Digital Storytelling: What it is… And… What it is NOT

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

I was lucky to have shared my childhood bedroom for a few years with my grandmother, when she had come to live with us after an illness. At bedtime, she would tell me stories of her parents and three brothers and growing up in East Prussia, fleeing to the West after WW2 and the things that occupied her mind. I was hooked on storytelling. The fascination grew when technology became available and opened up possibilities that were just not possible before. I would give anything to have been able to record my grandmother’s stories and have shared them with my own children years later.

Humans are natural storytellers. It has been THE FORM of passing on knowledge from generation to generation. Storytelling existed in some shape or form in all civilizations across time. In the 21st century, which we have the luck to live in, Digital Storytelling, has opened up new horizons, inconceivable without the use of technology. Storytelling is evolving, as humans are adapting, experimenting and innovating with the use of ever changing technology, the growth of human networks and our ability to imagine new paths.

Maybe as part of a natural process, we tend to stick first to the familiar and “substitute” our task (see Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model). Substitution is not enough to explore and experience the potential of digital storytelling.

Over the years, I have seen in classrooms and created myself many stories, that are:

  • merely substitutions to what I could/have done/told in analog ways
  • created in isolation, without any connections to a larger concept, idea or community
  • created only to be read by a teacher for a grade, without the possibilities of ever reaching a larger audience for feedback or being able to take its place as a puzzle piece of a larger picture/story

digital-storytelling-is-NOTIt is NOT about the tools… it is about the skills [bctt tweet=”Digital Storytelling is NOT about the Tools, but about the Skills”]
Digital storytelling is not about how to use VoiceThread or iMovie. It is not about the ability to create an MP3 recording and adding it to an XML file, so people can subscribe to our podcast channel. Digital storytelling is about different types of skills we are developing in the process, such as:

  • writing, speaking, communication skills
  • oral fluency
  • information literacy
  • visual literacy
  • media literacy
  • language skills
  • auditory skills
  • drama Skills
  • presentation skills
  • listening skills
  • publishing skills

Examples:

It is NOT about creating media… it is about creating meaning [bctt tweet=”Digital Storytelling is NOT about creating media, but about creating meaning”]
Smartphones and other mobile devices have made the ease of filming, recording or taking images easy, available anytime & anywhere as well as relatively economical compared to earlier times. The amount of media that is being created and uploaded per minute is exponentially growing and mind blowing. Although there is value in contributing your perspective to a larger pool, the emphasis of the stories we share through different media is about creating meaning and about making that meaning visible to others, not about the act of creating the media itself.

Examples:

 

[audio:http://langwitches.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/2nd-Purim.mp3|titles=2nd-Purim]

It is NOT only about telling a story… it is about contributing and collaborating with others [bctt tweet=”Digital Storytelling is NOT only about telling a story, it is about contributing and collaborating with others”]
Digital storytelling is not only about telling the story, but tapping into the potential of being a contributing perspective, example, unique experience to a much larger story. The question grows from “How can I tell my story?” to “How does my story fit in and add value to the stories of others?”. How do we create a much larger story comprised of individual stories?

Example:

    • Sherlock Holmes and the Internet of Things (Thank you to Alan Levine for the project link)
      “Sherlock Holmes & the Internet of Things is an ongoing prototype developed and run by the Columbia University Digital Storytelling Lab that explores new forms and functions of story. Designed to be an open R&D space that experiments with shifts in authorship and ownership of stories, the massive collaboration also uses a detective narrative to examine the policy and ethical issues surrounding the Internet of Things. The goal of Sherlock Holmes & the Internet of Things is to build a massive connected crime scene consisting of smart storytelling objects.”
    • Twitter Storytelling
      Learning how to create “Snippet Stories”,use simultaneous narrators and fractured storyline, co-telling by using #hashtags, sharing with your network and adding value to other people’s learning
      Ron_Gould_on_Twitter____Time_travel_works___the_note_read___However_you_can_only_travel_to_the_past_and_one-way___I_recognized_my_own_handwriting_and_felt_a_chill__
    • Collaborative Storybook: Florida Explorers

It is NOT about telling an isolated story… it is about sharing and connecting experiences and perspectives to a community [bctt tweet=”Digital Storytelling is NOT about telling an isolated story… it is about sharing & connecting experiences & perspectives to a community”]
It is a powerful realization that we all have something valuable to share with others. Digital storytelling takes that isolated story, living in our thoughts, potentially shared with people we know or meet face to face and connects it with a much larger community.

Examples:

  • 7Billion Others
    In 2003, after The Earth seen from the Sky, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, with Sybille d’Orgeval and Baptiste Rouget-Luchaire, launched the 7 billion Others project. 6,000 interviews were filmed in 84 countries by about twenty directors who went in search of the Others. From a Brazilian fisherman to a Chinese shopkeeper, from a German performer to an Afghan farmer, all answered the same questions about their fears, dreams, ordeals, hopes: What have you learnt from your parents? What do you want to pass on to your children? What difficult circumstances have you been through? What does love mean to you?
  • Looking For Stories (Thank you to Alan Levine for the project link)
    “Looking for Stories” is an online documentary web serie where Joan Planas (filmmaker) document stories from people and places around the world using video, photography and articles. We don’t judge the stories. We show them respectfully just as they are, trying to gain a better understanding of the world we live in.
  • Extend Learning

[bctt tweet=”Digital Storytelling is NOT only about the transfer of knowledge… it is about the amplification of our voices”]
While the transfer of knowledge has always been a primary reason for storytelling, the importance of the amplification, the reach of our voices is what makes digital storytelling transformational
Through social media, our potential connections, collaboration and dissemination paths can reach exponential levels. The reach of our voices is about the amount of people our stories are capable of touching. We have moved from an audience of one or a few in a face to face environment to a global audience through synchronous and asynchronous tools.
Even young children (with the help of parents or teachers) can find their voice and be heard! Traditional limitations of age, physical handicaps, financial limitations preventing traveling or a lack of social network connections in the physical world, don’t have to limit someone’s voice any longer.

