This week, I’m focusing on digital storytelling as an alternative assessment tool that instructors can use in both online or face-to-face environments. Instead of assigning a paper or giving an exam, consider having your students create digital stories as a means of assessing student learning. For instance, Dr. Richard Kerper, a professor in the Elementary and Early Childhood Education department at Millersville, has his students create short movie trailers for books they read. Not only is he able to evaluate the students on what they’ve learned from their reading, he is able to tap into the students’ creativity and engage them by using technology. By having his students post their products online and share them with the other members of the class, Dr. Kerper also fosters a community wear the students can learn from one another and revise their work based on peer feedback.
While there are many different points of view regarding what constitutes a digital story, I think the most important aspect to remember is that digital stories tell a story digitally. I know that sounds sort of elementary but it’s easy to lose sight of the story when the software is complicated or offers many bells and whistles. Each semester, I have students who create elaborate digital stories that contain all sorts of special effects but the stories themselves are weak. I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences with books or movies. A fancy cover isn’t going to improve the quality of a story and special effects won’t hide poor storytelling. Even though most moviemaking software offer different ways to creatively alter and display the video, keep in mind that the goal is good storytelling. The digital component is just the medium.
I know that digital storytelling is new for some people so I’m using this space to share some tutorials I created for my students as well as links to tutorials on different movie making software (iMovie & MovieMaker).
Some additional resources: