the best of qualities is dispassion

Tag: DS106

Digital Story Assignment: My Food Revolution

This is a digital story which I produced for my Learning With Digital Stories course at CU Denver. I used ScreenFlow to produce it and hosted in on Vimeo. It is not connected to my focal theme for the class which was using digital storytelling […]

My Response to: “The Intelligence of Emotions: Philosopher Martha Nussbaum on How Storytelling Rewires US and Why Befriending Our Neediness Is Essential for Happiness”

This week I couldn’t resist focusing on emotions and truth. These two issues boiled to the surface due to the recent heated debates concerning fake news, whatever that means, and the harm which is done by those producing it; that is those who sacrifice the […]

Digital Story Response No. 11: “Ghost Dance”

While searching the StoryCenter’s YouTube channel for recently uploaded digital stories I encountered “Ghost Dance.” Early into watching Tommy Orange’s digital story, I connected it with Dee Brown’s (1971) seminal book “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West”  which is credited with exposing some of the systematic destruction of Native American tribes and their culture by European immigrants. Brown (1971) describes the Massacre at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, which was perpetrated by the U.S. Army against the Lakota Sioux and happened as a result of the Ghost Dance religious movement. The massacre at Wounded Knee was one of many incidents, and the most bloody, which occurred during the Ghost Dance War of 1890 and 1891.


Orange connects the historic events that Brown (1971) describes with the current protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline by over one-hundred Native American tribes. He employs moving images from early Edison motion pictures as the background for much of his narrative. Orange describes his story as, “A story about the first films ever recorded, what we choose to keep, and making sure we don’t look away.” He is asking if the past isn’t being repeated, although many prefer to think that as a society the US has evolved beyond behaviors previously justified by manifest destiny. Has it?

This story really works and is very well structured. Orange did his research and presents compelling facts in order to captivate his audience and then asks many important questions of them. He works to engage his audience in deep reflection on this very sad subject.  As I previously stated, I immediately connected Orange’s digital story with Brown’s (1971) book, which I believe was the producer’s hope. The way he says, “They all want to look away, look forward, but it all keeps looking like the past again.” I strongly agree with this statement and the older I get the more I feel this way. It’s not at all hopeless but the US must come to terms with its history or the collective willful blindness will enable more of the same. Thanks for sharing!

Brown, D. (1971). Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Response to Chapter 5: “Seven Steps Of Digital Storytelling”

I enjoyed reading this piece by Lambert (2012) and learned a good bit from it. In this course, I have been viewing and responding to digital stories. I have also been researching what can be learned through digital storytelling. And through my journey, I have […]

Digital Story Response No 10: “The Story of My Story”

Today, I’m responding to K’s digital story “The Story of my Story” and this feels right, as today is the day after the US presidential election. I stumbled across this story some weeks ago but at the time I felt its message was too serious […]

Daily Create: A Red Themed Still Life

A Red Themed Still Life

My Response to “The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind”

This week I turned my attention towards philosophy and the issue of focusing the mind and improving one’s sustained attention. Due to my refocusing, I critiqued and wrote a response to the digital story “Eastern Philosophy: Wu Wei” which I

Digital Story Response No 9: “Eastern Philosophy: Wu Wei”

The digital story “Eastern Philosophy: Wu Wei” is hosted the on School of Life’s YouTube channel. I first encountered this channel when I was attempting to decipher the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche for an undergraduate philosophy course. The School of Life produces short videos wherein […]

Daily Create: More pumpkin! Korean Pumpkin Porridge

Response to Chapter 3: “The Evolution of the Digital Storytelling Practice”

I enjoyed reading Joe Lambert’s piece describing the evolution of digital storytelling. Part of my enjoyment arose from an important connection between Lambert’s piece and the digital story that I critiqued this week. The digital story was “What If Money Was No Object?” which was […]

Digital Story Response No. 8: “What if Money Was No Object?”

