This week our required reading was from Nilsson (2010): Developing Voice in Digital Storytelling through Creativity, Narrative, and Multimodality.  My greatest take away from the reading was the word INSPIRATION.  The dictionary definition of inspiration is:


noun in·spi·ra·tion \ˌin(t)-spə-ˈrā-shən, -(ˌ)spi-\

Simple Definition of inspiration

  • something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone

  •  a person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something

  • a good idea

We want our students to write.  We need them to understand the mechanics.  We want our students to find their voice.  We need them to be inspired.  I think most of us can remember a time (several times….okay most of the time) being required to write about something we:

A) did not care about

B) did not know enough to write about

C) had to worry so much about the “technical” part of writing that our voice was lost

I also remember a teacher in 7th grade that showed me how to write about what inspired me.  She taught me how to find my voice.  I learned about rich descriptive words that painted pictures and how to get the pictures from my head and onto the paper.  She INSPIRED me.  I loved writing in her class.  I remember the freedom I felt when those thoughts that were trapped inside of my mind were unlocked and released onto the boring white paper with simple blue lines.  Words were no longer just words but they suddenly had life and movement.  My papers still came back with lots of red marking the “technical” mistakes but also included words of encouragement to continue the creative side and fix the technical later.  Get the thoughts our first, then get help cleaning it up.

Digital storytelling opens up the layers of creativity.  Not only can you describe the scenes with your words; but with pictures, music and sound effects.  It is like producing the stage show version of your short story.   The pictures are there for you to see and describe and digital storytelling can inspire children.  I enjoyed reading about Simon’s success with digital storytelling from our readings this week.  He found his voice.  He found success. He found acceptance.  He continued!

I wanted to find out more about inspiring children through digital storytelling and found a great article by  Tom Banaszewski titled: Digital Storytelling Finds Its Place In The Classroom.  Banaszewski started a project called The Place Project.  Students were asked to describe a “place” and were given several questions that they had to answer about that place:

What is your earliest memory of your place?

What are your feelings when you are there?

What difference does your place make in your life?

What do you see in your place that no one else sees?

He found that not one of his students struggled with this writing prompt.  They came up with places that were actually physical places as well as places that only existed in their imagination.  He taught his students that everyone has a story to tell and everyone has something important to say.  The students went on to create incredible digital stories from this prompt and Banazewski gives the details on how to accomplish this in his article.  At the end of the school year, when he asked his students how many of them were writers, ninety-nine percent of them said, “Yes”.  His students had been given something that INSPIRED them.



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