Winter approaches. It is an incredible Autumn morning here on the Illawarra coast. See the little photo below.
Digital storytelling has crossed my mind of late. Recently conducted a workshop on the topic. It was most enjoyable. I had a creative and highly participative group of teachers and academic staff based in Singapore.
Digital storytelling is fine in itself. The term ‘digital’ does not rest well with myself. I tire of prefixing teaching and learning strategies with terms such as ‘digital’, ‘web 2.0′ and the like. At times I have no choice as such terms are required to market my workshops.
Storytelling is simply that. It is irrelevant which tool you apply to tell the story. Paper, paint, voice, keyboards. As long as the story is shared.
If the story can be shared via traditional approaches then why bother with ‘digital’ methods? The key to that question is to ensure that the digital strategy provides an avenue of expression and interaction not possible with the traditional approach. The technology has to make a difference.
Technology affords many possibilities in this regard. Where to begin?
Take good old Audacity, for example. You know, the free open source audio recording and editing software. A single storyteller can create a multitude of characters with some careful editing, selecting and filtering.
I would recommend storyboarding beforehand. Generate characters, a plot and the script, even just in general terms. Once the story is mapped out then the recording can begin.
Audacity allows multiple tracks to be recorded so a variety of characters can be recorded by an individual. Tracks can be named according to character and dialogue.
How to differentiate between the various characters if a single student has recorded the story? Select the track for a particular character and alter the pitch using the appropriate effects filter. Raise the pitch, lower the pitch. A single student can be a burly bouncer, an anxious astronaut, or a vexed vixen.
Plug in more than one student and you could have a virtulal panoply of characters.
You could even have an extraterrestrial in the mix. Record any dialogue. Filter the dialogue using ‘pitch’ and ‘backwards’. There you have it, one alien. Allow the remainder of the dialogue to generate an understanding of the conversation with the alien. Could be an exercise in itself: Codebreaking first contact with an alien species.
Audacity also allows for tracks to be easily shifted backwards and forwards in the timeline affording opportunities for flashbacks, stories to be told backwards, and the juxtaposition of contrasting dialogue.
You can also make use of both channels with some mixing. Play two pieces of dialogue simultaneously and simply ensure one is mixed to the left channel and the other to the right channel. A single student could generate an argument between two different characters.
The characters could come from different times, dimensions, places, planets, universes and states of being. Why interview a person when you could interview a ‘rock’, a ‘leaf’ or an ‘atom’? Give it a voice and let it explain the meaning of life. Personification is a great teaching and learning strategy when peppered with a little dose of Audacity.
Then there is the tool adored by many. Voicethread. It is a pity, dare I say it, that it is web based. Would love to see a software client for the tool that allowed offline storytelling creation that could then uploaded to the web.
Voicethread is nevertheless a useful tool. Take an old photograph. Upload it and invite others to recollect or tell their story. “I was there too…”
Upload a fake photograph to Voicethread courtesy of a little photoshopped magic. Invite analysis and feedback.
Invite your students to generate a storyboard. Paint the story, scan the artwork, upload to Voicethead and have others tell the story. More artwork, more ideas. A Voicethread soap, saga or serial.
Need to go. Lunch and an impending flat battery. More later.
Sent via iPhone through a Posterous wormhole to alternative universes in Twitter, Facebook and the Watershed.
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