Examples:

  • Kristallnacht- Night of the Broken Glass: By taking a story written down by my grandfather:
    • translating it into English
    • adding a visual dimension with images
    • an auditory layer by adding my voice and music
    • publishing it to a digital platform and
    • strategically sharing it publicly, I was able to amplify my grandfather’s story/experience and voice past his lifetime.

 

It is NOT about substituting analog stories… it is about transforming stories [bctt tweet=”#DigitalStorytelling is NOT about substituting analog stories… it is about transforming stories “]
Taking an analog story, which is written in text form on a physical piece of paper, told with printed visual material or with a voice to someone sitting in the same room as the storyteller and digitizing it with the help of tech tools does not take advantage of the full potential of digital storytelling. If we are truly looking to transform what stories are and can be in the digital world, we need to look beyond recording a story from a piece of paper or animating our photos from a field trip into a music video. We could dip into the world of transmedia storytelling and look how audience participation, seamless movement between different media can propel a story forward, engage the audience on multiple layers and change the storytelling process altogether.

Examples:

  • Inanimate Alice (Transmedia Storytelling)
    Inanimate Alice is an interactive multimodal fiction, a born-digital novel relating the experiences of Alice and her imaginary digital friend, Brad. The series is written and directed by Kate Pullinger and developed by digital artists Chris Joseph and Andrew Campbell from an original idea by series producer Ian Harper. Episode 1 was released in late 2005. There have been five consecutive episodes created to date with a sixth in production, from a planned story arc embracing a total of 10 episodes spanning Alice’s life from age 8 through to her mid-twenties. The viewer experiences a combination of text, sound and imagery and interacts with the story at key points.

Digital storytelling is NOT just a story told/created/published on a digital platform. What are your experiences and examples in creating new forms of storytelling with digital tools?

Celebrity in the Mix #BookItForward

Original posting at Learning Personalized:

 

We are so excited to share our guest blogger this week:

Mrs. P from Mrs. P’s Magic Library!

Mrs. P Bookitforward-1

Her favorite book is Wanda’s Wart – written and illustrated by Robin Robinson http://www.robinillustration.com/books/

Wanda’s Wart is an all-ages indie picture book about the importance of friendship, honesty—and not being afraid to stand out for what makes you an individual.  This story may be a tool for dealing with certain kinds of bullying, and for kids who run the risk of suppressing their interests and talents just to fit in.  I love the message that we could all be a little more fearless about being ourselves, warts and all.  You can enjoy a reading of this story at my free website too.

 Thank you so much, Mrs. P, for sharing your favorite book and helping us to #BookItForward! If you’d like to see and hear much more from Mrs. P, be sure to visit her Magic Library where you can hear stories, play games, and do lots of fun activities!

 Now it’s your turn!

 What is your recommendation?

#BookItForward encourages people to share a book they love with a person they love. It can be a new book, a used book, or a recommendation for a library book!

Here’s how:

  1. CHOOSE a great book.
  2. GIVE it or recommend it to someone who would enjoy it.
  3. POST a photo of the book tagged with #BookItForward on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
  4. TAG three people in the post to nominate them to #BookItForward next!

Global Project: Visualize Poetry Around the World

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

Cross posted to Langwitches Blog

visualize poetry around the world

Description of Project:

Based on Taylor Mali’s visit to The American School of Sao Paulo, Meryl Zeidenberg and I were inspired to amplify students’ poetry writing by adding a visual and audio layer as well as connect them globally to other students’ poems.

We are launching the Visualize Poetry Around The World project and are looking forward to connecting teachers and students, bringing global awareness and encouraging them to look beyond their own backyard and their own perspective.

global-awarenessObjective:

  • Encourage students’ global awareness and their ability to share their traditions and experiences based on their cultural heritage or geographic locations
  • Support Third Culture Kids and expats to express their unique experiences through poetry and make the advantages and challenges of International living accessible to geographically rooted children and vice-versa

TCKs.jpg

rooted.jpg

Process:

  1. Become a member of the project by joining the wiki. Questions? Contact me
  2. Become familiar with or already have familiarity with Taylor Mali’s lessons/poems/workshops.
  3. Become familiar with project objectives, expectations, timeline & mini-lessons
  4. Complete task

[ There is no specific beginning or ending date for this project. Each teacher contributes his/her students video poems on their own time to the wiki platform. All we ask is that part of the commitment is to share, connect and give quality feedback to other students’ contributions ]

Task Breakdown:

  1. create poem
  2. find/create images & record voice
  3. publish on project wiki
  4. connect and give feedback

Expectations:

  • expect quality student work using poetic devices
  • students create poem based on one or more of the provided prompts
  • students visualize poem with quality images and overlaying poem text with author’s voice
  • strict observance of copyright conventions and citations.
  • contribution of final student work to collaborative platform
  • participate in feedback of student work.

Time Commitment:

  • up to 80 minutes- write poem
  • 80 minute class: Students present their poems to class (teacher and peer feedback). Students re-edit after feedback.
  • up to 2 -80 minutes class periods digital production

Third Culture Kid Poem Example

TCKs.jpg

I am from…

I am from Germany, Argentina, USA and Brazil

I am from Germany. From the warm Bretzel with melted butter and the sound my shoes make when going for a walk in the dense forest.

I am from Argentina. From the crowds on Florida and Lavalle and the smell of a Bife de Chorizo at a friend’s asado. I am from the smell of Jasmine as I step off the colectivo on a warm Spring day in early December.

I am from the United States. From the smell of salty and buttery popcorn at the movie theaters. The wide streets and gigantic parking lots that fill up to capacity after Thanksgiving.

I am from Brazil. From the language that is almost understandable, but different as if listening under water or with glasses of the wrong prescription strength. I am from feeling almost close, but through the fog so far away.

I am also from lighting Hanukkah candles as I am smelling Christmas in the air and buying Charlie Brown Christmas trees on the 24th day of December.

I speak German, Spanish and English. Ich bin from Argentina y el vos. I am from speaking in all the 3 languages in one sentence without having to be held hostage by staying in one alone.

I am from leaving on a gray, cold and rainy day in October in autumn. Racing along the runway, up up into the sky towards spring air and towards a country far away and forever closer to me.

