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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 and depressing. It brings to light many issues that I have much personal experience with and since I recently left the US, yet again, didn’t wish to think about. I’ve spent much of my life living in countries other than the one of my birth, and have learned that the myths propagated in the US don’t match its reality. I certainly don’t blame the average person, as they are fed the same distorted version of history that I was fed growing up in the US. Many of us are conditioned to blame, fear, and hate the other struggling working-class person just across town, or on the other side of the globe, for our insecurity and suffering. If that person happens to have a different belief system, skin color, country of origin, or sexual orientation all kinds of ignorant distortions are unleashed. And if it is someone who doesn’t share our gender, or even worse, our nationality another set of crude, ignorant, fear-based, conditioned responses are heaved into the mix.
K experienced this conditioned ignorance and produced a digital story that describes her personal experience with it. Although, she makes it clear that her story is not only her story but the story of the many exploited peoples around the globe. Those who are forced, as K explains, “… to beg their oppressors for scraps from their fruitful plate,” as so many are. K describes the plate as, “The very same plate they had filled by raping, enslaving and killing my ancestors and my brothers and sisters around the world.”
Apparently, when she was eight years old her mother died of AIDS and she was taken to the US. She describes how all she could take with her was her love of books, learning, and knowledge and how she always found happiness in learning new things. Well, she certainly learned how to produce a powerful digital story and one that strikes very close to the truths that I have learned. It’s not a very pleasant story, but one that I believe carries many important messages.
The music has an Asian sound to it and yet later I had the impression that K might be Latina, and then I remembered her saying that she was speaking for “all” her brothers and sister around the world, so she got me, as I was labeling and she was making a point, or at least that’s the way I wish to interpret her music choice. I fell into a judgmental trap of my own making. I must, therefore, argue that her narrative is nicely supported by the music. The pace is slow, but I feel it is perfect for the seriousness of the content. The story is well narrated and it is quite engaging. The story was told in a linear fashion and did not stray or take any detours. K’s story was only three minutes long but takes one on an important journey. The images she chose were very creative as they ranged from simple drawings to shots of outer space. My favorite image is a slide that comes on screen at the 2:30 mark and is a quote from [Malcolm] X, which I included below. I was pleased to see that K’s digital story was sponsored by American Friends Service Committee and Coloradans For Immigrant Rights and created in a workshop facilitated by the Center for Digital Storytelling. Thanks for sharing!
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
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 they endeavor to explain philosophical concepts that one can employ to improve their quality of life. I’ve found these short videos quite valuable in introducing a subject, or concept, that is otherwise often difficult to grasp. They describe themselves in the following extract from their website, “The School of Life is devoted to developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture. We address such issues as how to find fulfilling work, how to master the art of relationships, how to understand one’s past, how to achieve calm and how better to understand, and where necessary change, the world.” Ambitious goals indeed, but the contemporary philosopher and author Alain de Botton certainly understood the challenge of sharing his “philosophy of everyday life” when he co-founded the school.
In this digital story de Bottom tackles the natural Chinese philosophy of Lao Tzu and focuses on the widely misunderstood concept of “wu wei.” The direct translation of the Chinese term wu wei is non-doing or doing nothing, which is at the root of its misunderstanding by many in the West. As de Bottom explains this is not an “… invitation to relax or fall into laziness or apathy…” but instead a call to the “noblest kind of action.” Wu wei is a vitally important concept in Daoism (often transliterated as Taoism) and invites one to follow the way, which is the Dao. Dao is the core concept of Daoism and is described in the following passage from the Dao De Jing, which entwines wu wei and the Dao, “The way never acts, yet nothing is left undone.” Wu wei advises a flowing natural action, as a stream might gently flow its course and around any natural obstacles it encounters, like boulders, and yet it flows on while eroding the obstacle.
It advises one to be naturally aware, as others act frantically and then lightly adjust one’s actions accordingly, so as not to react. Acting with purpose, and to be at peace while engaging in frenetic activity so that one can employ their skill and perform the task with optimum efficiency. It also invites us to abandon egotistical ideals that we might be tempted to force too violently on the world and instead focus on the true needs of the situation. No war on anything, but a natural awareness of, and unity with, one’s environment, through a reduction in one’s rigidity while flowing with one’s spiritual momentum. Change will come, like the gentle stream eroding the boulder.
