Digital storytelling uses video, audio, social media, blogging and other tools to convey ideas and information effectively. The emphasis is on empowering students to create authentic products that they can share with others beyond the classroom walls, and to allow for audience interaction and feedback.
why should we inspire students to be digital storytellers?
Requires critical thinking: Creating an interdisciplinary product from scratch requires high level thinking skills like evaluating evidence, editing and curation, and production timelines. Digital stories often use multiple skills like writing, public speaking, photography, design and collaboration in a single project which makes them ideal for practicing skills learned other units or classes.
Authentic projects have impact: Creating real-world, impactful products that students share with an audience beyond the classroom is one of the best ways to enhance motivation and increase quality.
Places focus on writing: A picture is worth a thousand words, and video is 30 photos a second. It has its own grammar and style, but concepts of content, structure, tone and audience impact are just as important in multimedia as they are for an essay. Scripts, voiceovers and interview questions emphasize traditional writing skills and are the backbone of all multimedia projects.
Develops digital citizens: What to post online, when and how are all important questions for our students to learn to answer. Require them to comment on others’ work and develop etiquette for online posts and feedback. Rather than being afraid of the internet, embrace it to teach digital citizenship.
Students can add to digital portfolios: All student work can be compiled into a digital portfolio that they can use to promote themselves for jobs/internships
How to Educate Digital Storytellers
1. Focus on content, not the tools
2. Take it to the next “SAMR level.” The SAMR model is a way to gauge how deeply and effectively you use technology (Salvador Dali)
The brain is actually three brains: the ancient reptilian brain, the limbic brain, and the cortical brain. This article will focus on the limbic brain, because it may be most important to successfully using interactive video or web-based video. The limbic brain monitors the external world and the internal body, taking in information through the senses as well as body temperature and blood pressure, among others. It is the limbic brain that generates and interprets facial expressions and handles emotions, while the cortical brain handles symbolic activities such as language as well as action and strategizing. The two interact when an emotion is sent from the limbic to the cortical brain and generates a conscious thought; in response to a feeling of fear (limbic), you ask, “what should I do?” (cortical).
The importance of direct eye contact and deciphering body language is also important for sending and picking up clues about social context.
The loss of social cues is important because it may affect the quality of the content of the presentation (by not allowing timely feedback or questions) but also because students may feel less engaged and become frustrated with the interaction, and subsequently lower their assessment of the class and the instructor (Reeves & Nass, 1996). Fortunately, faculty can provide such social cues verbally, once they are aware of the importance of helping students use these new media.
Attachment theory also supports the importance of physical and emotional connections.
As many a struggling teacher knows, students are often impervious to learning new concepts. They may replay the new information for a test, but after time passes, they revert to the earlier (and likely wrong) information. This is referred to as the “power of mental models.” As explained in Marchese (2000), when we view a tree, it is not as if we see the tree in our head, as in photography.
The coping strategies of the two hemispheres are fundamentally different. The left hemisphere’s job is to create a belief system or model and to fold new experiences into that belief system. If confronted with some new information that doesn’t fit the model, it relies on Freudian defense mechanisms to deny, repress or confabulate – anything to preserve the status quo. The right hemisphere’s strategy is to play “Devil’s Advocate,” to question the status quo and look for global inconsistencies. When the anomalous information reaches a certain threshold, the right hemisphere decides that it is time to force a complete revision of the entire model and start from scratch (Ramachandran & Blakeslee, 1998, p. 136).
While much hemispheric-based research has been repudiated as an oversimplification (Gackenbach, 1999), the above description of how new information eventually overwhelms an old world view may be the result of multiple brain functions – some of which work to preserve our models and others to alter – that help us both maintain and change as needed.
Self-talk is the “the root of empathy, understanding, cooperation, and rules that allow us to be successful social beings. Any sense of moral behavior requires thought before action” (Ratey, 2001, p. 255).
Healy (1999) argues that based on what we know about brain development in children, new computer media may be responsible for developing brains that are largely different from the brains of adults. This is because “many brain connections have become specialized for . . . media” (p. 133); in this view, a brain formed by language and reading is different from a brain formed by hypermedia. Different media lead to different synaptic connections being laid down and reinforced, creating different brains in youngsters raised on fast-paced, visually-stimulating computer applications and video games. “Newer technologies emphasize rapid processing of visual symbols . . . and deemphasize traditional verbal learning . . . and the linear, analytic thought process . . . [making it] more difficult to deal with abstract verbal reasoning” (Healy, 1999, p. 142).