I am from arriving after a 24 hour journey to a tiny village, at the foot of the Katzenbuckel- The Cat’s Arched Back” where my grandmother anxiously awaits at the door, welcoming the return of the world travelers.

I am from changes, the differences, the friends made along the way. I am from the opportunities to see wonders of the world, tasting, smelling different ways of life. I am from the different faces of the world and history.

I am neither from here nor there or even there. I am destined to be torn forever between Fernweh and Heimweh, from always being far from.

Geographically Rooted Poem Sample

rooted.jpg

I am from the United States – New Haven, CT- where the imposing, old, stone, university architecture validated my fairy tale-laden child mind.

I am from the warm, loving scent of Aunt Martha’s cookies baking in the flat below.

I am from the one mile, all weather walk, to and from elementary school, where urban flora stubbornly persisted through sidewalk cracks.

I am from the grassy field of the local schoolyards where the kids from my street gathered and grew up, after school, until the street lights flicked on.

I am from the marvel and curiosity of tales from the old country spun out in a mixture of Yiddish and English around my grandmother’s kitchen table with the men drinking schnapps, the women tea.

I am from learning French because it is a “romance” language.

I am from learning Portuguese because of a Brazilian romance.

I am from the security of knowing my way around and where everything is.

I am from the frustration of not knowing the the colors, smells and sounds of everywhere else except from books and movies.

Ready to participate? Head over to the project wiki to sign up.

Designing New Literacies

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

designing-new-literacies-tolisanoIn Mike FIsher and my keynote/workshop last week at the Wildly Excited Conference at the Grand Rapids State University in Michigan, I shared the following blended sketchnote (blended= self-drawn doodles/sketches combined with a photograph). Participants were asked to take a look at the image and use the Visible Thinking Routine I see, I think, I wonder from Project Zero. They shared their thinking in a backchannel in a Today’s Meet room.

Before looking at my image annotations and reading the examples/ excerpt of the backchannel below with teachers’ responses, consider going through the exercise yourself. Take a few minutes to intensely look at the image above and follow the thinking routine: I see…, I think…, I wonder… Share your responses in the comment section below, adding your thoughts…sharing and making your thinking visible to others.

annotated-sketchnote

How could you use these techniques shown or demonstrated in your own classroom?

  • sketchnoting
  • visual prompts
  • I see, I think, I wonder routine
  • Backchanneling
  • annotated sketchnoting (or other visuals?)

Teacher Visible Thinking Routine responses

  • One of the difficulties of education our students learn differently than we do,
  • I see an interest in connecting internationally.
  • I wonder what amazing things could happen in classrooms if we all started being more techie and digital in our classrooms?
  • I think it is about the new age of learners
  • I see people handing boxes up to a person standing on them. To me this means building a learning network.
  • I think this is where the digital learning age is headed. I wonder if I’m ready for it
  • Artwork: its Silva. Her family, life. Moving, lectures, author, etc.
  • Are books of no value anymore?
  • how do I use this when I can only get computers once every two weeks
  • Fast paced graphic learning like they are used to. Keep things moving!
  • I think today’s kids brains are wired differently than most teachers over the age of 30.
  • The drawing is busy a lot going on and represents changes in technology and many options of technology
  • I see various ways of gaining/sharing knowledge. I think it represents the current work. I wonder how available for kids in poverty.
  • I think my processing speed needs to incease!
  • I see what students are bombarded with on a daily basis
  • I know this is a worldwide reality and it is exciting, but no wonder our kids are ADHD.
  • I see lots of possibilities!!!!
  • collaboration
  • We need to change our way of teaching. We need to teach more about accessing information.
  • I wonder: when do we allow our brains to have a break from all of those distractions
  • I think this is an accurate picture of our society today- lots of different ways to interact and connect with a variety of people
  • students now have the ability to visit other places and interact with others virtually, without leaving their bedroom or the classroom
  • Global learning and global appreciation is more easily obtainable.
  • Students can use various ways to present their thoughts.
  • We can connect with everyone across the world. We no longer need to be in our own classroom.
  • new literacies: apps, threads, global literacy, digital collaboration, graphics, imagery and film, multiple languages, software and programs
  • I see a variety of media.
  • I see the ink connecting with classes across the district or within our building could be a small start
  • A bunch of disconnected images
  • The power of learning in different ways.
  • Having the luxury of so many ways/strategies to help students in their learning. Looking at learning as evolving.
  • Open a book to learn new things!
  • I wonder how I can use these strategies with classroom with young ones who have special needs.
  • I see a selfie being taken.
  • There are a variety of items that are connected, but if I don’t have a way to connect them they float out in space.
  • I see connections between teacher facilitation and individual work.
  • #world wild learning!
  • when I look at the movie projector I think that many young kids don’t even know what it is!
  • Holy overwhelmed Batman…
  • The tough part is when the students start text talking. I see that a lot in our chats in the online classroom.
  • So many ways available for us to teach and learn.
  • I see flags and think I know those countries and I wonder why are those there, is that where she has been?
  • It’s like going on vacation to other places without leaving your room.
  • Global learning can take place when using technology and connects students with much more information than ever before!
  • Students have so much in their minds!
  • Constant scrolling messages distract ability to sort out my own thoughts!
  • Globalization–speaking multiple languages is important to connect–by plane and/or virtually!
  • Students are learning so much each day through so many mediums. How do we help them prioritize so it changes them?
  • Students learning in the classroom is constantly changing to the digital world.
  • Represents the many ways people are connected.
  • I don’t get the rain clouds in the middle
  • Students can communicate all around the world
  • I see what someone brings to the classroom
  • I see a lot of experiences. I think this looks like a great way to describes oneself through visuals. I wonder who drew this
  • Connecting the world through digital learning and accessing new ideas. A bit overwhelming
  • I think technology can pave a path toward global awareness.
  • Learning is global and there are infinite ways to share
  • I think the drawing is overwhelming
  • It’s the brain of most of our students
  • That image looks like the information overload that most of our kids are living with on a daily basis. 😉
  • Many options!
  • Reminds me of the book the Lexus and the olive tree
  • It helps us link or connect our learning to others
  • This is a lot to take in, but this is the way our kids learn now. Very different from what I am use to
  • Great for discussion! Visuals can say so much
  • I think: multitasking and information overload
  • I see literacy becoming more technology based and global. I wonder how it will impact students’ ability to communicate in person.
  • I see learning 2.0
  • Our small learning community is focusing on global cultural and we could reach out to other countries
  • I see interaction in person and remotely
  • Linking ideas together globally
  • There r endless ways to teach and communicate w students
  • The image seems busy to my list-making mind. I’d love the pictures to be in a row.
  • I Think about educational chances
  • to me it represents learning and the different possible ways to learn
  • This picture reminds me of my brain right now! And many of my students!
  • I see interesting artwork that is very symbolic
  • Links to what is already known in the students’ lives, multiple ways of learning and multiple ways of achieving literacy.
  • I see students connected to the whole world. I think I want to do this! I wonder how I can adapt it for my third graders.
  • World traveler who is equipped with technology, family and friends
  • I think this represents our ability to gather knowledge from all over the world using technology
  • Helps all types of learners
  • I see the ways the world is connected
  • Sensory/information overload
  • the power of tapping expertise worldwide
  • Connecting multiculturally.
  • merging the old with the new in innovative ways
  • Digital media brings it all together
  • Very global…learning around the world
  • I see lots of ways to communicate

