Friday, March 07, 2008

The World Beyond Essays - Digital Storytelling with Jason Ohler

So, I read the description for this session and thought to myself that this will either be really good, or I'll leave in the first five minutes. I stayed through to the end because it was outstanding. Jason talked about media literacy replacing our outdated definition of literacy that only involves text.

When we use our old definition of literacy we say you are literate if you can read and write. Today we have many more ways of expressing ourselves. Ohler talked about the "Media Collage" that we see on most web sites today and that not only do your students need to know how to extract meaning from these sites, the must also be able to produce this media or they're not really literate in modern society.

Jason stressed that you don't have to have lots of expensive equipment or software to create a compelling digital story. In fact all you need is a computer. He shared an engaging story created by a student using still images in WindowsMovieMaker (free if you have Windows). It's the story that matters, not the toys or effects.

He also spent sometime discussing what a story is and what it isn't. It is often tempting to have students create multimedia reports, but when we can have them create stories than they are more engaged with the process and the material. For a story we some sort of problem and a resolution of that problem. That can often simply be the misconceptions or misunderstandings the student had along the way and how they resolved those misconceptions. i.e. What was the learning process.

All in all, I'm glad I decided to walk into this session. I may even buy his book. You can find more information at:

or for information on the session go to:
Web 2.1 and the World Beyond Essays -

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