment I had a feeling of dread. I am not a storyteller. Although I do consider myself creative in some regards, writing is not my thing. The idea of creating a story with my cohort members, which up to this point had proven to be excellent writers, made me very apprehensive. Additionally, my avoidance of Twitter to this stage of my life set my confidence back even further. This being said, I really enjoyed the final outcome of this assignment.

For my deconstruction narrative I am going to break the process down into what I feel are the separate parts of the assignment. First the process of creating the story, followed by deciding how to re-create our story and the process involved.

The story:

As stated earlier I have had no interest in joining the Twitter community on my own up to this point. I am not much of a social media person. So the first task was to create a Twitter account, which in itself was not that hard despite having to select who I wanted to “follow”. I then researched programs that I could use to collect the tweets made by our cohort. I ended up choosing Twitonomy because of it’s data features. Being a science teacher, I like data. Twitonomy tracks and graphs tweets made, people who are following me, retweets, and more. It all looked pretty cool on the site so I set up a account only to discover that all the features that I thought were cool I had to pay for. None-the-less, it did a great job when I needed to follow our storyline. Now that I am all set up, time to create the story.

This was a very interesting process, the idea of several people that are spread out around the state (and Montana) creating a story by adding tiny pieces separately, with no interaction and it was supposed to make sense? However, it worked! For me, the ability to choose when I wanted to add to the story made me more comfortable with the writing process. Additionally, the limit of 140 characters evened the playing field. I felt that with everybody having the same constraints when tweeting, forced our whole cohort to write at a closer level. Although a few tweets were very descriptive when being limited to the number of characters. Once I was more at ease, I found myself checking for tweets on a regular basis, eager to see what had been added to the story. As I stated in our Google+ community, I was glad to see Keriann take our story to “a dark place” because it was starting to seem like our story wasn’t going anywhere without that conflict. I had thought about doing the same thing but couldn’t seem to bring myself to do it. Once she did it added a whole new level to the story.

Re-creation:

When the time period for adding to the story ended I was disappointed since we had reached a point in which it could have gotten really interesting. So my initial thought was to try and continue it in some way. I quickly discarded this idea because as I said, I am not a writer! So back to researching the internet on how to tell/retell a digital story. I came across Adobe Slate and Adobe Voice right away. Both allow you to access the Adobe community for images that are copyright free. I decided to go with Adobe Voice, which is an app for the iPad. Voice allows you to search photos as well as a library of icons to import into your creation. Then the user records their voice to go along with the images. I thought this would be a great way to re-tell our story. Once I started using it, I had a hard time finding images to go with the events/characters of our story. Thinking that Slate might give me access to more pictures since it is a web based application, I changed my focus to using it instead of Voice. Not surprisingly, I had similar issues with finding images to coincide with our story. Back to researching options.   I found many other sources for telling stories but met the same limitations of not finding the images I wanted.

Fortunately, we had a “Hangout” via Google+ with our cohort. Hearing the ideas of others helped, but what helped the most was Skip saying that I didn’t have to tell the whole story. Just pick a part of it. Why hadn’t I thought of that before?! I was so focused on telling our story as a whole, that it was limiting my options. To me, the part of our story with Ti’s brother and mother seemed to never really take off so I decided to delete it. Once I did that, ideas for simplifying the rest of the story started coming. I returned to Adobe Slate because I liked some of the examples I had seen on Adobe’s site. I knew I wanted to use images from our thread for those key points of the story. I also knew that I wanted to integrate Ti’s father’s text via an image. My son agreed to help me out so I changed his contact to that used in our story (with the heart) so when he sent me the text from the storyline the image would include both parts; the message and the identity of the sender. The rest of the images I found either in Adobe community (which are listed at the end of my story along with their creator) or Creativecommons.org via Google. After that, it was a matter of streamlining our story and working with the limitations of Slate. For instance, font is dependent on the theme you choose, and placement of text boxes are limited. However, these were minor issues.

Overall, I am very pleased with the results. In fact, I am trying to think of how I could use Slate for my classroom lectures. I think it would be helpful to students to be able to see images while reading the text rather than having to click on a link and navigate to a separate window.