Against Technology (the word)

by Heidi Hayes Jacobs

Heidi-3-c-croppedUbiquitous in every sphere of education; the word “technology” is splattered loosely. No subliminal messaging here, the term is to mean that schools with wifi, tablets, one to one laptop programs, and smart boards are preparing students for the future. Simply having a computer doesn’t mean that the curriculum and instruction are contemporary and relevant. Students can be using the internet to research irrelevant and dated content. A word processor does not ensure quality writing competence. When a group of middle school students runs around campus with flip cameras, it is unlikely they will produce a first rate documentary. Perhaps there is some kind of magical thinking, that digital tools will prompt innovative outcomes.I share this concern as a firmly committed advocate for the modernization of learning opportunities.

laptopsMost telling is our current obsession with dated assessment forms. Teachers are not encouraged to innovate when their institutions are pushing time traveling to the past. Although mission statements are packed with phrases like “tomorrow’s school” and “careers of the future” and “global preparedness”, the truth is that all fifty states in my country value assessments that are basically identical in format to those used thirty years ago.Multiple choice, short answer essay prompts to de-contextualized paragraphs are the raison de vivre. Some national publishers are creating on-line testing, but the items are still the same type as those used when standardized testing first was developed. Certainly our learners need ACCESS to the global portals and dynamic applications available through digital media in order to become literate and connected, but access is insufficient.

We should pay attention to school faculties, leaders, and individual teachers who are actively and boldly upgrading curriculum content to reflect timely issues and problems and crafting modern assessments such as digital-media-global project based learning opportunities. Website curation, app design, global network research, and video/audio production are indicative of modern learning environments not only for students but for their teachers as well. What might happen if in our discourse we replace the loose use of the word technology with the phrase contemporary learning environments?

Cross-Posted to ASCD edge.

Telling a Story with Data

Cross posted to Langwitches Blog by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

 

6th graders, under the facilitation of their Math teacher, Laurel Janewicz, have learned to take data, analyze the data and tell a story with it. They are demonstrating their understanding of Math concepts, data graphs, misleading graphs and communication skills.

Laurel chose to give authentic, relevant and meaningful data (not invented data) to her students to analyze from the results of a Challenge Success survey taken the previous school year at the school. The survey compiled data about the school’s extra curricular activities, homework habits, parent involvement, student engagement, sleep patterns etc.

Graded-Homework

Laurel’s plan was to have students analyze the data and then create different types of graphs to be able to communicate their findings in a presentation. Students were to tell a story of the data. The rubric below showed students Laurel’s expectations in terms of content, communication/presentation and a blog post.

Laurel also made connections to standards clear:

The bottom of my rubric has the content standards for statistics and data, but Common Core also has 8 Mathematical Process standards and this project hits on a lot of them:
3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
Make conjectures, justify conclusions, communicate them to others
4. Model with mathematics
Identify important quantities in a practical situation and map their relationships using diagrams, graphs,etc.
Analyze those relationships mathematically to draw conclusions
5. Use appropriate tools strategically
Be sufficiently familiar with tools appropriate to make sound decisions about whether these tools might be helpful, recognizing both the insight to be gained and their limitations.
Identify relevant external mathematical resources, such as digital content on a website, and use them to pose or solve problems.
Use technological tools to explore and deepen understanding of concepts.

math-rubric-challenge-sucess-janewicz

Laurel, in her own words, lists some of the observations and comparison from teaching the same unit in previous years.

What is different this year?
I used real data that is relevant to them because I created a survey which they responded to and shared the results with the students and assigned each student a question/results to analyze.
I pulled all the parts of this unit into one project. Instead of making and analyzing graphs for one set of data (real or fake), finding and analyzing measures of central tendency for another (real or fake), creating and analyzing misleading graphs for another (real or fake), they do all of it for one real, relevant set of data.
I added the element of making the data tell a story- using it to communicate or persuade. Data and a narrative go best together.
I incorporated use of technology so they could share this on their blog not just with their classmates and the Graded community, but with a global community.
I dedicated a lot of class time for working on this and shared student work along the way so students could see exemplars and offer and receive feedback.
I designed specific questions for students to offer feedback on the projects on the blog posts.

graphing graphing2 graphing3 graphing4 graphing5

From the perspective of modern skills and literacies upgrades:

Good teaching is good teaching. Adding technology to bad teaching still will not increase student learning. Adding technology to good teaching can add new layers and open up new dimensions of connections and learning. Laurel’s lesson on data analysis and graphing (including misleading graphs) was well planned, developed and executed to begin with. The lesson could have stood on its own and would have addressed the Math standards.

