What We Do
So, what am I doing? I am teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) concepts through the digital story-telling process. Additionally, we use digital story-telling to teach character development.
The first thing that needs to be communicated is a brief snippet on each of the STEM concepts. Let’s give this a try:
- Science – We look at science as the ability to learn about the world around us through observation and experimentation.
- Technology – We identify technology as a man-made tool that satisfies a need. Digital Vision, LLC uses the Raspberry Pi as our primary piece of technology for STEM discussions. However, we use other technologies as part of the digital story-telling process.
- Engineering – We engineer solutions to our problems. In this sense, we use engineering concepts and principles to solve problems using a process and not a pre-defined set of solutions.
- Math – We understand math to be the knowledge use of numbers, quantities, and equations. Math is essential in the use of programming languages which are used to run the Raspberry Pi.
What is Story Telling?
Story telling is the process of conveying a message, moral, or idea through some type of narrative. People, especially children, relate to the characters in a story, their problems, and the process used to overcome these problems. We here at Digital Vision, LLC, use the story/narrative to discuss an issue or problem, then determine how technology can be used to solve this problem. Or, if technology is not the focus, then we use the idea of character development to solve the problem. Either way, we focus on finding solutions to the problems faced by the characters in our stories.
What is Digital Story Telling?
Digital story telling is taking the oral or written story and transferring that narrative into a mini-feature that can be uploaded to YouTube.com or other media platform. By doing so, our stories can be viewed and enjoyed by children, parents, and teachers across large geographic regions.
What is the Digital Story Telling Process?
Digital Vision, LLC uses a combination of stop-motion animation and real-time video to create a digital narrative. Our process is specific and sequential, using the following steps:
- The discussion starts with an idea, topic, or problem. My team will talk to a small group to discuss the topic, soliciting ideas from the group. For older students, or when a deeper understanding of the topic is needed, we direct the group to use their research skills and search the web for more content.
- We now use the topic to create the story. The story should have a least three scenes: a beginning, a middle, and an end. The topic, which will focus around a problem that needs to be solved, will be introduced in scene one. The problem is faced in scene two. Finally, the problem is resolved in the last scene. With the group, we will create the characters, describe the scenes, think about dialogue and sound, then outline the events in each scene.
- After creating the story, we need to build the storyboard. The group may draw pictures, cut out pictures from magazines, or search the web for pictures that will explain the story in a graphical format. The pictures are put in sequential order so that everyone gets a visual idea of the story before filming the stop-motion animation.
- On the back end, the team from Digital Vision, LLC will hand-build the stop-motion studio set from wood. The studio set will derive from both the narrative and storyboard. The studio set will be used to create the stop-motion (and real-time) video.
- Under the direction of Digital Vision, LLC, the group will create a stop-motion animation product. Any type of toy object can be used for the characters; however, we tend to use Lego action figures. Lego action figures provide range of motion and characterization that work well with stop-motion animation.
- Once the product is finished, the group will review it under the guidance of Digital Vision, LLC. Sound effects and dialogue are added to make the movie come to life.
- Finally, the product is published to YouTube.com.
- The team from Digital Vision, LLC will review the digital story telling process and lessons learned with the all participants. That’s it!
Why use digital story-telling to teach?
As a professional educator, I have found that embedding a concept inside a story teaches students to understand both the technical elements of a topic as well as the application of these elements in a real-world scenario. This educational strategy has worked well.