Alan Watts was a very influential British intellectual, philosopher, writer, and speaker of the twentieth-century. Watts spent much of his adult life living and teaching in the United States. He wrote much on Eastern philosophy and worked to put it into terms that his Western […]

My Response to “At Last: Youth Culture and Digital Media”

This week I critiqued and wrote a response to the digital stories “Nanna’s House” and “Grandma’s Roof.” These digital stories were produced by two seventh-graders, Abigail and Victoria. The girls composed poems about their visits to their grandmothers’ homes and then read their poetry as the narration for their digital stories. This worked so well that I decided to search for an article that describes the pros and cons of young people using this device in digital storytelling. My searching led me to, “At Last: Youth Culture and Digital Media: New Literacies for New Times,” which I will respond to in this blogpost. Glynda Hull published this paper in 2003 at the University of California, Berkeley addressing the benefits of community-based digital storytelling programs for youth. In the piece Hull made some excellent points, a few of which I intend to address. I also intend to consider one she fails to discuss, which is the sustainability of community-based digital storytelling projects.

Hull (2003) focuses on the Digital Underground Storytelling for Youth (DUSTY) program as an example of the creativity and social cooperation that digital storytelling can bring to a community. Hull (2003) describes DUSTY as, “… a collection of after-school, evening, and summer programs that is a university-community collaborative aimed at closing the digital divide” (p. 230). She then explains the benefits of DUSTY and like programs in the following:

As a community dedicated to providing access to new technologies and to promoting particular social practices around them – for example, ways of thinking about stories, self, and community, and ways of interacting and participating – DUSTY isn’t an isolated phenomenon. In neighborhood centers, youth organizations, community theaters, and faith-based institutions around the country and across the world, youth are similarly envisioning, creating, rehearsing, performing, and revisioning, using language, media, their voices and bodies to represent themselves, their families and friends, their communities, their ideas, their takes on our world. (p. 230)

Hull (2003) explains that youth, due to their active participation in such programs, are not only acquiring 21st-century skills but are actually reinventing and invigorating human communication. She argues that, “… they are doing so by juxtaposing and joining a variety of semiotic systems and technologies” (p. 230). She also argues that there is a great benefit to these media based out-of-school programs and considers them a valuable complement to school-based literacy instruction (p. 231).

Credit: Indigo Flores
Photo Credit: Indigo Flores

Later, Hull (2003) makes the case that, “… some forms of representation seem better for expressing or performing some kinds of meanings than others.” She argues that while alphabetic essays are well suited for certain types of critical thinking that the type of digital storytelling produced by youth at DUSTY may be better at fostering critical thinking in other areas. Hull (2003) does acknowledge that some digital storytelling does indeed relinquish some of the evidence-based arguments associated with more traditional forms of argumentation (p. 231). I agree with much of what Hull writes and am becoming increasingly convinced that digital storytelling does indeed have some if not all of the advantages and benefits that Hull details, although my learning about digital stories is in its early stages I do hold out great hope for it as a learning device.

As I previously wrote Hull’s research is focused on the DUSTY program based in Oakland, California. DUSTY was founded in 2001 by Michael James, Director of the Oakland Technology and Education Center and a Professor from UC Berkeley. My web-searches for DUSTY unearthed the 2008 Edutopia article Telling Their Tales, At Last: Urban Youth Use Technology to Express Themselves which conveyed great hope for the program and its plans for going global. The piece describes How DUSTY was helping to build up kids’ self-esteem while bridging the “digital divide” for some disadvantaged youth in the San Francisco Bay area.

The article includes a link to DUSTY Oakland which reports that the site is temporarily unavailable and the latest post on their FaceBook page was in 2013. I found only a handful of digital stories on the DUSTY YouTube channel, with the latest upload last year. I was hoping to find DUSTY thriving and was therefore very disappointed to find that it is apparently withering. The cause could be budgetary pressures in this time of large cuts to higher education in many parts of the country, or possibly other problems and pressures.