By tweaking the lesson, as Laurel described above, so many more instructional methods, skills, literacies and standards were addressed:

  • making thinking visible
  • being able to visually tell a story with data
  • communicating that story via an electronic media for a larger audience (potential global connections)
  • communicating math concepts
  • going through creation cycle: data analysis, creation, sharing, publishing, feedback, revision
  • differentiated
  • personalized
  • student choice
  • media literacy: choose appropriate media, possibly “media/app smashing”, by mixing several tools/media to create one project
  • network literacy: writing for an audience, receiving feedback, responding to feedback
  • information literacy: analyzing data, recognizing misleading data, visualizing data, interpreting data from multiple perspectives
  • digital citizenship: be aware of copyright of digital images (Creative Commons, proper citation)

Natasha, one of the sixth grade students summed up her experience in her blog post:

In math, we have been working on a project with data from the responses we got from the Challenge Success Survey. I thought that this project was extremely interesting because we got to incorporate our knowledge of most of the things we had learned about in that math unit. I really liked taking on my project from a different perspective. I also got to experiment with different websites that were really cool. I got to learn all about misleading graphs, graphs and so many other things that I hope you find as cool as I did.

Student examples (created in Wideo, Google Presentation, PowToon, Piktochart, Prezi) of presentations:

How Much Time are Graded 6th Graders Spending on Homework? by Maya W.

Come to Graded by Jack

Is it Fake or just Misleading? By Yael

Let’s Get into This by Rens

You Can Never Get Too Deep When it Comes to Data! by Tashi

Homework? Time? What’s Going on? by Laura

Do you do as much Homework as I do? by Alyssa

The Challenge is Complete by Felipe

math-felipe-infographic math-felipe-infographic2 math-felipe-infographic3

 

Interested how this story continued to unfold? Watch for an upcoming blog post of Blogging in Math class, with student samples and model lesson video of Laurel introducing her expectations for quality blog commenting in Math.

iPhoneography: Photo Challenges, Ideas & Literacy

cross posted from Langwitches Blog by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

I have been facilitating an iPhoneography activity for our Middle Schoolers over the past two quarters.

iphoneography

iPhoneography is defined by Wikipedia as:

iPhoneography is the art of creating photos with an Apple iPhone.This is a style of mobile photography that differs from all other forms of digital photography in that images are both shot and processed on the iOS device. It does not matter whether a photo is edited using different graphics applications or not

The class was 40 minutes long, which I divided into the following workflow:

  1. 10 minutes of challenge explanation
  2. 20 minutes of “in the field” photography
  3. 10 minutes of photoapping and sharing of final images

We worked on:

  • basic photography tips, such as contrast, brightness, depth of field and saturation
  • photoapping (sending one image through several apps to achieve a desired result)
  • storytelling
  • communicating via images

In addition, the class discussion, activities and reflections  lend themselves to:

  • copyright (digital citizenship)
  • photo etiquette (digital citizenship)
  • (exponential) producer-culture (media & information literacy)
  • editing of media (media & information literacy)
  • visual storytelling (media literacy)
  • instant sharing (network literacy, digital citizenship)
  • photoapping (tech fluency)

I built the class around photo challenges (There are many, many photo challenge suggestions shared online… just google them. I also use an app iPhotography Assignment Generator) :

  • Feet
  • Selfies
  • Something green
  • Depth of Field
  • Clouds
  • Forced Perspective
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Reflection
  • Black and White
  • Angle & Perspective
  • Cartoons

What’s next?

selfies-activity

During the last nine weeks of the school year, I will be offering another activity for Middle School students. We will focus our efforts on the infamous Cultural Phenomena of the Selfie. We would love to make contact with classes from around the world to exchange selfies in order to look for cultural trends, best photography tips and overall give our students an opportunity to redefine the concept beauty.

Interested to connect and collaborate with my students about Selfies? Interested in “just” contributing selfies? Get in contact with me via Twitter (@langwitches) or via this blog.

Take a look at some of the challenges I shared with students and examples below. (Thank you  and credits to all the photographers from iPhoneography! Ana Luiza, Ale, Laura, Vicki, Anna, Fiona, Hannah, Ian, Patricio, Lara, Ida, Giovanna, Ana Clara, Manuela, Gabriela, Belen, Laura, Lauren, Isabel, Martina, Luiza)

Look on down…Feet, Feet and More Feet

Let’s take a look at our feet today.

feet

Why feet you might ask? …Why not?
Sometimes it is not “just” about the object in your photograph, but about the STORY behind it.

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It is about the story “your feet” tell.
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I wanted to share with you the following blog, with a truly inspirational post about : Why Take Self- Portraits of your Feet?
Your mission today is to tell a story with a picture of (your) feet.
Colors… Colors… Colors… Our world is colorful. Photography allows us to focus in on one element of our world and bring it to the foreground to enjoy without distractions. A photographer leads the eyes of the viewer to something that otherwise he/she might not have noticed.Let’s focus on the color green.
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There are entire Pinterest Boards dedicated to the color green.

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You have all seen these photos. Only part of the photograph is in focus, the rest seems blurry and further away. That is called in photography terms “Depth of Field”.
“Depth of Field is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image.” (Wikipedia)
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Let’s work on photoapping today.
use any app you would like or try out this new (free) one Pixlr Express+
After you sent your photo through one, two or three apps, use a Pic Collage app (like PicStitch) to show BOTH pictures and email them to me to upload and showcase them on our Pinterest Board
Let’s look up today! Up, up, up to the clouds. It is ok if we have beautiful blue skies in São Paulo… make it your challenge of the week to take a photo of interesting clouds, photoapp it and send it to me via email to be included on our Pinterest Board.
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Ever heard of “forced perspective”?Definition according to Wikipedia:

Forced perspective is a technique that employs optical illusion to make an object appear farther away, closer, larger or smaller than it actually is. It is used primarily in photography, filmmaking and architecture. It manipulates human visual perception through the use of scaled objects and the correlation between them and the vantage point of the spectator or camera

Let’s look at lots of examples

perspective

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Today you will complete a Scavenger Hunt!
You will roam campus to take one image for each one of the assignments to complete the hunt.