Patches is a free online tool for creating virtual reality scenes. Patches offers animated characters, animals, buildings, and common objects that you can place inside a virtual reality scene. Just drag and drop objects and animations
By creating engaging 360° tours, students are not only learning these new tools for themselves but are also helping local organizations see the possibility of VR for marketing and public relations.
some key takeaways from the projects that we have seen:
Let the students lead: In all of these projects, students are taking the initiative. The institutions are providing the technology, the space, organizational vision, and in some cases, academic credit. At NYU Tandon, students organized the entire conference, doing publicity, registration, catering, and scheduling (see figure 4). They brought in a diverse group of speakers from academic, tech, and startup backgrounds. The event included TED-style spotlights, talks, workshops, and demos.
Don’t compromise on space: Brown University’s Granoff Center for the Creative Arts is designed to encourage cross-discipline collaboration. The Tandon event used the main auditorium and the flagship NYU MakerSpace. Space influences behavior and is crucial in driving collaboration and active participation. In addition, to produce VR and AR/MR experiences students need access to high-end technology and, in some cases, motion-capture studios and 360° cameras.
Create opportunities for social impact: Many of these programs are open to the local community or have been designed to have an impact outside higher education. At Emporia State, students are using VR and 360° video to help local businesses. The Gaspee Affair VR experience at Brown University will become a resource for teaching middle and high school students.
Showcase student work: So often in education, the work students do in a course is only seen by others in the same class. Like the example at Texas A&M, all of these experiences have a connection with their campus or larger community. VR and AR engender a level of excitement that gets students engaged with each other and encourage peer learning. It’s worth it to seek out opportunities to bring this work to community events.
more on VR in education in this IMS blog
This case study of Indiana University’s e-text initiative reports on students’ actual use of and engagement with digital textbooks.
In a typical semester, students read more in the first four weeks and less in later weeks except during major assessment times; in a typical week, most reading occurs between 5:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. from Monday to Thursday, indicating that students use e-texts mainly as a self-study resource.
Highlighting was the markup feature most used by students, whereas use of the other interactive markup features (shared notes, questions, and answers) was minimal, perhaps because of students’ lack of awareness of these features.
Research found that higher engagement with e-texts (reading and highlighting) correlated with higher course grades.
Although cost savings is often cited as a key advantage of electronic textbooks (aka, e-textbooks or simply e-texts), e-texts also provide powerful markup and interaction tools. For these tools to improve student learning, however, their adoption is critically important.
The Indiana University e-texts program, which began in 2009, has four primary goals:
Drive down the cost of materials for students
Provide high-quality materials of choice
Enable new tools for teaching and learning
Shape the terms of sustainable models that work for students, faculty, and authors
To date, student savings on textbooks amount to $21,673,338. However, we recognize that many students do not pay the full list price for paper textbooks when they purchase online, buy used copies, or recoup some of their costs when they resell their texts after the semester is over.
herefore, we divide the calculated savings by two and report that total as a more accurate representation of student savings. Consequently, we claim that students have saved about $11 million since IU’s e-texts program started in spring 2012.
In addition to printing through the e-text platform, students can purchase a print-on-demand (PoD) copy of an e-text for an additional fee.
One downside of e-texts is that students lease their textbook for a limited time instead of owning it. This lease generally lasts a semester or six months, and students lose their access afterwards. However, with IU’s e-text model, students get access to the textbook before the first day of class and maintain their access until they graduate from Indiana University. That is, students can go back to the e-texts after their course to review or reference the content in the book. This could be especially important if the e-text course is a prerequisite for another course.
Causes and Solutions to Low Morale of Online Faculty
Written by Dani Babb Published: 24 March 2016
The common threads and take-aways for administrators:
Faculty don’t like being micromanaged. Hire faculty you trust to do the job, provide guidelines and training, and let professionals do their thing.
Pay appropriately, and give notice if you are canceling a course.