 


Part II: Story by a handful of students

Ti gingerly inserted the last key into the padlock hanging fro the rusted hasp. It fit. She turned the key. As she opened the door she heard a noise and froze suddenly. She stood in shock, she jumped as she heard gunshots nearby. She took off and tried to run back through the door but it closed and locked her inside. A big figure outlined in black appeared. The figure reached and grabbed her… and covered her mouth before she could scream for help. She heard an evil laugh then the lights came on and Donald Trump walked in the room. He got closer, almost cornering her, and started to reach for his pocket. From it he pulled out an envelope bedazzled with diamonds.   Donald Trump laughs and slowly walks away, he says “it’s all a dream”.

Suddenly she wakes up. “Was it really a dream?” she wondered as she opened her hand clasping a rusty key. Ti sat up and looked around. Seeing a faint light coming from down a hallway. Key in hand, she went towards it. The light never seemed to get closer so she started to run. As she was walking the hallway seemed to get longer and longer…. and the she heard something. She heard a piercing scream from behind a door. She had to make up her mind in that moment… help…or escape! Escape!!

But where? The door behind her seemed locked. She had to continue down the hall towards the light or go towards the scream. The light got brighter as she approached it. Another scream rang out. But this time it was different…familiar even…it sounded like the voice of her. She recognized the voice and was in fear of their troubles so she started to run for help until she ran into…all at once, the memories came flooding back. She had been down this hall before!! She stopped to think…was it last year? Was it with….? Memories came running back. She was in her old house from when she was a kid. She misses those days when she was a kid, when life was simple. When she was free to do whatever and had no thoughts drowning her of worries. What should she do with herself?

Why was she here? Who else is here? All these questions flooded her head. Then suddenly she remembered it all. She remembered that she was a secret agent that went by the name Meligna and was sent on a special mission by the FBI to…. Destroy all traced of last summer. Her double agent cover was blown while she was overseas in Russia. Now the whole mafia wants her dead. How is she going to get out of this one?

Frantic and confused, Ti began to wander the room looking for a way out, until a movie started projecting onto the wall. “Whose there?” She screams as the movie suddenly got paused. “Hello Meligna,” said the voice of her old director. “I need you to open the door to the lit room so we can get out of here.” She struggled, she was surrounded in a room of doors… which one would be the right door to choose? But then she remembered the scream she had heard from one of them and decided that was the one to choose.

The walls around her started to close in fast and she made her decision to open that door, but it wouldn’t budge. Straining , she continued to push. Finally the door gave way and she walked through to see her partner laying on the ground. Hurriedly Meligna fell to the side of her partner and began to assist him to a standing position so they could escape together. She got her partner to stand up but he was too weak to walk to safety. Together they hopped towards the only exit until he…collapsed. But Meligna found the strength she didn’t know she had to drag her partner out. When they were finally outside she took a quick look around, only to realize that she didn’t recognize where they were. Her partner did though as he whispered.. “back to safe house..” so he weakly gave instructions to the safe house. Once they were inside Meligna wasted no time and asked… how he knew about it. He said he had received an urgent letter from “the agency” with a description and instructions to it. In order to complete the task they needed to start now.


I am going to keep this somewhat brief since I was lengthy on my narrative above.  I was intrigued by this assignment and my first thought was to have some high school students go through the same process.  However, I felt like this would be cheating the class assignment since I wouldn’t be doing the work, so I chose to use Adobe Slate instead.  But I was still interested in what it would be like with teenagers as opposed to adults that are furthering their education.  When I first posed the possibility to the students that participated, they were very excited.  In fact, a couple of them had discovered my account on Twitter and had seen some of our cohort’s tweets while creating our story. So I laid down the “ground rules” and we created #dcoxstory together.  Note, I did get permission from my administrator first and shared our story hashtag with her so she could follow along or contribute.  She then shared it with a assistant principal to join in.

My thoughts:

  • It is interesting how both groups entered the building after unlocking it.  Both groups described a “dark” room.  Both groups had a “figure” of some sort appear. Both groups created conflict with an injury or assault. Both stories were getting interesting at the conclusion of time span.
  • The students would “respond” to the tweets of others instead of using the hashtag.  As if they were having a conversation. This resulted in much shorter responses since they would all start with a hashtag of the person they were responding to.  In some cases, several hashtags.
  • Due to time constraints of a week, I often had to remind them to tweet to the story. Many of the participants have lunch in my classroom and I could hear them talking about what was going on in the story.
  • A couple of participants started getting frustrated with the process;  others didn’t tweet often enough, tweets by some were frustrating to others because the story seemed to be going nowhere.  Similar to my feelings about our cohort story until Keriann “went dark”.
  • The maturity level appeared a couple of times with the introduction of Donald Trump and the “bedazzled” envelope.  I had to chuckle!
  • I tried to refrain from tweeting because I didn’t want to steer the story but I found that I had to tweet a couple times to help the story find some direction.

