Monday, August 30, 2010

Reflection on Creating a Personal Digital Story

NOTE: This reflection is part of an assignment requirement for Lamar University course EDLD 5363 Multimedia & Video Technology

Creating a personal digital story was a rewarding experience for me. I have used Microsoft Photo Story before and even taught teachers how to use it in workshops, but I have never used it to create a product that was truly individual to me.

The most difficult part was finding a topic. I think I lead a rather unadventurous life; what story could I possibly have to tell? The Digital Storytelling Cookbook (Lambert, 2010) from the Center for Digital Storytelling was a wonderful read, and it helped me discover that I do have stories because everyone does. In fact, after reading the cookbook, I had an opposite problem – I had trouble deciding which story I wanted to tell! Finally, I decided to share a bit of my journey toward becoming an instructional technology specialist.

The process of putting the story script together had many layers and multiple occasions for editing. To get started, I used a modified version of Lambert's (2010) "Robert Frost" suggestion and wrote down everything I could think of about my story for ten minutes. This exercise served me well in providing the meat of the content. I then reworked my ten-minute writing into an initial script and story board.

When I compare the initial script/story board I shared with my team mates to the final story, it is similar in its content, but different in the theme I wound up portraying. All of that change happened during the natural reflective process that took place during the creation and revision of the story. After going through this process, the former language arts teacher in me is now full of ideas for using digital storytelling to teach students about narrative elements including story mapping and original story creation.

Next challenges to surmount: Finding photos that would represent my journey since I don’t have many photos of my years in the classroom, and keeping the story succinct and to the point. Fortunately, there's a whole world of Creative Commons licensed photos out there, so the graphics took some time only because there were so many to choose from! The two minute time limit on the length of the story was just what a wordy person like me needed. My Achilles heel in writing or talking is wordiness, so I actually enjoy word or time limits because they force me to focus on the most important details of what I need to communicate.

Overall, I am pleased with my first effort at a personal digital story and what I learned throughout the process. After seeing the finished product, there are a few things I’d like to tweak, but there are always a few things I’d like to tweak in a project. Due dates are a good limiting factor for me, too!

This blog post would not be complete without my story, so here it is below. Constructive feedback is appreciated!




Reference

Lambert, J. (2010). Digital storytelling cookbook. Berkeley, CA: Center for Digital Storytelling. Retrieved from http://www.storycenter.org/cookbook.pdf
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