Storytelling: The Grand Mediator
Dyck, Brenda A., Middle Ground
Digital storytelling: The art of conveying events in words, images, and sounds often by improvisation or embellishment.
In 1973, I was an eager, pre-service teacher trying to fast track my way through my education degree so I could graduate early and land my first teaching job. Part of my strategy was to enroll in two six-week summer school courses-one that focused on music curriculum/instruction and another that was a senior-level Canadian history course.
This was an ambitious undertaking; it was all I could do to keep up with the classes, daily readings, and demanding assignments. But completion, not enjoyment, was my objective, and I expected to yawn my way through six weeks of Canadian history.
This was not the case! Each day I settled into my seat, pen in hand, as my history professor, Dr. Shields, paced back and forth at the front of the room, spinning the stories behind the historical events of my country, referring to the key historical players of Canadian history as if they were his next door neighbors.
John A. McDonald, Canada's first prime minister, was Jack McDonald and Sir Wilfred Laurier, Canada's famous orator prime minister was Wilf Laurier. Dr. Shields delivered the course content to a lecture hall full of captivated students. Not only did this approach invite his students to continue to explore the content after class, but it breathed new life into historical events that previously seemed dusty and out-ofstep with the 20th century.
Storytelling, I learned that summer, can be a teacher's biggest ally, a teaching style that adds spice to dreary topics, helps establish teacher-student relationships, and mediates learning for diverse learners.
Not all teachers are gifted storytellers, but in today's Web 2.0 world, all teachers have the chance to hone this important skill through the use of digital storytelling tools. These emerging technologies can be turned over to the students to help them share their voice and their understanding in alternative ways.
The following resources will help light the way.
Web 2.0 Storytelling: Emergence of a New Genre
In this 2008 Educause article, Bryan Alexander and Alan Lavine unpack the birth of Web 2.0 storytelling, a new form of expression that is on the rise.
http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Review/ EDUCAUSEReviewMagazineVolume43/Web20Storytelling EmergenceofaN/163262
The Call of Story
Explore the power of storytelling through the eyes of six of America's best storytellers.
Starting from Here: Every Place Tells a Story
Educator Peter Turchi suggests that humans are rich with narratives that are connected to places that support their stories. This interesting mode of storytelling, dubbed place-based storytelling, seeks to unleash the stories inside maps.
As reading patterns and habits change in our society, the emergence of digital novels like Inanimate Alice can help students connect, engage with, and make sense of text. This new media fiction project includes access to Inanimate Alice, a free teacher education pack, and student activity booklets that allow students to develop multiple literacies.
Art, Storytelling Technology, and Education
Jason Ohler's digital storytelling website provides …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Storytelling: The Grand Mediator. Contributors: Dyck, Brenda A. - Author. Magazine title: Middle Ground. Volume: 15. Issue: 3 Publication date: February 2012. Page number: 40+. © National Middle School Association Oct 2009. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.