Digital Storytelling in the Classroom

Ohler, Jason. Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Media Pathways to Literacy, Learning, and Creativity. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2008. Print.

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The primary text I will look at for the purposes of this paper is by Jason Ohler. In this book, Ohler defines how storytelling and new media can be used as tool to further education in the classroom. Ohler aims to educate potential practitioners and teachers on the grammar, theory and language of digital storytelling and how to approach teaching the subject in a classroom setting. My focus will be on a section of the book, which discusses the grammar of using audio in digital stories. In this section, Ohler discusses the significance of the role of audio in all types of media. Ohler notes that well produced audio is a key component of telling successful digital stories. The section discusses the important roles clear, well-mixed audio, voice pacing, and inflection play in successful digital stories and games. Ohler notes, if a voice track is weak or unclear, it is possible the track needs to be re-recorded or remixed. Moreover, if you cannot hear a narrative track amongst the rest of the audio, it is possible new music needs to be selected, or the entire audio mix needs to be adjusted to find the correct balance. In addition, Ohler also discusses the distinction between audio (which includes all sounds and sound effects) and musical choices in digital storytelling. According to Ohler, all sounds including voice narration recordings, sound effects, and natural noise are key elements of the emotional impact of a digital story. Ohler also notes the importance of appropriate music choices and describes the role music must play to support a story. Music and sound have the power to overwhelm a narrative, and change the intended emotional impact of a storyline. Therefore, it is important that we are careful in the ways we deploy music and sound to support digital stories. Within the broader context of the book, sound and music are important because of the role they play in guiding emotional reactions to digital stories. However, the focus of the book is on the ways in which teachers (practitioners) can use elements of digital storytelling to connect with students on a deeper emotional level. There are many elements to telling an effective digital story; this book gives teachers an overview of the language to talk about digital storytelling tools with an academic audience. From an academic perspective, the language, grammar and theory of using sound and music in digital storytelling are an important part of the discussion in this book. From the perspective of the public, as digital storytelling becomes ubiquitous, it will become more important to understand the emotional impact of media, and how digital storytelling can be used as a tool for education. For “digital natives,” this understanding will need to begin in the classroom at a young age. Therefore, Ohler argues, teachers (practitioners) will need to adopt digital storytelling as a tool for education. In addition to using digital storytelling as a teaching tool, students will also need to understand the theory behind how the elements of a digital story work together, to capture their attention and influence their understanding of a subject.

DeLorenzo, Lisa C. Giving Voice to Democracy in Music Education: Diversity and Social Justice. Print.

In this book, Lisa C. DeLorenzo explores how using music in an educational setting can help shape the political and social views of students. Through a series of essays and examples, a series of authors explore the unique ways social and political themes such as race, technology, sexual orientation and social justice can be explored through music education. Furthermore, the book explores the ways in which music can be used as a tool to increase our understanding and push towards potential change in these areas.

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