Set expectations clearly, and communicate with faculty in the same tone you’d expect; assume the best not the worst.
Include adjuncts as part of your team.
Compensate when job duties increase.
Handle student issues quickly, make sure prepared students enter programs (particularly in graduate work).
Move away from the “gotcha mentality” into an inclusive, people-make-mistakes, “we are all in this together” model.
Here’s what some of the faculty who agreed to have their comments posted had to say about what lowers their morale:
Sean-David McGoran noted that students allowed to bully faculty, repetitious and unnecessary training and unreasonable deadlines at final and midterm examination time can be demoralizing.
Linda Chilson said that pay, curriculum that doesn’t make sense, student behavioral issues and school districts funding unnecessary training are issues, as well as lack of support for out of the box thinking.
Leah Murray noted that micromanaging every little detail is demoralizing – and understandably added, “why not teach the class yourself if you are going to pay that much attention“. She also noted that lack of positive reinforcement and others taking credit for work you did is troubling.
Mary Kay Westgate-Taylor cited poor new faculty orientation, unclear expectations, micromanagement and lack of support from administration regarding student issues as concerns.
Dr Steve Woodsmall noted open admissions – too many graduate students who aren’t able or willing to do graduate level work or have a sense of entitlement (paying tuition guaranteeing a degree) and complaining when they receive clearly deserved failing grades causes low morale.
Quiana Bradshaw noted that schools acting like adjuncts don’t matter causes low morale. Adjuncts often work hard with no promotional opportunities with no mentoring or encouragement, and only veteran individuals offered promotions. Not including adjuncts as part of the team or micromanaging adjuncts with reports and comments is concerning.
Jeanie Rogers-Street noted that education not being the driving force of education (instead, finances being the main focus) is a cause of low morale.
Christina Krepinevich Houston noted rude emails from supervisors as a cause of low morale.
Stacie Williams commented that supervisors or administrators with a lack of experience in curriculum design and hiring skills dismissing the experience and knowledge of instructors is demoralizing.
Traci Schneider Cull noted that not having support from online higher-ups or fixing issues in courses/not responding causes low morale.
Nicki Favero Puckett cited continuous increases in workload without additional compensation as a cause.
Terri Hennessy Craig stated that severely under, or unprepared, students and canceling classes (particularly without notice) is a cause of low morale.
Maria Toy noted micromanagement and an increased workload with no additional compensation as a low morale cause
The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative has just launched its 2018 Key Issues in Teaching and Learning Survey, so vote today: http://www.tinyurl.com/ki2018.
Each year, the ELI surveys the teaching and learning community in order to discover the key issues and themes in teaching and learning. These top issues provide the thematic foundation or basis for all of our conversations, courses, and publications for the coming year. Longitudinally they also provide the way to track the evolving discourse in the teaching and learning space. More information about this annual survey can be found at https://www.educause.edu/eli/initiatives/key-issues-in-teaching-and-learning.
ACADEMIC TRANSFORMATION (Holistic models supporting student success, leadership competencies for academic transformation, partnerships and collaborations across campus, IT transformation, academic transformation that is broad, strategic, and institutional in scope)
ACCESSIBILITY AND UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING (Supporting and educating the academic community in effective practice; intersections with instructional delivery modes; compliance issues)
ADAPTIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING (Digital courseware; adaptive technology; implications for course design and the instructor’s role; adaptive approaches that are not technology-based; integration with LMS; use of data to improve learner outcomes)
COMPETENCY-BASED EDUCATION AND NEW METHODS FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING (Developing collaborative cultures of assessment that bring together faculty, instructional designers, accreditation coordinators, and technical support personnel, real world experience credit)
DIGITAL AND INFORMATION LITERACIES (Student and faculty literacies; research skills; data discovery, management, and analysis skills; information visualization skills; partnerships for literacy programs; evaluation of student digital competencies; information evaluation)
EVALUATING TECHNOLOGY-BASED INSTRUCTIONAL INNOVATIONS (Tools and methods to gather data;data analysis techniques; qualitative vs. quantitative data; evaluation project design; using findings to change curricular practice; scholarship of teaching and learning; articulating results to stakeholders; just-in-time evaluation of innovations). here is my bibliographical overview on Big Data (scroll down to “Research literature”: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2017/11/07/irdl-proposal/ )