As we shift learning to the web how might copyrighted images, music, and video hinder the creative process, as sites like YouTube and FaceBook take down, or mute perceived violations. I openly wonder if these copyright obstacles might have added to the pressures on a program like DUSTY. Hull (2003) describes how the youth at DUSTY tend to include images, music, and video from popular hip-hop culture in their digital stories (p. 229). Of course, there is much available through the Creative Commons and other copyright-free sources, but will this media satisfy the creative desires of our youth and permit the free-flow of their artistic expression. The chilling effect of copyrights on education, especially in this era of web 2.0 is real and must be continually discussed.

It takes a great deal of energy and determination to establish university-community collaborative programs like DUSTY. One must sing the praises of those with the fortitude to establish them and I hope that DUSTY is indeed thriving, somewhere, hidden away from my prying eyes and web-searches.


Hull, G. (2003). At Last: Youth Culture and Digital Media: New Literacies for New Times. Research in the Teaching of English, 38(2), 229-233. Retrieved from

Digital Story Response No. 7: “Nanna’s House” and “Grandma’s Roof”

Poetry, written and performed by 7th graders is used to narrate these digital stories. This one digital story actually contains two which are packaged serially and labeled “7th Grade Poetry.” This film is a fine example of collaboration and creative cooperation, as even the transcript […]

Assignment Bank Video: When It’s Cold Outside in Uijongbu

This is a video assignment for my Learning With Digital Stories course. I was required to produce I short video where I describe what I do when it’s cold outside. I live in a cozy little apartment in the pictured building. (more…)

Digital Story Response No. 6: “The Bookmobile”

As they say, I’m a sucker for happy endings” and I also love books. Therefore a digital story that includes both books and a happy ending is irresistible to me, and this rich story includes both. The Bookmobile begins by describing that the narrator, Storm […]

Response to Chapter 7: “Social learning”

I argue that some topics, even those which are seemingly innocuous, are better suited to abstract discussions than large collaborative projects. In these cases, the educator can offer both sides of an argument and then encourage an open discussion of it, and perhaps, a later […]

Digital Story Response No. 5: “Josef”

In my search for a digital story for this week’s critique, I finally realized that digital storytelling has become an important outlet for people who feel the need to share their pain. I encountered so many tragic stories of violence, including war, child abuse, sexual assault, racism, neglect and more. Some of which were so painful and filled with emotion that I couldn’t finish them. I can only hope that those sharing their tragic stories are able to use digital storytelling as part of their healing process. I also hope that those of us who inflict such pain on others learn from them.

Although these are crucially important stories, how could I possibly critique them, hence I settled on a more pleasant story, Josef. The digital story Josef was produced by Brad Johnson, it tells a compelling story of appreciation for what is, while also reminding us of the importance of perspective. Josef is the narrator’s maternal grandfather who came from the old country and lived through very hard times in the United States. Josef appreciates what he has, most importantly family and abundant food. The discussions at family gatherings are centered on food, which was difficult for the narrator to comprehend when he was a child.

This digital story is artfully crafted and really works, as it engaged me and held my attention until the end. The way in which the narrator slowly reveals the identity of Josef is very interesting, as he had me asking, who is Josef, which kept me focused on his story. The still images intermixed with the framed video elements was very impressive and encouraged me to investigate the technique.  The black and white videos and photos floating across the screen mixed with dated color videos effectively provide the mood for the story. The audio was crisp and clear and the narrator’s voice and pace were well matched to the images. The background music was pleasant and helped sustain the pace of the story and at the correct level. This digital storyteller had command of the media and created a very successful digital story. Thanks for sharing!

Digital Safety Daily Create: Warning, future of the web.

Soon, web pages may be plastered with advertising like this building.

