Friday, April 04, 2008

Telling Stories

Thanks are due Susan Kambalu's post on Digital Stories for drawing the We Tell Stories 6 from Penguin to my attention. It is a brilliant idea and Penguin have done a fantastic job putting it together. Of the three works of digital fiction published so far, I think my favourite is The 21 Steps.

27/365: Fix?
Originally uploaded by DavidDMuir
What I especially like is that the techniques used to tell these stories could easily be used by pupils to create their own examples of digital fiction. For example, I'm really inspired to have a go at telling stories using Google Earth along the lines of The 21 Steps and I hope I get the chance to try it with some students soon.

It also reminded me of work I did with BEd students towards the end of last year where we used Flickr to tell stories. Here for example are a few of their six word story ideas:
We also had a go at some stories in five frames:
I was also intrigued by the possibilities of using Flickr to make Choose your own adventure games. Flickr may not be the best way to create this kind of game but it does make them very easy to share. I had a go and created the Jargon Hall Adventure. There's potentially a lot of creative writing in describing the locations and the decisions to be made... and it was surprisingly good fun to make. :-)

And finally... Twitterstories! A simple, but stunningly brilliant idea. One hundred and forty students, from around the globe, each contributing a Twitter message to tell a story. (See Mr Mayo's blog for more details.) What I really like about this project is the constraints that the pupils have to work within, for example, Twitter messages must be 140 characters (or less) in length and the story must reach some conclusion within 140 messages. The authors will have to pick their words very carefully to keep their message within the word limit while still moving the story on and keeping it interesting. Are your pupils overly verbose, using a plethora of extraneous words and multiple sub-clauses, which, in actual fact are full of repetitive, redundant and superfluous detail and, in the final analysis, producing long, rambling and confusing work? :-) Perhaps the constraints of a twitterstory would help. (Twitterstory or Twition or Twittory or ... ? A good idea in search of a good name!)

Do you know of any good examples of pupil produced digital stories?

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Susan Kambalu said...

David, thank you for the mention! And for posting on my blog - always nice to hear from other people!

I had an idea for using Google Earth, but I've not got very far with it. I thought I could try and make up a map tracking the footsteps of Jesus for my Year 9s who will be completing an assessment on Jesus when they get back after the holidays. However, there seems to be no data for Israel on Google Earth - it's just showing up as a vast wilderness, where roads from the neighbouring countries simply disappear at the borders.

I may need to work on that one ...! Like you, my favourite story so far is 21 Steps, but I am enjoying the variety of stories so far.

Susan Kambalu said...

And, by the way, I do like your use of Flickr - including your choose your own adventure tale! I may have to experiment with that at some point.

David said...

Thank you for the comments about Flickr. I hope you enjoy making an adventure as much as I did. I think it could be used for moral choices as well as geographical, e.g. will you go into the off-licence with your friends or will you go to the newsagents instead? I suspect you will be able to think up more morally ambiguous choices for the children to explore. The adventure format would allow them to explore the consequences of their actions too.

As for the Google Earth footsteps of Jesus idea... check out Geography of Passion Week and Passion Week in Google Earth. A search for "Google Earth" on the ESV blog throws up a few more ideas and the OpenBible is just stuffed full of stuff! Hope these prove useful.

skambalu said...

Thanks for those links - just what I've been looking for! And some good ideas for a Flickr adventure ...!