  • Once you have images for all assignments, import to PicCollage app and label the image with the title of the assignment.
  • E-mail me the final image from PicCollage.
  • The time stamp of the email will confirm the winning photographer.

Photograph the following assignments (Total of 7 images):

  1. cold
  2. funny
  3. brave
  4. light
  5. fuzzy
  6. jumps
  7. separated

scavenger

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It is the photographer’s job to show something that others do not see in their photograph.
Today’s challenge is to capture a reflection.It can be an intentional reflection or a reflection that normally we would run by and might see it.
Let’s see how creative you will be.
reflection-ian
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“Selfie” was voted Oxford’s Dictionaries word of the year in 2013.

“a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”

What types of selfies are out there?

  • outstretched arm
  • duckface
  • mirror
  • “tongue”
  • smile/pout
  • tilted head
  • peace sign
  • sign language for “I love you”
  • rapper fingers
  • eyes squinting
  • winking
  • funny face
  • shadow
selfie
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Definition of a Silhouette by Wikipedia

 A silhouette is the image of a person, an object or scene represented as a solid shape of a single color, usually black, its edges matching the outline of the subject.

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Perspective Challenge

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Sometimes ordinary photos can be transformed (edited) with just a few adjustments. Check if your favorite photoediting app has adjustments for

  • Contrast
  • Saturation
  • Brightness

Suggested Apps:

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First Experiences with Google Glass at School

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

Cross posted to Langwitches Blog

selfie

In December, I received a Google Invite to become a Google Glass Explorer. I was not given much time to accept the hefty price tag or let the Google invite expire. In the name of education and my passion for thinking and exploring new ways to transform teaching and learning, I accepted…. (still not sure how I feel about …)

On Monday, I took my Google Glass for the first time to school. We had a pre-service workshop planned (we just returned to school after the summer break here in the Southern Hemisphere) and I wanted to test if I could use the device to document the workshop to

  • capture moments of discussion
  • record what the presenters shared
  • share what participants contributed to the conversation

Google Glass- Reflection Workshop from langwitches on Vimeo.

Here are a few thoughts after the first week:

  • I am overwhelmed ( …too much stimuli)
  • Not as intuitive as I thought it would be…  (I feel like a student driver having to pause, before I step on the clutch>shift into gear>push the gas pedal> slowly let go of the clutch… while at the same time look in all the mirrors and forward to steer where I need to go)
  • My fluency is missing. (…yes… that one… the one that I am so used to having with my smartphone, iPad and laptop…so used to it in fact that I usually don’t think about it anymore… I feel illiterate…)
  • Tickling behind the ear from speaker that vibrates the bone behind my ear… (…It is a weird feeling…)
  • battery life…(…used to battery lasting all day+ with my other devices…) need to build in breaks during the day to recharge..
  • Unit gets hot when using too much (especially recording video and googling)
  • Long, curly and unruly hair that constantly tangles in front of the camera is a problem in terms of recording,  tapping and swiping. (… not cutting my hair or wearing a pony tail is not an option…)
  • I was not prepared for the attention and the varied reactions the device evoked in people. (… I am admitting that the varied emotions from colleagues and students have hit me almost like a brick… from super excited to curious, not interested to (not openly) negative and almost hostile emotions. Again, NOT all of the reactions were verbal or bodily clues, but more (strong) waves of emotions directed in my direction… Never quite experienced or was aware of something similar…
  • Feeling on the spot when recording… self conscious… what do I say? How does my voice sound?
  • I am definitely in the Substitution stage, when looking at using Google Glass through the lens of the SAMR model.

Many colleagues wanted to see what I was seeing and were eager to try the Google Glass on. The easiest instruction, I was able to give, as I could not see what they were seeing on the screen was:

  • When you see the time… say “OK Glass”, then “take a picture”.
  • Swipe down… then tap on Glass again and swipe forward to see the last images taken.

So far, I was not able to screencast from Google Glass to my iPhone via wifi (it continuous to show me the black screen with the instructions, even though glass and iPhone are on the same network. It is simply too much multitasking to handle Glass, turn off wifi, then turn on bluetooth, then connect iPhone and Glass to be able to demonstrate screencast on the spot…)

It was interesting (also for me) to later see the images the testers had taken..

tall-perspective

(tall perspective… this is how I look to a tall person…I was not aware that the ceiling could look so threatening… 🙂

guest-shot

(test shot from someone that is more of my height)

Google Glass test

Curious colleagues having a go at wearing Google Glass.

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Here is a selfie to show how I am managing using my reading glasses at the same time as Google Glass. Not the best solution, but it seems to work for now….

first-looks

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Students were lining up after class asking to wear Google Glass in order to give it a try. Most of them had heard of Google Glass. It spread like wild fire throughout our Middle School.  There were a lot of  “cool” and “wow”. It wasn’t long before Paparazzi also arrived wanting to take a picture of Google Glass as evidence of having seen one.

Do you remember the first email you sent? The first email you received? Remember having to dial in to check your email and not being able to use the phone line while you were online?

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Above is a vignette image taken with Google Glass. I was sitting with a new students, helping  set up her school laptop. I received a vibration sound behind my ear and looked up from the computer screen at the Glass screen to see that my mother had emailed me an article from the La Nación (Argentinean Newspaper) about how wearing Google Glass could get me into legal problems. The irony of the moment was not lost on me. 🙂

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I am not the only explorer at our school. A High School student, Bruno, is also a committed user. I felt a sort of camaraderie, as both of us are on the forefront by experimenting and walking a fine line.  What is acceptable in a school environment regarding wearable technology and what is not? Bruno has been wearing Glass routinely during the day, showing a much higher fluency and adaptation. He inspired me to make sure that I was only going to find out how Glass was going to transform my work, if I wore it consistently. It reminded me of ” The best camera you will ever have, is the one that you have with you” that pushed my iPhone into the number one position to be followed by my SLR camera.

While my focus of using Google Glass to “explore new worlds” in terms of teaching and learning, Bruno is focused of finding innovative ways to transform and “make his life easier”.  His point of view is that of an app developer.