I find much to value in Eastern philosophy and have studied it for many years, both formally and informally, although I don’t consider myself an expert. And yet, when it comes to wu wei, I argue that de Bottom understands, and furthermore, does a superb job of describing this confusing, yet simple, and very important concept. The story is narrated by de Bottom who again demonstrates his skill at storytelling while explaining difficult philosophical concepts. The story is professionally produced and the evidence of this is in the engaging images, theme music, and pacing. The text remains on screen long enough to afford one the opportunity to reflect on it, without disrupting the pace. Another quality production from The School of Life!
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 […]
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 audience could understand. Watts interpreted Eastern philosophy through a Japanese lens as he trained in Zen Buddhism early in his adult life. He was well versed in many religions including Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, Pantheism, Christianity, Religious Naturalism, and Taoism. Watts appreciated the respect for nature expressed in Taoism, and how its natural flowing ways were incorporated into Chinese Ch’an Buddhism, which later became known as Zen after its arrival in Japan. As Watts often acknowledged, much Eastern philosophy focuses on motivation and therefore emphasize that the act cannot be pure if the motivation is impure. Watts and Eastern philosophy in general also stress the importance of the path versus the goal which helps explain the following Eastern thought, satisfaction lies in the effort, not the attainment.
When one synthesizes these core aspects of Eastern philosophy it is easy to understand why Watts produced the talk “What if Money Was No Object?” I’ve learned a great deal from Watts but always keep in mind that his view of Eastern thought is through a Japanese lens, which at times is quite helpful, and yet at other times carries too many purely Japanese cultural elements with it, and hence, misinterprets the thinking of earlier Eastern philosophers. Fortunately, in this talk, which has since been made into a digital story, Watts accurately expresses several key concepts of early Eastern thought. He applies these concepts to education and how to live one’s life. These are concepts that I value and hold to be truths. And the important question he asks that permits one their path; what do I desire? Not what have I been taught to desire, but what path do I desire?
This digital story sets the audio excerpt from one of his talks to flowing digital images. Watts sharing his important philosophical views set to lively images with engaging background music. Philosophy as a digital story intrigues me and is a genre of digital storytelling which I hope to produce. I find this very creative as well as invaluable, as we are taught vocational skills in our educational system but little about how to live. The producer of this digital story did indeed do their research and have a firm grasp of Watts’ philosophy. The flow and pacing of the images and music support Watts’ message and are well chosen. The images indicate that the producer understood their audience and the 7,800 YouTube up-votes and comments affirm this. I’m not certain if the producer had the proper permissions, but they do credit alanwatts.org. Nicely done and a worthy copyright risk.
View on FlowVella – Presentation Software for Mac iPad and iPhone
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 […]
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 is simply titled “Nana’s House,’ which applies to both stories. The warmth, welcome, peace, and love that Abigail and Victoria experience when they visit Nana’s house is a theme which runs throughout the stories. The poems describe how their visits enliven their senses and encourage the dreams and hope of childhood. The first, “Nanna’s House,” emphasizes physical sensations, whereas the second, “Grandma’s Roof,” is more focused on the dreams and fantasies of her father’s childhood.
The takeaway for me is that some children do indeed realize that the love and nurturing provided by healthy parenting is invaluable. These girls, not only realize this but invest the time and effort required to pay tribute to it through their digital storytelling. Not the often seen childhood perspective and portrayal of parent as hero, or god, but instead a much more “sophisticated,” flowing, acknowledgment and appreciation.
The students used images creatively to tell their stories and the images that were chosen very nicely entwine with the young narrators’ poetry and voices. The images are flawlessly synchronized to the lines and together present very warm digital stories. Some of the transitions are a bit lively but I feel this is due to the creativity of youth. Their project was well planned and the complete transcript provided in the YouTube description offers some proof of this. I also enjoyed the poetry as narrative and will further investigate using this device in digital storytelling. It appears that this digital story was produced using PowerPoint or some other presentation application and the creators had a good command of the media. These somewhat short digital stories were crafted with care and I appreciate their effort.
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.
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 Reyes, was eight years old when she began working full-time picking fruit for less than a dollar per hour. She lived and worked with her family in Native American migrant camps in the northwest. She describes how she learned to knife-fight before she learned to ride a bike. She was not permitted to have books as they were heavy and therefore a burden due to her family’s frequent moves. The story describes that life in Native American migrant worker camps is about survival and “filling your belly” with no room for hope. When she was twelve years old her natural curiosity drew her to the bookmobile when it visited the fields.
