A Social Act

I remember an interview where singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco, a Buffalo, NY native like me, said “Singing is a social act.” She went on to explain that it’s more than just one person involved.

Stories are the same. Check out David Lieber’s thoughts on stories. It’s worth a look-see.

As Lieber and some of the other Ted Talk speakers I watched on this subject say, storytelling is storytelling. At it’s core, it’s still the same: There are arcs, emotional pulls and pushes, and endings to the beginnings.

Is Ken Burns a digital storyteller? He takes old photographs, puts them in an order to tell a story, does voice overs, and interviews people. He’s pretty darn good at it, too. He’s connect with people. He makes statements. It’s a social act.

Are video games not storytelling? If it has these 7 elements, according U of H, I think it is… Again, it’s an interaction. It’s a social act.

So, how can we use this as teachers for student learning?

There are plenty of  thoughts out there on how to do it. Just as there are thoughts on why

Teacher-created digital stories may also be used to enhance current lessons within a larger unit, as a way to facilitate discussion about the topics presented a story and as a way of making abstract or conceptual content more understandable.

I’ve never actually created a digital story to use with students. Which is why, perhaps, I’ve been a little hesitant to dive into this subject. Perhaps, I should look into this course of by University of Houston.

I think the whole idea behind this is the fact that it’s digital is supposed to make it more engaging because our students (and we) are visual learners.

Ways students can use it are obvious, right?

  1. Show conceptual understanding by creating a digital story using one of these platforms
  2. From a literary perspective, of course, this is a homerun. Create your own story, or work as a group to produce something. Divide responsibilities: script writing, editing, producing
    1. Being a social act, maybe students have some ideas?

Other possibilities, could be exploring music, spoken word, building tension, using language, or some topics I never even thought of like math, science, etc.

This is an amazing resource full of tools and ideas.

Because I have no experience with this topic, I’m all over the map, and I should focus on one purpose and one assignment, and see how it goes. I must get creative…


I’m thinking book trailers from a library perspective… That’s it.  I’m going to make a book trailer! And, going back to the beginning, I have to remember it’s a social action, and I have to find ways to share it in a meaningful way… Any suggestions?


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One Response to A Social Act

  1. Ryan Harwood says:

    I think you just led us through your own story there. Great post Mike. I look forward to seeing some book trailers. We’ve toyed with the idea of digital shelf talkers at our school, but haven’t quite gotten around to creating them yet…


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