I was only able to do this for about a week and yet I was surprised at how quickly a story came together, despite the occasional sidetrack.  The overall length of the story when done surprised me as well since it didn’t seem like the students were tweeting very frequently.  Their excitement for the story ran out after a few days. I would love to do this type of story with classes if I was a English teacher.  What I think would be interesting would be to give an end goal.  A place where we want the story to end.  By doing so, it might give participants some direction and still allow them the freedom to choose how to get there.

AR in Storytelling

Aurasma Channel: dcefolio

Click the thumbnail to view full size image with Aurasma.


When first starting this assignment I was filled with apprehension having had no real experience with augmented reality (AR). The first thought that came to me was virtual reality. As a teen in the 80s the concept of virtual reality has been something that has been long on talk and short on delivery. So to understand what is meant by AR I had to put in a bit of research. Bryan Alexander defines AR as, “a linking of digital content to the physical world, especially by location.” (2011, p. 164) However, after completing this project I prefer the definition, “the incorporation of something virtual into something pre-existing, that amplifies the experience.” (Davis, Oum, & Deimler, n.d.) Although both definitions address an aspect of my experience with AR, Alexander’s addition of “by location” seems more applicable to the usage of marker-less AR that uses GPS tracking while creating the AR. During this project I focused more on the marker-based AR which functions with the use of target recognition (3D object, text, image, or human-face) by the AR engine. (Aggarwal, n.d.)

So as I researched I realized that although I wasn’t aware of what it was called, I had many experiences with AR. Last summer while hiking I used the Northface Trailhead app on my smartphone to plot my hike. Throughout the day it tracked my path, pace, and changes in elevation. As I took pictures of the hike, the app placed the pictures into the locations of the trail. Another app that I use regularly in my Earth Science class is the Skywalk app. Using GPS, it places astrological bodies (satellites, moons, planets, Hubble telescope, International Space Station, and planets) into the screen of a smart phone as a user scans the sky. Clearly these are examples of a large-scale use of AR, however after using Aurasma I could see how AR could be integrated into everyday life. The main problem I see is the lack of knowledge by the general public to the existence of AR in use. We have discussed in our Hangout and on our class site that it would seem like a logical step for cell phone manufacturers to integrate AR as well as QR sensors into the camera function. As Alexander states, “Mobile devices are crucial to contemporary AR. Smartphones are especially useful, as they combine a camera for capturing input, a screen to display information, and a compass. These devices run software either locally, as apps, or through a browser to Web services. Devices are connected to services through one of several networks, including WiFi, various phone nets, Bluetooth, and GPS for location awareness.” (2011, p. 166) With the increase in smartphones sales and usage AR is surely to become more prevalent in our everyday lives.

For this assignment I used Little Golden Books, Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back. I wanted to accomplish two things: supplement the story with the actual video story for the scene in the book, and give the story of the characters and machines by supplying biography/background information.


Instructions are a aura on the title page (second picture).  The character auras are not activated until after a video finishes playing.  Auras for characters are only present on pages when the character is first introduced.

1Cover   2Title   3   4

 

 

 

 

Numbered explanation of work are for pictures from left to right.

  1. I put a trigger over Yoda but when I tested it a different aura popped up.  Apparently, Disney had created one already for their logo to advertise a event.  So I tried to override it but sometimes my aura popped up and sometimes Disney’s did.  So I admitted defeat and just removed my trigger.  Thought it might be neat for everybody to see a super aura by professionals.
  2. For the title page I put a trigger to launch the title of the movie.  This is the first aura that I wished I had a audio editing program so I could have the Star Wars theme play longer.  Later, I came up with the idea of having the instructions for viewers to pop up.  The dilemma was knowing that Aurasma needed images. My solution was to take a screen shot of my word document after I typed up the instructions.  It works nicely.
  3. This was the only scene in the book that did not have an actual scene in the movie so for a while I couldn’t figure out what to do with the page.  I didn’t want to leave it without any AR so after many days of inputting the videos I realized how I could do the characters; which was my first intent with this project to begin with.
  4. The tricky part with this page was that all the colors are similar.  As a result, Aurasma could not sense the trigger very well. Also, when first using Aurasma I took smaller, focused pictures on a portion of the page because I thought I needed separate triggers.  However, once I became more familiar with Aurasma I realized that one trigger could be used to cascade other actions.  So I took a larger picture for the trigger and problem was solved.