The bookmobile and the kindness of its librarian brought her hope in the form of literature. From the books, Reyes “learned” that hope was not just a word. The power of literature is illustrated through her story. This is a very important point that I fear is often overlooked in this era. It was not always so, as many great thinkers attached serious value to literature. On French literature, Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, “I cannot at all conceive in which century of history one could haul together such inquisitive and at the same time delicate psychologists as one can in contemporary Paris: I can name as a sample – for their number is by no means small, … or to pick out one of the stronger race, a genuine Latin to whom I am particularly attached, Guy de Maupassant.”
Reyes “learned” from the books that hope not just a word and this gave her the courage to change her life by eventually leaving the labor camps. She later became a librarian in Pierce County, Washington where she worked with books for thirty-three years.
I have critiqued several digital stories employing photographs in motion as slides, and others employing videos, but this is the first using animation. This short, well-structured, powerful story’s use of animation makes it appear to be professionally produced. The jazz background music played during the intro with the captions introducing Reyes provide the hook, which drew me in. The narrator’s voice is gentle and clear, and the audio quality is superb. The cute characters in the animation are silent and the narrator tells the story acted out in the animation. This provides the warm feeling of storytelling and makes it feel even more intimate as if the narrator is sharing her story with me, personally. This very creative little story is very well done and one that I truly appreciate. Thanks for sharing!
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 […]
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 […]
“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 […]
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 […]
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 any “hope” she has of a future is absolutely heartbreaking. To tell a young person that they are going “Nowhere Anyhow” is an attempt to do this, as they are not only a failure but will always be a failure. Darcy Alexandra skillfully employs ethos, pathos, and logos to tell her personal story of a waitress, an adopted daughter, a coffee shop in winter, and her father to expose one such case.
With economy, as the story is only two minutes and forty-seven seconds long, Alexandra communicates her story using black and white images, which demonstrates that a digital story does not have to be shiny or flashy to engage its audience. In some of the frames, she starts with a closeup and then zooms out, which had a great impact on me, as I focused on the bigger picture which she is working to communicate. The soundtrack matches the story, and the tone of the narrators voice so well, that it feels as if it were composed for “this” digital story. Again, she demonstrates that noise and flash are not required in digital storytelling. The project was obviously well planned as it works so well as a finished product proves. Alexandra obviously knew her audience as she says, “…with thanks to …. 10 year old girls everywhere …” so that they may realize that there is indeed an everywhere.
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, […]
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 […]
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 that they must connect to some shared personal experience. Although no one in my family was ever herded off to a concentration camp like Masumoto’s grandmother, I do have dear friends that underwent this tragic experience. I first learned of this wholesale injustice many years ago when I was studying the history of WWII while living in Japan. Until that point, I was ignorant of the terrible manner in which Japanese Americans were treated during the war. Many years later, while living in Hawaii, my wife and I worked for a Japanese-American family that had been arrested in Hawaii and forcibly evacuated to camps in the American West. My wife and I discussed this experience with these now elderly people and the long-term negative effects this internment had on their family. They expressed little anger but are still at a loss to understand how the U.S. Government justified this cruelty. My explanation is that when violent empires collide, empires that teach their citizens that they are superior, or might I say exceptional, it most often entails dehumanizing the other which permits all types of injustice. The fact they were handled like criminals and suspect due to their ethnicity is a crime in itself and one that must never be repeated.
The story worked very well, although it is actually two stories skillfully woven into one. It engaged me, possibly more than it might engage some, due to the experience of my friends that I described above. The characters are very real and I feel a personal connection to them. The story makes the importance of education very clear and also reminds us of the different opportunities we have due to circumstances that are beyond our control.
The project was very well researched and holds up to what I have learned of this tragic episode in U.S. History. Masumoto succeeds in sharing the experience of her grandmother without resorting to preaching. Although, her voice is a bit dramatic for my liking, and is not necessary, as the story itself evokes an emotional response.
The digital story itself was not overly creative, although the images she included nicely supported her storytelling and were visually appealing. I do wish that Masumoto would have included some period background music, as this would have added some life to her production.
I truly appreciate her sharing “Rites of Passage” with the world, nicely done!