My Response to “The Use of Digital Storytelling for English Learning”

“We must teach communication comprehensively in all its forms. Today we work with the written or spoken word as the primary form of communication. But we all need to understand the importance of graphics, music, and cinema, which are just as powerful and in some […]

Assignment Bank Audio: Do You Hear What I Hear, Walking In Uijongbu Korea

Do You hear What I hear?  Was an audio assignment for my CU Denver Learning With Digital Stories Course. The assignment details:

Record glimpses of the different sounds you hear throughout the day, whether it be busy street noises, people talking, birds chirping, etc. and compile it into a single audio clip on Sound Cloud.  Use an audio software such as Audacity to put them all in one.


Digital Story Response No. 4: “Nowhere Anyhow”

This short digital story is artfully crafted and presents a girl’s history that must be told over, and over again until we finally hear it and correct the culture which permits it. A culture that all too often strips away a young female’s self-worth and […]

Response to Chapter 2: “Music remix in the classroom” and Chapter 3: “DIY podcasting in education”

With this topic, I’m certainly feeling my age as well as revealing my tastes in music and limited knowledge of pop culture. I’m afraid the remix culture, at least as it exists today, has left me in the dust.  Although I do watch many videos, […]

My Response to “Using Digital Storytelling to Support EFL Learning in China”

One of my principal concerns with teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in Korea is the learner’s “affective filter.” Lightbrown & Spada (2013) write the following description of the affective filter hypothesis:

Krashen’s affective filter hypothesis is proposed to account for the fact that some people who are exposed to large quantities of comprehensible input do not necessarily acquire language successfully. The ‘Affective filter’ is the metaphorical barrier that prevents learners from acquiring language even when appropriate input is available. Affect refers to feelings of anxiety or negative attitudes that … may be associated with poor learner outcomes. A  learner who is tense, anxious, bored may filter out input, making it unavailable for acquisition. (p.106)

Hence, one can understand my concern, as skillfully immersing studious learners in the target language (TL) in no way guarantees acquisition. Not only must the learner be motivated but the TL must be shared in such a way that it does not increase the learner’s affective filter. Although anecdotal, I have attempted three foreign languages with mixed results, and through these experiences came to realize that learner anxiety played a major role. I did best when I played the part of the clown and just had fun with the learning process, although this was not always appreciated by those teaching. And of course there are many variables and concerns when it comes to EFL acquisition, but my current focus is on reducing learner anxiety.

I am not alone in this concern and was, therefore, pleased to encounter Yue Dong’s (2015) paper “Using digital storytelling to support EFL learning in China” as what he shares about EFL in China parallels with what I have already experienced, and will likely experience here in Korea. Dong’s research is excellent and he shares it in this well organized seventy-seven-page paper. The section that drew my attention is titled “Promoting motivation and lowering the affective filter.”  Dong details how EFL learners in China keep quiet as they feel vulnerable and fear losing face if they make mistakes in front of their peers, which greatly inhibits their EFL learning. Dong links this to Krashen’s affective filter hypothesis and describes it as “second language anxiety.” He goes on to explain how students who experience overwhelming anxiety may even give up on the learning experience. He cites Lence (2013) who states, “Research confirms that digital storytelling helps to build a conducive learning environment where language learners are highly motivated and feel relaxed and safe.” Dong then references Yoon (2012) when he writes, “Yoon explored the change in Korean ELL learners’ learning attitude after attending 12-week digital storytelling-based English classes. Results revealed that Korean ELL learners strongly felt less anxious and stressed in a digital storytelling project, which arouses greater learning interests and contributed to more active class participation” (Dong, 2015, p. 17).   

Dong not only explores the positive outcomes of digital storytelling on Chinese students but further cites Yoon, who researched the impact on Korean EFL learners. The more I research digital storytelling and second language learners the more positive news I encounter. I will continue to explore this topic and also delve deeper into Dong’s excellent paper when time permits. Teaching EFL using digital storytelling is definitely in my future.


