Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Taking Action and Monitoring Learning

I have joined two professional learning communities this week: the National Writing Project and November Learning Connect. 
Both of these groups provide me with resources about digital storytelling and about the use of technology
to form connections with classrooms around the world. They also provide me with colleagues with whom to share ideas.
It is encouraging to find communities of educators with similar interests and ideals to my own, all engaged in the ongoing learning process that is technology integration.

I have also downloaded the software Photostory and started experimenting with that a bit. I am eager to produce my own digital story as an example of what can be done when writing is integrated with storytelling technology. However, I want my story to be about English content, not about digital story making. I would like to use this technology to help students who struggle with texts become more deeply engaged in the literature I teach. Digital storytelling, when combined with traditional literature, can communicate a sense of time, place, and perspective that struggling readers do not always gather from a novel. More to come...


  1. Hi!

    Tell me about Photostory. Digital storytelling really sounds like fun.


  2. Sherrie -
    It looks like you are off to a great start. PLC's can be excellent resources, especially when you have similar professional goals.
    Your students will enjoy using Photostory. It is a very user-friendly tool to use.
    Best of Luck!
    Kathleen Cagle
    Math - New TechHS

  3. Hi. Thanks for your comments. Digital storytelling is really fun; and therefore it's a great way to get students to buy in to the writing process. I have posted some examples of students using digital storytelling here on my blog, so please view them for inspiration. I hope to have my own students write and produce digital stories and share them online.

    I also hope to use digital storytelling myself, as an instructional tool. So far, I am not as advanced as these students with movie-making; but with Photostory I can simply download images, add text, add narration, and add background music. This is useful to present content to students of different learning styles. The visual and auditory elements particularly help struggling readers and ESL learners grasp the content. I can also make my digital stories available online for students who wish to review content (or students who are absent from class.)

  4. Hi, Sherrie.

    Actually, it sounds like a lot of fun. Do all of your students have computers, do you have computers in your classroom, or will you have to make arrangements to use a school lab? I am sure your kids will love it. Isn't it amazing how much kids know these days? Maybe they don't know but are just fearless and play until they figure it out. Either way, I wish I had their skills!


  5. Hi Sherrie,

    Photostory is amazing! I think you are well on your way to having an awesome game plan. I would like to look more into digital storytelling myself. I wonder if my students would enjoy it!

    Ashley Carlson

  6. Sherrie,
    You have motivated me to also join some learning communities. I have had very limited time to work on my GAME plan, but at the very least, I should be able to bookmark some helpful sites and try to check in once a week. I see that you have also posted a number of helpful resources you have found.

    I am glad you are trying Photostory. I find it much more user friendly than Moviemaker. Possibly offering both as options for students will help diversify the learning experience also.

    Kristy Brown

  7. Thanks to all of you for the dialogue...I enjoy receiving feedback and suggestions.

    Fortunately, every student in our middle school has a laptop, thanks to Maine's Technology Initiative. In our high school, we have class sets of laptops that we can sign out as needed. This makes technology integration possible and enjoyable here; whereas I know these resources are very limited for some school districts.

    I think you are correct, Miss A., in saying students are fearless about experimenting with new technology tools and figuring them out through trial and error. Personally, while technology is constantly changing, I think we learn a lot of transferable skills when we learn to use any technology tools. For me, the best way is to dive in and try things out in a child-like manner.

    It is hard to find time to work on the GAME plan on top of all of our other responsibilities. Joining relevant learning communities and following educational blogs on Google Reader has helped me continue learning and connecting with colleagues, even on a busy schedule. Also, I am having fun with the Photostory program.


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