5   6   7   8

  1. Again, I had a problem with too small, specific of pictures to use for triggers.  As it turned out, I ended up filling the page with the videos that I wanted the readers to see so it wasn’t much of an issue.  However, this is also the reason that Obi Wan is the only character in the book that doesn’t have a biography aura.
  2. This was my first trigger/aura to work seamlessly.  No problems to overcome.
  3. This page worked nicely. Only difficulty was editing the video.  It was a little longer than I wanted but it was the only way it could show Luke coming up with the idea and the tripping AT-AT.
  4. At first I only had the snowspeeder as the trigger.  Aurasma did not like that so I increased the trigger image size by taking a picture of the whole page.

9   10   11   12

  1. Using this image as a trigger was tricky at first, I assume because there is so much stuff in a small picture.  I had to play with the placement of my trigger for a while to get it to work.  Leia is the only new character here so she is the only biography aura.
  2. This image gave me some trouble as well when I selected the whole picture as my trigger.  I trimmed the trigger down to exclude Vader and then it worked.  My thought is that Vader does not have much definition from the background to make it a good trigger.
  3. This page was the most trouble of the entire book!  Again, I assume it is due to the vague coloration.  I tried many trigger sizes but it was very hard for Aurasma to pick it up.  Finally I ended up taking a full page picture and made a trigger size of the entire page. I think by using the whole page the contrast of Luke’s arms helped Aurasma to pick up the trigger.  The next problem was finding a quality clip of Luke training.  I tried several different clips but I wasn’t happy with the outcome so I spent more time to find a better quality clip to use.
  4. I thought this page would be tricky but it ended up working great.  Must be the X-Wing gives enough contrast to the forest to make a good trigger.

13   14   15   16

  1. This page took a couple different trials for trigger size and location but ended up working well.
  2. Another case of starting with a image that was too small to use as a good trigger.  Once I took a picture of the whole page it worked great. This page was my first attempt at using trigger images that were close together: tie fighter and star destroyer.  A little resizing and it worked out.
  3. At first, I took photos of the two different illustrations to use as separate triggers which didn’t work very well.  The fix was to use the whole page as the trigger image and then cascade the actions.
  4. No problems on this page.

17   18   19   20

  1. The bounty hunters are the reason for the biographies.  Not many people know the backgrounds of the bounty hunters unless they have read the books, or watched the different shows.  Many of them reoccur throughout the Star Wars history.  It was this history that I wanted readers to experience.  From there, I ended up doing all the characters and machines.
  2. Another case of trying to use two images as triggers that I fixed by using the whole page instead.
  3. Only tricky part with this page was placement of the trigger.  A lot going on so I had to resize and try several locations.
  4. Initially used too small of an image and the colors were hard for Aurasma to detect differences. The fix was to increase the image size.

21   22   23   24

  1. Once again, tricky image because similar colors and a lot going on. I had to play with trigger location and size.
  2. And again.  At first I took a picture in which I zoomed in on just Luke and Vader to use for the trigger.  It didn’t work, so I increased the image size.
  3. I really wanted to include, “Luke, I am your father” but the clip would have been too long.  So I settled for a shorter clip that went with what was being said on the page.
  4. No problems with this page.  At first I only had the clip with Luke being picked up, but later added where he was using the force to call to Leia.  I thought it was important and it went with what was written on the page.

25   26

  1. I had to play with location of trigger a little but that was about it.  Additionally, I wanted to include the trailer for Return of the Jedi but the clip was about two minutes in length so I left it out.
  2. I thought of using the image of each book in the series to trigger a clip but decided not to in the end.