Dong, Y. (2015). Using digital storytelling to support EFL learning in China (2015). Retrieved September 12, 2016, from

Lightbown, P., & Spada, N. M. (2013). How languages are learned. Oxford University Press.

Digital Story Response No. 3: “Rites of Passage”

The digital story “Rites of Passage” compares and contrasts the educational experience of the storyteller, Nikiko Masumoto, with the educational experience of her Japanese-American grandmother during WWII. This story made me acutely aware of the fact that for digital stories to truly appeal to me […]

Daily Create: Twelve Photos of 10,000 Won Korean Bank Notes

I couldn’t resist sharing this photograph of twelve 10,000 won bank notes for today’s Daily Create, #tdc1709. I have read a good bit about King Sejong the Great and I’m now learning the writing system he created, Hangeul. It is a very logical system and […]

A Neighborhood Shortcut in Uijongbu-Shi, ROK

I take this shortcut several times a day which is just a few steps from my door in Uijongbu-Shi, ROK. My wife suggested that it would make a nice nighttime shot, and I agree. I realized after shooting it that it was not the assigned Daily Create, as I had wandered off from the assigned page, and yet I couldn’t resist submitting it. I often wander and just can’t help myself as I’m a natural vagabond. Apologies!

Neighborhood Shortcut

Digital Story Response No. 2: “My Iligan”

While searching for a digital story to critique for this week’s assignment I, fortunately, stumbled upon the prize-winning story “My Iligan” produced by Arkay Timonera of the Philippines. Timonera was awarded first prize in the 2009 My Iligan digital storytelling contest held in Mindanao, Philippines. […]

Digital Story Response No. 1: “Ethnolinguistic Profile”

I chose to critique the digital story “Ethnolinguistic Profile: Self-study of a Multilingual Person” as it was attached to the scholarly article that I responded to this week, which was “Digital Storytelling: Using Different Technologies for EFL.”  Christiansen and Koelzer (2016) included it as an […]

My Response to “Digital Storytelling: Using Different Technologies for EFL”

One of the main reasons I recently relocated to Uijongbu-Shi, Republic of Korea (ROK) was to teach. My focus will be on teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and I plan to take advantage of available technology, to better my teaching, and to improve learners’ L2 acquisition. Since my arrival here, just a few short weeks ago, I have observed many Koreans, from young grade-school children, to grandfatherly types with portable digital devices in-hand, primarily smartphones. The proliferation of smartphones here is truly amazing and my first-hand experience bears out what I have been reading prior to my arrival, which states that the ROK is likely the most connected country in the world. (more…)

Bike Shop in Uijongbu-Shi, Korea

This bike shop is just a short walk from our apartment and I’ve noticed that it is a bit of a gathering place for some neighborhood gentlemen. There is a bike trail which snakes along a river that runs just past where the other fellow […]

Response to Chapter 1: “Sampling ‘The New’ in New Literacies” by Lankshear & Knobel

The sociocultural aspects of “new literacies” described in this chapter immediately grabbed my attention and caused me to reflect on an experience I had last semester. In my online Games and Learning course, the readings were posted online and two students were asked to read […]

Family Portrait DC1, Daily Create #tdc1693

My wife and I recently relocated to the Republic of Korea from the Big Island of Hawaii. I lived in Korea for most of the nineties but have not visited since we moved back to the U.S.A. in 1999. Therefore, I have not seen my nieces since 1999, when they visited our home on a nearly daily basis. When I left Korea Seulgi and Binna were thirteen and eleven, respectively. Last weekend they reentered my life when they showed up at our new digs bearing hugs, gifts and beaming smiles. They are now thirty and twenty-eight and have grown into intelligent, independent, warm-hearted, lovely women. When they were told that their fifty-nine-year-old uncle was in grad school they quickly offered to help me with my first Daily Create, the result of which is shown below in a family portrait.

From left to right: my mother-in-law Jeongja, Seulgi, my wife Hyejin, myself, and Binna. The family resemblance is striking!Family Portrait DC1