Digital Storytelling to Creating Tutorials


1. Storytelling

Reading about Digital Story Telling made me think about how I initially started getting students to create videos in my class. In my previous school (in 1st grade), we started the year with an oral story telling unit so that the students could get used to telling stories. The students would record a folk tale (or a fractured folktale), create an illustration, and I would put the image and audio recording together using something like iMovie.  This resulted in something like this:

It’s cute, the students get to practice telling stories with expression and fluency, draw pictures that matched what was being said and the students can always look back at this digital artifact they created in 1st grade.

2. Public Service announcement (psa) video

The year after that the 1st Grade team (at The School at Columbia University) and I talked about our concept of “Change” and how we can help the students learn about the idea of becoming the catalyst for a change. The idea that we came up with was a video where students can teach incoming 1st graders about taking care of our community.

I discussed with the students what are important aspects when a person is shooting a video including making sure the subject is on screen and words should be heard clearly. This is what my class that year created.

3. tutorial

When I began teaching in third grade, I collaborated with Dylan Ryder (@DylanMRyder), the Educational Technologist for the Intermediate Grades at The School at Columbia University. We decided to collaborate on a math/tech project and brainstormed discipline specific goals. We created a chart and a simple plan that took us about a week or two to complete.

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 10.00.45 AM As we went along, we also added additional goals such as purposeful use of color to our goals. Here’s a sample of the end product: it together

Through the process of a few different video projects, here are a few teaching points that I feel are important when teaching students to create videos for any purpose:

  • Use expression
  • Be Fluent
  • Be Clear and loud
  • Pictures should match what is being said
  • Use colors purposefully to highlight main ideas
  • The subject of the video should be on screen



3 thoughts on “Digital Storytelling to Creating Tutorials

  1. Hey Akio,

    I really like your video creation of your students teaching the incoming first graders about taking care of their community. What a brilliant way to teach the incoming first graders! Since I work at a school with the majority of my students who are English language learners, showing this video clip at the beginning of the school year would definitely keep my students engaged. You got me motivated to create a video, too… Thank you for sharing the video clip!

  2. Nice! Video can be used in so many different ways in the classroom – it’s so great to see two examples here 🙂 The key themes that you reference for video production will be relevant no matter what kind of of video you’re creating so they’re good message to reinforce again and again.

  3. Akio! It was great to see you and your students hitting the whole digital storytelling thing from so many conceptual angles, levels of technical ability, and across different ages.
    Thanks to you, I now have some excellent examples elegantly illustrating the core ideas from C3W4 that I can now unpack with my own students, and the possibilities seem limitless and all very fruitful!
    “How small a thought it takes to fill a whole life!” – Wittgenstein

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