Reflection: When first starting I thought this would be straight forward and easy to tackle.  Once I started I was surprised at how much time it actually took.  It began with the target images.  I was too precise thinking that each aura needed a separate trigger image.  I eventually discovered that only one trigger with applied “actions” was all that was necessary to achieve my goal.  Second task was to find and edit appropriate videos.  Youtube was a good source for this but I then needed to convert it to the MP4 format.  I found the conversion site ClipConverter which not only converted to MP4 but also allowed me to specifically choose the time span of the clips I wanted to convert.  As a bonus, ClipConverter also creates a QR code for the converted clip.  I ended up not using the QR codes.  Once I had the videos I wanted to take it further with the biography/background information for the characters and machines to help the viewers to fill in any gaps in their knowledge for the story.  I was able to do this by using the website http://starwars.wikia.com as a link action for an aura.  I tried to get the aura images to match the trigger image auras to give a seamless experience.  Unfortunately differences in lighting and angles created slight differences.  The last decision I made was whether or not to go full screen with the videos or to leave them “in” the page.  I tried both and surveyed several people.  Most preferred the “in” page feeling so that is what I went with.

This was a fun project.  It is the kind of stuff I enjoy playing with.  I am currently reviewing science textbooks for our district.  I am surprised that none of the publishers have integrated AR into the texts.  It seems like it would be a great supplement to demonstrate biological processes with a video clip triggered by an image.  Maybe I will have to create my own… if I have time!

 

Alexander, B. (2011). The new digital storytelling: Creating narratives with new media. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

Davis, M., Deimler, N., & Oum, K. (n.d.) Digital Storytelling: Augmented Reality. Retrieved from http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~mcd332/Augmented.htm

Aggarwal, V. (n.d.) Augmented Reality-Introduction and it’s Real World Uses. Retrieved from http://www.3pillarglobal.com/insights/augmented-reality-introduction-and-its-real-world-uses

Wookieepedia the Star Wars Wiki. (n.d.) Retrieved March 24, 2016 from the Wookieepedia Wiki: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

Marcelo Zuniga (2015, March 9). Ep V: Empire Strikes Back (clips) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMk0-pZfx5Q&list=PLFDZ8z9dXRGwxOE2HvXeWrANpBbAU97kg

Smith, G. (2015). Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back. New York, NY: Little Golden Books.

 

Cultural Storytelling

Dcefolio

Here is my curation collection via Pearltrees.  Although I checked out Storify, I like the organized look of Pearltrees and the way I could personalize the layout.  It reminds me of a bookshelf, similar to iBooks.  The one thing I did prefer about Storify is how it can form a story with the addition of text.  At the start of this assignment I had no idea what a “curation site” was.  After researching it became clear to me that I had visited many curation sites, I just never knew what they were called.  They were simply links that appeared on the bottom of a webpage I was on with a catchy title like  “Top 20 NHL Trade Rumors”.  I really enjoyed this assignment.  Not only with my research but viewing that of the rest of our cohort.  As we have discussed in our Google+ Community, there were many ways to approach this assignment and  I feel this is another reason it was so enjoyable.  Not only did it give me an opportunity to be creative, I am able to visit the other members’ sites to see what they created.

Elements of Digital Storytelling

“I’m not taking a selfie. I’m telling a story.”

This was the response I was given from one of the volleyball players on the high school team that I coach. This particular young lady always has her phone in hand and is always ready to snap a “duck face.” I was teasing her about all the selfies that I see her taking. The quote above was her response. She continued to inform me that she was using Snapchat to tell a story. Although it is a somewhat simple definition for digital storytelling, I like the definition from Bernard Robin of the University of Houston who defines digital storytelling as “the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories” (2016, What is Digital Storytelling, para 1). With my example above, I would expand the definition to: the use of modern digital devices, especially cell phones, to share our life experiences with others. Today’s technologies make the sharing of photos and videos just a click away thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, texting, and other applications.

My first revelation of this came three years ago when I decided that I wanted to create an album on my computer of all our family photos for safekeeping. First, I had to run hundreds of photos through a scanner to digitize them. It wasn’t until my children were around six years old that digital cameras appeared: four years later, the first iPhone. What I noticed is that I had a whole lot of pictures when the kids were babies, due to new parent enthusiasm. Then for several years we had much less pictures, mainly school pictures, the big events, and holidays. However, when the iPhone appeared we once again returned to an abundance of pictures. The ease of not carrying a large camera had created a freedom and ability to capturing our life events. In fact, this was the reasoning behind my Facebook account. To be able to “share” photos of my local family with the other members of my family that lived out of state without the hassle of getting duplicates made, packing them up and making a trip to the post office.