Just as I experienced a myriad of reactions when wearing Glass, a student wearing Google Glass, a technology that all of us (administrators, teachers and peers) are not familiar with, inevitably will bring up anxieties, disruption and fear.

Bruno is dealing with setting the example at our school. What will this mean when more and more students start having these powerful devices and will  that mean in terms of teacher/student relationship, student learning, curriculum, assessment practices, what do we consider cheating, how do we deal with multitasking, distractions, inappropriate use of the technology, etc.?

I believe Bruno is aware that he is setting the example and is taking on the responsibility.  Our school administrators and teachers are recognizing the need to start the conversation now! WHAT DOES THIS TECHNOLOGY MEAN IN OUR EDUCATIONAL SPACES? They are also recognizing that Bruno is an integral part of that conversation to craft a policy that does not BAN and BLOCK, but encourages exploration and innovation.

I am looking forward to being part of that conversation…

School policy regarding wearable technology were not the only discussion that were sparked by the simple appearance of Google Glass on campus. I have had super interesting conversation about

  • the meaning of wearable technology and what does that mean for our future?
  • we wondered if in 10 years, we will laugh about how “silly” we/I looked with such a “big” device on our/my head (same type of feeling when we think of the size of our first cell phones or the big air conditioned rooms that held a computer…)
  • Image in Public Domain

    Image in Public Domain

  • Freely giving away our private data (GPS location? What do we see at the moment? What words are we googling? etc.) I am not saying that we are not already doing this with other devices, but wearable devices have the purpose of making it even more “natural” and instantaneous to do all these tasks and transmitting and sending them. (… I have to admit I am increasingly more uncomfortable when Google ( or other companies), by default, takes the choice of NOT wanting to share or collect data away from me…
  • What about Google Glass etiquette? When is it appropriate? When is it inappropriate? What about in an educational environment? What about in public spaces? (… I am very conscious of etiquette… I know I am walking a fine line as soon as I wear Google Glass… I want to be able to gain the trust of colleagues and students… that I will not take images nor film without making sure that they are aware of the device being on and a “no questions asked” policy if someone feels uncomfortable…)
  • How can we use such a “disruptive” device to transform (re-define) what we teach and learn?

I was able to take Google glass into a Science classroom (with permission from the teacher ,of course) and take photos and videos of the students conducting a lab. Google Glass is such a novelty though that students were interested in Glass rather than their lab… most of them begging to wear them…I was very conscious of NOT wanting to disrupt the class (…. will need to make sure that students have a chance to look at them, ask questions and wear them… before I go into the next classroom)

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Google Glass- Science from langwitches on Vimeo.

I also wanted to test out wearing Google Glass while driving… yes,  I can hear all of you yelling at me from afar. I literally have a 2 minute drive to school… I left a little extra early for even less traffic… and as you will be able to tell from the video, I am a VERY safe driver… looking several times right/left/right/left and one more time, before turning at an intersection…

Google Glass- Way to Work from langwitches on Vimeo.

No! You Can’t Just Take It!

Cross posted to Langwitches Blog.

No! You can’t just take it!

No! You can’t take it, because you found it on Google!

No! You can’t just right click>save>use, just because you can!

No! You can’t just pretend that you created it!

No! You can’t make money off my work that I shared FREELY under certain conditions!

No! You can’t just take it…even in the name of education!

No! You can’t just take it… even if AND ESPECIALLY BECAUSE you are a teacher!

No-you-can-not-just-take-it

By “it”, I mean my work, which includes images, visuals, infographics, infoflyers, blog posts, how to guides, text, jpgs, videos, pdfs, etc.  Just because I love my work, spend HOURS writing, designing and creating does not mean I want someone else to take credit for it. Just because I share my work for free online DOES NOT mean that I give away ALL my rights. I have chose a special kind of copyright license to encourage others to (hopefully) learn from my work.

My work is licensed under Creative Commons license.
Creative Commons License
On every page on Langwitches (in the footer), you will see the above icon stating

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

This means, I support collaboration, remixing, building upon and sharing my work AS LONG AS the following restrictions

  • ATTRIBUTION
    give attribution to me as the original creator (and if I used and credited other work licensed under CC, please give these creators credit to)
  • NON-COMMERCIAL
    do not use my work in any shape or form to make money, include in a website, book or other form where you receive monetary contributions/reimbursements/etc.
  • SHARE ALIKE
    if you use my work, you agree to also share your work under the same Creative Commons license terms. In other words… if you choose to include any work or part of my work in your work, do not slap a copyright symbol on your site/book/app/etc. preventing others from continuing to build upon it.

As an educator you NEED to know and understand copyright and Creative Commons licenses! It is our responsibility to not only teach copyright as part of digital citizenship to our students, but also to MODEL it anytime AND everytime to our students.

I often wonder WHY educators (among many others) just take it, simply because they can.

Is it:

  • Ignorance?… “I did not know”
  • Laziness?… “I don’t have time to deal with that” …to learn about Copyright law and to take the the extra time to find out who this image originally came from…
  • On purpose? … ex. taking the time to crop out the attribution included on an infographic or image
  • Anonymity?… What are the chances that someone will actually find out that I used their work… and then bother to take the time to take action against me?
  • Truly believe they are doing the right and ethical thing?

I have chosen various paths to deal with DAILY violations of the CC copyright license that I have chosen for my work:

  • Ignore it
    It is turning into a full time job to find violations, contact information, write an email, follow up, etc. I am a one woman operation, who does NOT charge for anything on my blog, nor supplement with ads and commercials…
  • Contact the author of the violation
    by writing a canned response letter such as:

    In your recent blog post you used one of my images without giving proper credit.
    [insert URL of violation]
    My work is licensed under Creative Commons , attribution, share alike, non commercial.
    As an educator, I believe in sharing freely under these conditions to build collaboration and encourage added value, remixing and creation.
    I see a copyright symbol on your own blog, which violates the “share alike” part of my license.
    I am asking you to please add attribution to the image, remove your own copyright of your work or remove my image.
    Please make yourself familiar with copyright and Creative Commons licenses if you use material beyond the ones you have created yourself.
    Thank you in advance

     

  • I make contact to only
    • receive no response
    • Receive a rude response
    • Receive a one liner such as: “Sorry, I did not know…”, “Will take it off my site” or “I am in my right to do what I want under Fair Use”
  • Share my frustration on Twitter, Facebook page and now on my blog
    CC-infringement
    I have received comments such as the one below on my Facebook Page

“I agree in principle but Langwitches has to make a decision to share the free content with and without attributions…or remove the resources and charge membership to get access. The choice is always yours (Langwitches) …just stop whining and complaining.

