I was able to play around a bit with the Storybird tool (http://storybird.com/) and create a story problem for my students to solve. In the spirit of Dan Meyers and his Three Act math problems, I created a problem that didn’t necessarily give every piece of information to students, but instead gave them the chance to explore a relatively real world situation and answer in a way that makes sense to the student. I probably gave away too much information as it is, but it’s a start. After going through and solving the problem that I have presented, students will be asked to create their own digital story problem. Not only have I modeled digital storytelling, but I have redefined and modified my original lesson to make a richer, more meaningful experience for students. I would say that creating their own story problems, sharing, and solving would be much more beneficial than completing a worksheet of story problems. Every year, I have students that routinely skip the story problems in the homework assignments in the book because they say they are too confusing. If they begin to create their own story problems, students will be looking at the problem from the other side, hopefully not nearly as intimidated by all of the words anymore! Here is my Storybird, entitled “Karl Gets Lost”.
Reactions From Others!
Two of my colleagues looked at this, and they were both amazed. One happens to be an English teacher, and she couldn’t wait to get her students working on one of these this fall. The other was a math teacher, and I don’t think she’s stopped talking about it yet. We have been struggling in the math department for years trying to get students to tackle these story problems. Perhaps by putting the power of the students’ education into THEIR hands, they will have more of an investment and interest in moving forward. As much as I loved Storybird, I felt a little limited by having to make my story match the pictures, and I would like to try another source the next time. Using my own photos and videos to create real world problems might be easier.
Practice with SoundCloud!
I created an account in SoundCloud, and discussed the benefits of digital storytelling for students. Students reach a different level of thinking as they go through the assignment, and they are provided with multiple means of expression, content, and technology standards. The audio file is linked below.
1b – Engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources – Though the original intent of this thing was to create a story through digital means, I was able to turn this into a story problem for students. Students can solve the problems and then create their own through the use of the digital storytelling resources.
2c Customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources – Not every student thinks like I do, especially when it comes to math. I am very linear and procedural, but more and more students crave that need for creativity, especially in this digital age. With digital storytelling tools, students are able to access those types of learning styles that they maybe couldn’t before in the typical math classroom.
3d Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning – The use of digital storytelling tools allows the instructor to model a different way to solve math problems, opening the door for student learning.
4a Advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources – Though I have been guilty of letting this idea slip in the past, through consistent modeling, students will learn the importance of protecting themselves, their creations, and their ideas. I was sure to include the Creative Commons license on both my Storybird book and my audio recording.
5d Contribute to the effectiveness, vitality, and self-renewal of the teaching profession and of their school and community – The SoundCloud resource allowed me to easily share my thoughts and ideas about digital storytelling and its benefits. Sharing these thoughts on my face of the classroom and the blog shows that I have made a contribution to the teaching profession.
CITW – Best Practices
1 Summarizing and note-taking – There were a number of storyboard organization sites that were shared in this thing that would allow students to take notes and include the elements of digital storytelling.
2 Non-linguistic representations – Using photographs, videos, and provided artwork is the essence of digital storytelling. Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of objectives without the use of the written word.
3 Setting objectives and providing feedback – A SoundCloud or Audacity audio recording would allow the instructor to upload and provide feedback to a student’s work directly.
4 Cues, questions, and advanced organizers – The digital story problem book that I created includes questions within the story. Students are asked about halfway through the book as to what information would be necessary to complete the problem. Also, there are elements of creating a storyboard for a student’s own story problem that help him/her to organize thoughts.
5 Identifying similarities and differences – As students work collaboratively and explore the work of others, they will quickly be able to compare the similarities and differences in their stories with that of their peers. In my particular situation, it would be great if they could see that the stories that they are creating all result in linear functions!