Here’s my Course 3 video. I didn’t finish it in time for the Course 3 Reflection, but better later than never, right? It was a fairly straightforward process to create it, but for me it looked like:
Brainstorm in my head, come up with initial concept
Outline on notebook paper
Match images to outline
Match music to outline
Write script & record voiceover (2 hours to this point)
Find images and music (4 hours to this point)
Add voiceover to iMovie; then add images and music
Shoot footage; add to iMovie (another 2-3 hours)
Tweak, tweak, tweak (probably 7 hours total from inception to completion)
I didn’t use a storyboard template to sketch out my scenes because I shot little original footage and relied mostly on images from the web. For the footage I did shoot, the purpose was instructional so it wasn’t as important to have creative cinematography.
I made my video using iMovie, still images, and the original footage that I shot on a handheld Panasonic camcorder recording to an SD card. Of the hours and hours that I spent, some of it was in figuring out how to work with clips in iMovie, but more of it was in tweaking the pace of the audio and figuring out when to cue music, video, and images. In other words, my problem was creative and artistic, not technical.
Here’s the video:
And here’s everything that could have been done better:
History is, of course, the story of human civilization. The core skill of explaining change over time – which brings in elements of context, causality, and chronology, whether you’re in AP World, DP History, or regular ole history – requires that you paint a story in broad strokes. The problem that I run into is that we cover so much history in a short time that we can rarely stop and smell the flowers. There are so many powerful stories in history that we don’t need to learn in order to understand the big picture. Digital storytelling could bring these to students’ attention, increase their engagement while harnessing their creative talent, appealing to their individual learning styles, and developing valuable technology and communication skills (The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling).
How would this work? First would be the selection of compelling stories that fit with the content. I’d leave it to the teacher to provide a short menu to the students, with a short (140 character?) teaser for each. For example:
Emperor Romanos IV’s crushing defeat at Manzikert
Genghis Khan’s terrifying response to the insults of the Khwarizmid empire
Emperor Constantine’s stunning revelation at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge
The Fall of Constantinople
The Storming of the Bastille
Collaboration and Sharing
Students could work alone or in pairs (our readings emphasize how digital storytelling can be a very personal affair) to create a digital story about their chosen event, and then present it to the class. We could take this a step further and have students post their projects online, then have other students give feedback and reactions. At my school we use Moodle for our courseware, so I would have students upload their videos to Youtube, embed them in a Moodle forum thread, and have the feedback be given in replies inside that thread. The advantage over using Youtube’s comments is that only registered students in the course would be able to give feedback, and students wouldn’t have to sign up for a Gmail/Youtube account to give feedback.