EVOLUTION OF THE TEACHING AND LEARNING SUPPORT PROFESSION (Professional skills for T&L support; increasing emphasis on instructional design; delineating the skills, knowledge, business acumen, and political savvy for success; role of inter-institutional communities of practices and consortia; career-oriented professional development planning)
FACULTY DEVELOPMENT (Incentivizing faculty innovation; new roles for faculty and those who support them; evidence of impact on student learning/engagement of faculty development programs; faculty development intersections with learning analytics; engagement with student success)
GAMIFICATION OF LEARNING (Gamification designs for course activities; adaptive approaches to gamification; alternate reality games; simulations; technological implementation options for faculty)
INTEGRATED PLANNING AND ADVISING FOR STUDENT SUCCESS (Change management and campus leadership; collaboration across units; integration of technology systems and data; dashboard design; data visualization (here previous blog postings on this issue: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=data+visualization); counseling and coaching advising transformation; student success analytics)
LEARNING ANALYTICS (Leveraging open data standards; privacy and ethics; both faculty and student facing reports; implementing; learning analytics to transform other services; course design implications)
LEARNING SPACE DESIGNS (Makerspaces; funding; faculty development; learning designs across disciplines; supporting integrated campus planning; ROI; accessibility/UDL; rating of classroom designs)
MICRO-CREDENTIALING AND DIGITAL BADGING (Design of badging hierarchies; stackable credentials; certificates; role of open standards; ways to publish digital badges; approaches to meta-data; implications for the transcript; Personalized learning transcripts and blockchain technology (here previous blog postings on this issue: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=blockchain)
MOBILE LEARNING (Curricular use of mobile devices (here previous blog postings on this issue:
MULTI-DIMENSIONAL TECHNOLOGIES (Virtual, augmented, mixed, and immersive reality; video walls; integration with learning spaces; scalability, affordability, and accessibility; use of mobile devices; multi-dimensional printing and artifact creation)
NEXT-GENERATION DIGITAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS AND LMS SERVICES (Open standards; learning environments architectures (here previous blog postings on this issue: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2017/03/28/digital-learning/; social learning environments; customization and personalization; OER integration; intersections with learning modalities such as adaptive, online, etc.; LMS evaluation, integration and support)
ONLINE AND BLENDED TEACHING AND LEARNING (Flipped course models; leveraging MOOCs in online learning; course development models; intersections with analytics; humanization of online courses; student engagement)
OPEN EDUCATION (Resources, textbooks, content; quality and editorial issues; faculty development; intersections with student success/access; analytics; licensing; affordability; business models; accessibility and sustainability)
PRIVACY AND SECURITY (Formulation of policies on privacy and data protection; increased sharing of data via open standards for internal and external purposes; increased use of cloud-based and third party options; education of faculty, students, and administrators)
WORKING WITH EMERGING LEARNING TECHNOLOGY (Scalability and diffusion; effective piloting practices; investments; faculty development; funding; evaluation methods and rubrics; interoperability; data-driven decision-making)
An introduction to digital badges and a brief history
Simply put, a digital badge is an indicator of accomplishment or skill that can be displayed, accessed, and verified online. These badges can be earned in a wide variety of environments, an increasing number of which are online.
The anatomy of digital badges
In addition to the image-based design we think of as a digital badge, badges have meta-data to communicate details of the badge to anyone wishing to verify it, or learn more about the context of the achievement it signifies.
The many functions of digital badges
Just like their real-world counterparts, digital badges serve a wide variety of purposes depending on the issuing body and the individual. For the most part, badges’ functions can be bucketed into one of five categories.
Badges are issued by individual organizations who set criteria for what constitutes earning a badge. They’re most often issued through an online credential or badging platform.
Criticism of digital badges
There are various arguments to be made against the implementation of digital badges, including the common issuance of seemingly “meaningless” badges.
The future of digital badges
With the rise of online education and the increasing availability of high quality massive open online courses, there will be an increasing need for verifiable digital badges and digital credentials.
Students asked what technologies they wish their instructors used more, and we asked faculty what technologies they think could make them more effective instructors. Both agree that content and resource-focused technologies should be incorporated more and social media and tablets should be incorporated less.