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 […]
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 […]
I was immediately struck by how openminded Guy Merchant was concerning graffiti in his neighborhood. I, like many, have often viewed graffiti as a form of art, and yet art that is defacing the property of others. Although I strive to be openminded I am quite sure that I would not have approached neighborhood graffiti as Merchant (2010) describes:
As a professional educator with an interest in literacy practices—and particularly in the ways in which some of these practices are formalized and held in high esteem while others are marginalized, or even, as in the case of most graffiti, simply made illegal—I’d been photographing the tags, slogans and wall-art in my neighborhood for a year or so. I used these images in my work, as examples of forms and mark-making processes that normally are overlooked as a literacy practice. (p. 79)
And yes, my closed-minded judgment of graffiti would have led to a missed opportunity, as I too would have overlooked graffiti as a literacy practice. Merchant (2010) turned neighborhood graffiti photos into a positive learning experience by posting them on his existing Flickr account where they came to the attention of graffiti artists, who also use Flicker to store images of their own work. He was then drawn into an “affinity space” after receiving illuminating comments on some of the graffiti photographs he had posted (p. 80). According to Merchant (2010), he was later invited to a Graffiti Jam where he came to better understand these artists and their need for a canvas that was met by doing “… ‘illegals’ on warehouse buildings and railway bridges …” (p. 80). He, therefore, experienced what I might describe as a very positive social networking experience, starting with an online community that culminated in a face-face meeting with some of the affinity space members. Flicker facilitated this experience since he had originally “gone public” with the graffiti photographs using their online platform.
Later in the chapter Merchant (2010) shares with readers “… how social networking around photographs illustrates some of the central features of Web 2.0, the attraction of user-generated content, and how new practices are emerging which present exciting opportunities for learners and teachers” (p. 81). By posting photographs on Flicker and allowing others to add comments and tags one invites the opportunity for the creation of affinity spaces, where the photo, acting as the social object under discussion, is central to the space. The social affiliation is driven by the photograph. Discussing the photograph causes members of the affinity space to reflect more deeply on it, and the opportunity for valuable reflective learning is created. In our busy world I often feel that I fail to adequately reflect on much of the knowledge I am exposed to, and therefore fail to truly understand it, or recall it when it might prove useful. Hence, I value learning practices that aid me in reflection, and those learning devices which surround an object, where one must take the time to reflect on, and discuss an object are invaluable.
In this piece Merchant (2010) also introduced me to VoiceThread, which he describes as a tool that promotes “learning through reflection and interaction.” VoiceThread permits the importation of Flicker images and once images have been imported a slideshow can be created. A discussion is then encouraged which is centered on the slideshow and participants can comment in writing, or record a spoken comment (p. 97). I have already signed up for a free (limited) VoiceThread account, as I see where this interactive, multimodal tool could be very useful in teaching English as a foreign language (EFL), which is my passion. This reading presented me with many new ideas and concepts focused on learning with images, which I intend to add to my ever-growing bag of teaching tools.
Merchant, G. (2010). Visual networks: Learning and Photosharing. DIY Media: Creating, Sharing, and Learning with New Technologies, 79-102.
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. […]
My wife and I recently moved into this cozy little two bedroom apartment in Uijongbu-Shi, ROK. We arrived two weeks before the Fall 2016 semester commenced, so we furnished the space quickly. The computer and its monitor traveled with me as checked baggage. The day […]
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 example of a student-produced, compelling, digital story. Another reason for choosing it is the fact that it addresses L2 learning and ethnolinguistic issues that frequently arise, and all too often hamper language learning. Teaching EFL is my professional focus and this digital story addresses some of my concerns with L2 learning environments.
I found this digital story quite well done and therefore find it difficult to critique. Added to this is the fact that I have never produced a digital story, which makes it doubly difficult to review, and/or criticize another’s fine effort. That said, this assignment requires that I examine and review a digital story, so critique I will.
This digital story appears to have been produced using MS PowerPoint, or another slide show presentation application. The graphics, photos, and text are added to the slides, and then the narration is later overlaid. The completed slide show is then exported in video format, which is one of the most straightforward ways to produce a digital story, and in this case, it worked quite well.
The video runs for six minutes and thirty seconds and I found it a bit long. I’m not certain where it should be cut, but possibly some of the language examples that are presented could be simplified, which would reduce the overall run time. I noted that the audio track levels vary between some of the slides, and maintaining similar levels would also improve the production. The background level of the music track could also be increased, although I prefer background music that is too low, versus music that overpowers the narrator.
I truly appreciate the images that were used in this production and found that they definitely supported the story. I do indeed understand why Christiansen and Koelzer (2016) included it as a successful example of a student-produced digital story.
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 […]