Darrell Garrison takes it a step further by asking the question  “Who is to Blame for Wrongful Attributions for Educational Blogs and How Do We Fix it?

I was frustrated yesterday as I was reading an article from one of the educational sites that I enjoy called Edudemic. I usually read what they’ve posted once a day and I almost always read articles involving ideas of how to create PLNs or guides for social media and educators no matter what the source. Yesterday I got to the bottom of the article and saw a graphic by  Silvia Tolisano that I have shared many times and itself is based on an original graphic by Alex Couros as Silvia points out on her Flickr page.

What can we do to raise awareness of Copyright law and the ethical importance for teachers to be knowledgeable and models in adhering to licenses and ethical behavior when it comes to digital citizenship?

What have you done, when you realized that other educators take your own work or someone you know and “pretend” they created it?

Jerry: Amplified

Cross posted from Smartblogs: http://smartblogs.com/education/2013/07/09/jerry-amplified/

 

“Learning is amplified by the amount of people who are collaborating, participating, communicating and creating. The learning is NOT about the technology tools, but what students can DO with them to learn in new ways. The learning is about authentic tasks, that allow students to contribute in a individualized and personalized manner to make them realize that their work matters in the real world.”

~Silvia Tolisano from the Langwitches blog

—————————–

I had a wonderful modern learning experience this past school year Skyping into a first grade class in Jacksonville, Florida. This first grade class is learning geography (as well as global perspectives!) through an activity that they call “Mystery Skyping.” The teachers connect with someone via Skype somewhere in the world. That person Skypes in and the students get to ask questions to discover where in the world that person is. I was so excited to participate and be one of the “Mystery Skypers!”

The teachers captured some images and blogged about the day I Skyped in. Click here to read it.

During my chat with the students, I was introduced to Jerry, their class stuffed animal. Jerry had traveled home with each student over the course of the year and each student recorded Jerry’s experiences in Jerry’s Journal. They wrote about what they did with Jerry and shared pictures of their time with him. I asked the students if Jerry had ever traveled outside of Florida.

I invited Jerry to come visit me in Buffalo and offered to write in Jerry’s journal as well. We also decided to do a Skype session live from Niagara Falls with Jerry, extending this lesson in geography. The teachers in this class, Pamela Lewis (@PamelaLewis1388) and Marissa Tolisano (@Marissa2309) blogged, tweeted, and stayed plugged in during the entire process!

Skype-Teaching At Niagara Falls

Jerry Back At School

When I sent Jerry back to school, I sent him back with interactive journal entries. Rather than just pasting in a few pictures and writing a few anecdotal notes, I decided to go a little higher tech.

I took a picture of Jerry with my phone, uploaded it to Dropbox and used the image to create a Concrete Poem with an original limerick:

 

In case it’s hard to read, the limerick is:

When I got into town for my visit;

I wasn’t prepared, I admit it.

The heat had expired,

A hoodie required,

It isn’t still Winter, is it?

 

I wrote another poem and a rap song and uploaded the content to Youtube. I created QR codes for the content, printed them, and glued them into the journal along with the pictures that I took. While these students had already been introduced to QR codes long ago by their forward thinking modern teachers, I wanted the students to have to access the new content in a modern way.

Here are the videos that the QR codes directed to:

 POEM:

 

RAP SONG:

 

The teachers here, in amplifying their classroom to open it up to global opportunities, have created multiple levels of engagement and learning for their students. Amplification essentially means that the learning is moving beyond the classroom, the way sound waves move from their source. Amplification means that learning is broadcast to a global audience, allowing for larger and more authentic experiences through different types of publishing, feedback, refining, relearning, and continual improvements. Amplification creates opportunities for global discourse and learning that make the learning louder and more impactful than it would be otherwise.

This amplification of Jerry, through blogs, Skype sessions, tweets, even the involvement of the US Mail, had several educational impacts:

  • The activity allowed students to authentically merge two learning zones: their personal journaling efforts and geography.

  • Because of the opportunity to “visit” Niagara Falls live, they were able to ask and answer questions in the moment, which offered teachable opportunities about science, specifically on weathering and erosion, as well as reflection and refraction due to the constant rainbow in the mist!

  • The activity created mental velcro inside these 1st Graders brains. They have an automatic set point now, a new knowledge base from which to construct new learning.

  • They used technology for a specific, task-dependent purpose that dictated the use of immersive digital tools that were chosen because of the way they supported the task, rather than the planning around the tool.

The activity also allowed me to jump out of my own comfort zone and teach class, over Skype, at a gigantic waterfall. It was the equivalent of “Educational Skydiving.” It was a thrill to take a risk on something like this, literally from the edge of a gaping chasm. When it was over, I felt like a million bucks! (Side note: a group of 50 or so tourists were crowded around me and watched me from beginning to end. Over half of the tourists were visiting from China and one of them, who was bilingual, translated everything I said to the group. How’s that for GLOBAL IMPACT!?!)

This learning moment was the highlight of my academic year. I was so impressed with what these teachers are doing in their classroom and so impressed with these students and their voracious consumption of knowledge.

Now that the summer is here, I hope that those that are reading this will think about their own curriculum design and perhaps use this as a launching pad for their own authentic upgrades as they plan for the next round of students in the fall.

*Author’s Note: I am going out on a limb here and sharing my rapping skills. My wife would like you to know that she tried to talk me out of it, especially since I’m writing this for a national audience, but I am throwing caution to the wind. Motivating and engaging kids to learn is way more important to me than me being embarrassed, though many of you have already witnessed “Karaoke Mike” at multiple venues around the country. If it makes you cringe, it’s okay. It had the same effect on me. 😉