In the midst of this process it occurred to me how much the digital world has changed how we share our lives with each other. Furthermore, how the recording of human history has changed. Today, historians find it hard to find pictures or photos that captured events being written about. When reading about the Titanic many of the pictures are used in multiple sources. Could you imagine if digital technology existed at that time? How easy would it be to experience the emotions of that journey, from the joys and excitement at castoff to the fear and sadness of the final moments. We can look at 9/11 and Flight 93 for a modern day example. Future historians will have a abundance of resources available to them thanks to Web 2.0 and digital storytelling.

This first assignment, along with the assigned readings, was a trip down memory lane for me. I was in high school when the first computers arrived. I played those first games that consisted of glowing green text describing a room or environment and then asked the reader what they wanted to do. Do I stay and fight the Ogre or do I tuck my tail and run so that I can fight another day? In college I had my state-of-the-art Performa Apple computer and was drawn into the mania that was Myst. Not much different from those early games, Myst used amazing images of fictional worlds, eerie soundtracks, and puzzles to tell the story. As you progressed you learned more and more about the two sons in the tale. My roommates and I spent long hours in front of the computer to find out what happened to the sons.

After experiencing Myst and the game play resulting from the story behind it, I have purchased every model of Playstation console that has been released. Like Myst, I prefer games that continue the immersive stories behind the high end graphics and action. Today, Playstations and Xbox are a social community with support sites, online play, cheat sites and books, and more. For me, these gaming experiences were my first exposures to digital storytelling. Bryan Alexander affirmed my thoughts when he wrote, “All of these components—cut scenes, sound, immersion (spatial and progressive)—will not necessarily constitute a story, although they certainly can enhance one. These elements can contribute to realizing our chapter 1 definition of story, including engaging an audience emotionally, progressing in time, and building a sense of meaning for certain audiences” (Alexander, 2011, p.96). The stories told in the games that I have played have become a part of me. They were instrumental in helping my roommates and me form lifelong bonds and provide me the occasional escape with my children (now in college).

MPW-59625

“Like Soylent Green, much of large-scale gaming is made of people.”                                                                                                   Bryan Alexander (2011, p.114)

So why study digital storytelling as a distinct form? With the ease of use and increasing number of people who have smart phones, tablets, and laptops it appears to be coming the preferred means of experiencing stories. When my kids were in elementary school traditional books were substituted with interactive CDs of popular stories. In addition to books going digital, materials that use to be analog are now available in digital format. Today’s Web 2.0, which we all rely on, “allow multiple channels of communication between site visitors, site creators, and other parties. They are fundamentally designed to encourage such connections through wiki editing, comment threads, media embedding, tagging, Facebook Liking, Digg and Reddit services, and more “ (Alexander, 2011, p. 31). It is this interactivity and community creation that is what sets digital storytelling apart from traditional. Digital storytelling is conveyed through skillful use of media (Alexander, 2011, p. 11). Glen Bull and Sara Kajder point out that digital technologies provide a powerful means for delivering digital stories due to two technical advances. The inclusion of digital video editors with computer operating systems as well as the “ubiquitous” presence of digital cameras and pictures (Bull and Kadjer, 2005-2006).  Additionally social media today allows us to share our digital images via many tools: blogs, web video, computer games, mobile apps, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and more. Of course technologies change. To return to assigned reading and memory lane, I still use Dreamweaver for my high school classes. Do I consider it a form of “digital storytelling”? Maybe at the most basic level. It relays the information I need students to learn to be successful in class. However, the interactivity is absent. Additionally, it was not an easy task to set up, unlike website services offered these days. Why do I continue to use it? It is what I know. As a teacher of nineteen years, I am a storyteller. But I am here to become a “Digital Storyteller”!

 

Alexander, B. (2011). The new digital storytelling: Creating narratives with new media. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

Bull, G. and Kajder, S. (2005-2006) Digital Storytelling in Language Arts. Retrieved from http://www.digitalstoryteller.org/docs/languagearts.htm

MrAske (2007, March 2). realMYST Intro and some gameplay [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Obyfx3gi2aE

Robin, B. (2016) What is Digital Storytelling. Retrieved from http://digitalstorytelling.coe.uh.edu/page.cfm?id=27&cid=27&sublinkid=29

Social Media Week (2015, February 16). How to create a story on Snapchat [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ax7wBE-fEo

Soylent Green Movie Poster [Online image]. (1973) Retrieved from https://www.movieposter.com/poster/MPW-59625/Soylent_Green.html