For this class, I created a Digital Storytelling video as my first project. This was my first experience with digital storytelling, as well as with making videos at all. I was nervous to create something like this, but the process turned out to be much more enjoyable and easier than I expected! The video I created is called What to Expect at a Parent Teacher Conference and it is intended for parents or guardians of English Language Learners (ELL) students in elementary school. I selected this topic because I anticipate working with high populations of ELL students, and I wanted to address an issue that many ELL students and/or their families often have concerns or anxiety about. I know that often these families have never experienced a parent teacher conference, so I thought that a digital storytelling video explaining the purpose of a conference and what they could expect from it would be a useful tool for helping them feel more at ease.
My Digital Storytelling Video
I can see this video being used in both formal and informal settings. One formal use could be at an information night held for ELL families at the beginning of a school year. I know that the concept of conferences receive a lot of talking time at these types of events, so a video like this could replace some of that talking. Additionally, teachers could also send this video link informally through email to any parents or guardians that express concern or confusion about an upcoming conference. Although the video is intended for ELL families, it could certainly benefit anyone with the same questions.
This digital storytelling video embraces ISTE Standard 1 for Teachers in two primary ways. First, it is an example of engaging students (and their families) in a real-world situation/problem through technology. Conferences are real events that happen, and they require families to authentically engage. This video is a good way that technology can help them to be more prepared for the conference in real life. Also, the video helps to “facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments,” just as the standard dictates. Students and teachers will be able to access this video anywhere they have the technology, so the learning can happen in any kind of environment.
Creating this project was an involved, but relatively painless process. I first decided on the topic, as described above. Then I did some research on what many ELL parents want to know when it comes to parent teacher conferences, as well as what most parent teacher conferences involve. After collecting and synthesizing the research, I decided on my main talking points and wrote the script for the video. I then collected photos and created some slides to help tell the story that I had already written. Finally I used iMovie on my Mac computer to put the photos and slides into a video format, overlay narration and music, and upload the video to YouTube. Throughout the process I consulted notes from my class, as well as some other instructional videos online to help guide me in the procedure.
Surprisingly I did not encounter any major challenges during the creation of this project. If anything, the anticipation and worry that I had leading up to beginning work on the project was the biggest challenge, as I had significant concern that it would be incredibly stressful and difficult for me. I did need to do some research on how to use iMovie, but I easily found videos online with step-by-step instructions for creating videos. Overall, the process went much more smoothly than I expected and I am pleased with the results.
I think that the most significant learning for me on this project came from actually creating a video using the software on my computer. I had no knowledge of how to do this before starting this project, and I found the steps for doing so to be relatively easy to learn and productive. In fact, I can see this kind of learning being quite valuable and accessible in a future classroom, and I now intend to use this kind of project both in my own instruction, as well as an assignment for my students.