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Digital Storytelling Masters. Fairy Tale Reality


Our ancestors learned by listening to fairy tales. Tales were different – terrible, beautiful, cognitive. They were passed around by word of mouth, painted with sticks on sand and with coal on rocks. They sang them to the accompaniment of the simplest musical instruments.

For thousands of years, fairy tales remained the only form of transfer of knowledge about the surrounding world, the history of the family, important things.

The use of imagination and visualization to transmit new information has been and remains the most effective method of teaching. The tools of the modern "digital" world have only expanded the possibilities of such studying.

As a result, the method of digital storytelling – learning through the creation of your own history not on paper, but using computer programs (video, audio, special effects) have become extremely popular.

Now everyone can "reincarnate" as a screenwriter, director and creator of such a story, which would have remained only in the imagination a couple of decades ago. So, let us figure out the nuances of the technique of digital storytelling.

Candidate for Application of Methodology

Studying English is an ideal candidate for digital storytelling. Most students who are ready to learn a new tongue (practically of any age group) live a rich "digital" life outside the walls of the teaching classes.

They daily read posts in social networks, make collages, work with office applications. And it is a natural process to learn a new language and to transmit thoughts and ideas with the help of "digital" tools.

Of course, the starting level of knowledge of the language and the ability to use computer programs and tools dictate the type of activities. Let us divide students into two groups: beginners and advanced.

For beginners-storytellers, the following activities are suitable (in stages):

  • A story about yourself, hobbies, pets; using music, sounds, pantomime – the simplest audiovisual accompaniment;
  • A similar story, but written in Word, with spelling checks (or dictated to the partner in the group who prints on the computer). Then the story is discussed with other students via e-mail, blog or social networks;
  • Recording a story using a microphone and computer sound recording programs. Use the correct rhythm of the story, pauses, various intonations, additional sound effects – in fact, it is the creation of a mini-audiobook.
  • Creating a PowerPoint presentation of their story with pictures, audio, and other elements.

Advanced storytellers are moving to a more complex toolkit (again, in stages):

  • Use video editors to create stories – for example, Movie Maker. First, you can create your own interpretation of famous fairy tales, comic books, books or events. Then – your own history;
  • Competition between students for the most interesting (creative, deep) "movie-retelling". At the heart – historical events, key scientific achievements (for example, the invention of the wheel), news. As an option – "news broadcast" from the fresh news line of one of the well-known portals. Naturally, everything is in a language that is studied by students;
  • Creation of a complex digital project. For example, recipes video-book with the addition of interesting stories from close people, fellow students, famous chefs. You can divide the class into groups and assign it to each group as the final project of the course. Then the stories are recorded on DVD and distributed to all participants of the course. As an option, ready-made projects can be sold to raise funds for charity (this greatly increases the motivation of students).

Principles of Creating Stories

We continue to understand this fascinating way of learning English and other tongues. The method works not only in traditional groups, but also in virtual classes under the strict guidance of professional educators.

Why is it best to tell stories in a group? Because every story must have listeners. And the more, the better. Accordingly, the evaluation of students' work, first of all, depends on the opinion of the audience, based on the answers to the questions:

  • What has our narrator done to make his or her story interesting?
  • What elements have made the story interesting to you?

It is important that the main focus is on HOW the story was told, rather than on its direct filling.

At the same time, the maximum use of language capabilities – vocabulary, idiomatic constructions – is welcomed. All incomprehensible words and constructions can be separately examined in a classroom or online mode.

An interesting feature – words and constructions together with an understandable visual imagery are remembered by students much better than traditional cramming and exercises in textbooks.

We recommend using such questions when creating and evaluating stories:

  • Is the story exciting, with an interesting beginning, a problem, a solution, and an ending?
  • Is there enough information to make the story understandable to the audience?
  • Is the correct language (both grammatically and linguistically) used for a particular story?
  • To what extent does the tempo and intensity of the narrative "catch" the audience?
  • How clear is the voice accompaniment of the story, and does it coincide with the video?

Additional scores can be set for the richness of the language when creating a story – this will force students to glance at the dictionaries once again in search of synonyms, non-standard words, idioms.

Video Editors

We will separately consider the issue of various video editors. Not everyone knows how to use them, and not everyone is willing to spend too much time for studying.

If to go from the simplest – the easiest to use is the classic Windows Movie Maker. It is not overloaded with complex functions, buttons, effects, there are a lot of online lessons for beginning (and not very) users.

If there is no Movie Maker, you can use Apple iMovie (for Mac lovers), Microsoft Photo Story, Adobe Photoshop and Premier Elements, etc. The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling website has a lot of useful information for beginning "storytellers".

For more advanced users, there are professional editors. The most famous are Pinnacle Studio, Adobe Premier Pro CC, Sony Vegas Movie Studio, Cyberlink PowerDirector, Final Cut (for Mac) as well as offers from Wondershare, Ashampoo, Lightworks, Magix and AVS.

These are editors, available to fans of video editing and professionals of Hollywood level. Naturally, working with such editors requires serious involvement in the process. However, the result will please the eye.

Dare, study – only your imagination determines the limits of the possible here. The main thing is to remember the main slogan of professional storytellers: "It is important to make a good story, not a bad movie!"

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