It may seem odd to post in a group titled "Technology Tools" and then advocate for placing said technology off to the side for large swaths of the learning experience for students. But that is exactly what I'm saying. I think the iPad is great, but it is best for consuming media, not making it. In fact, I think we can create more meaningful encounters with media-making and an iPad if our first step is to work with scissors, glue, markers, pencil and paper.
I recently had the opportunity to help lead a group of teachers at the University of Washington through a two hour workshop that was centered on paper-based diorama storytelling where the iPad was used as the framing device to capture, edit and share the stories. We used iMovie to sequence the stories, add simple sound effects, transitions and titles. But the focus was collaborative storytelling first and technology second. The technology was our archiving and sharing tool. I purposefully focused on the bare minimum for editing vocabulary associated with iMovie. Where as set building, script writing and performing are all collaborative at their core, editing is not. It is the bottleneck because one person is controlling the interface and this is where I see a fall off in group-wide engagement. Therefore, editing is a means to trim clips, put them in the right order of the story and maybe add some titles and credits.
Participants are able to display their different intelligences and skill sets early on in the process. This helps them feel like they are really contributing to the effort. This is particularly true of students whose first language may not be English. Their ability to build, draw, stage and shoot are not bound by language proficiency. Overall, I think the low tech paper-based approach allows for a more authentic encounter with collaborative storytelling using technology like an iPad.
Here is a link to photos from the session with reflections from the professor and participating students.
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