Chapter 3 of the Ramsay text stressed the importance of “students moving away from “about” presentations–those that merely summarize information–and toward higher-level presentations that draw conclusions and make applications with the information they learn.” I think this is a very interesting, yet extremely true point; far too often do students do projects on PowerPoint that just restate certain information. There is no room for creativity or more complex thinking. While the students could reach these goals on their own with any given project, I think teachers should do a better job developing and directing more advanced projects.
In the text, Ramsay discusses how she used a webinar to learn more about digital storytelling.
As her students grew fond of this idea and began anxiously starting their own project on the American Revolution, it would be very easy for them to fall into the trap of just summarizes the facts they have learned. However, with the guidance of a teacher, they were able to think more critically about the significant moment in history and make connections to the present.
With media access, I think digital storytelling offers an endless amount of possibilities for different ways to tell a story. Kids, especially in middle grades, would love this!
I like how Ramsay tackled this project for many reasons. First, she used what she had to make it work. For example, she used a free online tool for the creation of the digital stories. This proves that teachers do not need to be fancy and top-notch in order to successfully carry out a lesson. Another thing I liked was that the students worked in groups. This supports the idea of how beneficial collaborative learning can be; it also worked for her in the area of time constraints. Although I am still unsure of how I feel regarding student-created rubrics, I loved that she provided them with a checklist. The final rubric also consisted of key points for this particular group project.
I can see myself doing a similar project in my future classroom. I loved how the class had a “screening day” to watch all of the finished products- such a fun way to conclude these projects! My high school Spanish teacher did something similar, and I will always remember it as being fun and effective. We were learning about health and wellness words in class. Our assignment was to get into groups and create a short workout routine and record it. Then, the class spent the day viewing all of the “DVDs” and participating in all of the routines!
I love activities that include cooperative learning, technology, and creativity! 🙂