Once I started to explore technology tools for the 5 iPads I had in my classrooms, I started to find amazing tools that would allow my students to add their voice to their writing while creating a video file. Kids could create movies now highlighting their stories! This developed into kids sharing their writing movies with their families at conferences and eventually expanded to sharing through classroom blogs and digital portfolio tools such as SeeSaw. My student's audience grew to authentically include parents, other classrooms, and eventually peers across the country. This all happened because I tinkered with technology tools in the hopes of enhancing my writer's workshop!
So what are some first steps for people interested in getting started with digital storytelling! Here is a simple list to get you started...
Reflect by looking at your writer's block in your classroom. Is there any part of it that is lacking or feels stale? Have your students show any interest or expressed any desire to try something new? How's brainstorming going? Are your students having trouble with spelling? Are they developing student voice?
Once you identify an area that you feel you can enhance, TINKER! Do some online research, attend a conference, chat with a peer and find some technology tools that might meet the need of your writing block. Play with the tool as you plan an upcoming unit and brainstorm ways you might use the tool!
Try the new tool! Don't be afraid to fail and embrace learning the tool in front of your students. Co-learning a technology tool with young kids olds does not need to be humiliating! My students loved teaching me things they knew about their iPads! They got a kick out my mistakes and truly appreciated when I asked for the help. Start small and expand and don't forget to include your students.
Reflect on how the tool worked! Did it transform the learning experience? Were kids engaged? Take time and reflect on whether or not another tool might be better for your next unit. Don't feel married to the new tool! If it didn't work, there are plenty others to try!
Share your experience with your peers! It might help their growth and you never know who might have a new idea! Sharing is such a pivotal part of the learning process so put yourself out there and share the highs and lows of your educational technology adventures!
Reflect, Tinker, Try, Reflect, Share! Those are the 5 steps I always take when I am trying a new tool! They have lead me on such a journey! My students went from bulletin board ready writing to creating green screen and stop-motion movies! It has been quite the journey and I would be happy to share my highs and lows with anyone who is ready to try!!
Thank you for reading,