Saturday, May 29, 2004

Digital Storytelling Workshop

I just finished a two-day Digital Storytelling workshop in New Jersey that went so well. I have three new wonderful examples created by several of the participants. This process is getting more refined, and I was grateful to the coordinator of the event for helping me to analyze the problems that came up over the two days, and strategies to prevent them in the future. I now have a second page to add to my workshop handout that covers the issues that came up this week. One more time, and I should have a workshop design that works well, at least for iMovie 3 or 4 for Macintosh OS X. Over the weekend, Dan and I discussed how we could adapt the process to MovieMaker2 for Windows XP. Not quite the same program, but it is the same price as iMovie (free!) and is a good tool to learn the basic process of building a digital story.

I am concerned about providing training that uses software that is not accessible to individuals or the average classroom. I remember a comment made by a participant at a California workshop earlier this spring, who had attended a CDS training a few years ago. She left the workshop without the confidence that she had the skills to independently create another digital story using Premiere or Photoshop, nor access to the software to be able to build those skills. Even when we got back from our own CDS experience last year, Dan bought Premiere, which continues to be his favorite video editing program, but I still think it has a pretty steep learning curve. I want participants in my workshops to leave with the confidence that they can replicate the process when they are on their own. I am anxious to read the comments from last week's workshop evaluation, since the feedback from the March workshop was so positive.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Workshop Reflection

The three-day workshop that I just finished today showed to me what can happen in a laptop university. All of the faculty brought their wireless laptops to the workshop, and their enthusiasm for innovative uses of technology was refreshing. I could really see what can happen when the entire university community is provided with tools and access to the Internet. There were no "Yeah, but..." comments. The faculty members also thought it would be a great idea to do their own e-portfolios. I hope I can see a few by fall. Their preferred method of development will be using the common tools on their laptops, and they will have their students create CD-ROMs on their student laptops. With a laptop university, that makes sense. They are also planning to set up an online assessment database, where students can upload the assessment artifacts that will be used for accreditation. They agree with me that the students' portfolios should be their own, with an emphasis on individuality and creativity. And with the addition of digital stories, I think they are going to be very engaging!

The department chair was relieved that an e-portfolio didn't have to be lock-step and identical to meet accreditation requirements. They could stay true to their roots in constructivist learning environments, keeping the positivist assessment needs of the institution separate from the constructivist learning portfolios that are much more meaningful for the students.

Digital Storytelling in ePortfolios

Just as I thought, I was able to introduce the process of digital storytelling to these faculty members in my workshop yesterday, using XP's MovieMaker2, in less than an hour. This is the first time we tried this short hands-on activity to introduce the process. MovieMaker2 is not iMovie, but it demonstrated the process. And the participants found it to be a lot of fun... as their students will. Showing them PhotoStory this morning was also exciting. The Department chair agreed to reimburse the cost of downloading this $20 program, and several of the faculty members said that they were "psyched!"

We need to find strategies for portfolio development and reflection that are engaging for students. Too often, the portfolio and reflection become just another assignment that the students are not invested in. Word processing alone is now "ho-hum" to a lot of students. We need to find strategies that motivate learners intrinsically. Digital Storytelling is one of them. Perhaps blogs and wikis are another.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Transfer to my server

I have decided to publish my blog to my server, which is at

A Faculty Workshop

I'm in New Jersey, doing a workshop with faculty on e-portfolios. As usual, my pre-set agenda was derailed by one faculty member's question, about assessment and e-portfolios. I inserted my short presentation on the differences between e-portfolios and online assessment management systems (based on my SITE presentation and my paradigms article). I think I helped a lot of the participants see those differences, and how they could manage a process that matches their philosophy of education. It was interesting to hear one person's comment about a well-known College's approach to e-portfolios (as assessment) and her reaction when she visited there.

Today we are going to tie in storytelling and e-portfolios, with a hands-on session on digital storytelling. I will be interested in their reactions.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

First Posting

Welcome to my first entry into the world of blogging. I'm not sure I can get into the habit of posting to a web log on a regular basis, but I want to give it a try, since this looks like a technology that is being used in reflective portfolios.

My first concern is the commercialization of the portfolio as a product. I think it is ironic that my first view of my blog, when originally posted to the website, contained advertisements from several of the commercial tools. Thanks to Jeremy, I figured out how to post this blog to my own website, which removed the advertising.

I know blog postings are supposed to be short, so I will just enter a link to a paper that I am currently working on, that covers Electronic Portfolios as Digital Stories of Deep Learning. I have recently completed a short video clip covering some of those issues for my new CD-ROM. I welcome feedback on either of these documents.