screenshot home screen

As discussed in Learning 2030 (2013), digital technology allows the blending of interdisciplinary content, providing opportunities for connection, both conceptual and social, to make learning more meaningful. Good use of technology affords students opportunities to be creators and not just consumers (Morra, 2013), which aligns with the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, where creativity is of peak importance in learning for the future (Anderson and Krathwohl, 2001) and the SAMR model developed by Puentedura which defines tasks that employ the creative use of technology for previously inconceivable tasks (Redefinition) as of greatest educational benefit (Puentedura, 2014). Education needs to prepare students for work in a creative, digital world so development of skills to create in a digital context is an imperative (Hall, 2012).

The digital world allows unprecedented scope for content creation by those of us who are not already esteemed authors (Dobler, 2013; Morra, 2013). Web 2.0 provides the capacity to not just consume, but to produce and distribute information and creative content with relative ease (Hall, 2012; Malita and Martin, 2010). It is possible to sustainably create a digital story with no financial outlay (Doiron, 2013), and as I have done with Things That Matter, publish it online and reach a broad ranging audience very quickly. A ‘broadcast technology’ has become an ‘everyday technology’ (The new literacies, 2013) thanks to the array of available tools for creating.

The everyday technology of digital literature requires readers to discern quality (Dobler, 2013). Walsh outlines the characteristics of good literature including, an authentic setting, relatability and empathy, the invocation of imagination, consideration of issues and suitability for the desired audience (2013). These are important qualifications and I was mindful in the creation of my story that these elements were necessary to create a worthwhile digital text and that ‘bells and whistles’ may derail the interpretation of the story (Guernsey, 2011).

Despite discernment issues for the reader, the relative ease with which digital content can be created certainly has significant benefits. The digital environment simplifies the process and problems inherent in content creation. For example, in the process of creating my story, I was able to make use of the everyday nature of online technology to search for solutions to problems I experienced, saving considerable time resolving issues. Internet resources also enabled the inclusion of audio from a free, creative commons audio site (freesound.org) to download sound files, saving me from creating all audio components myself.  It is also easier than ever to share content and make it accessible to a broad audience through the internet and social media. Within 24 hours of posting my story to Facebook, the video file had been viewed 78 times, I had arranged to discuss project possibilities with a new connection and arranged the use of the resource in my own school. It was also shared beyond my immediate circle, extending my audience further.

 Youtube view count after 24 hours

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As educators, digital environments have both enabled exciting options and created complexity through their rapid and constant evolution. The potential to create real world opportunities has broadened for students, where they may publish their work online; an experience that may encourage quality production and potentially provides a wide audience (Roblyer and Doering, 2014). In my own study, the resource sharing provided by interaction on the discussion board, Goodreads, Thinkspace blogs and Twitter is invaluable (Sargeant, 2013). However, literacy is now deictic – ever evolving its form with technology’s progression (Leu, 20011). This factor, alongside the array of technological skills to develop, means that teachers need to be open to new possibilities and the capacity to learn and explore options (Roblyer and Doering, 2014). Despite the world of online resources at our fingertips, the diversity of other demands impacting today’s educators compromise the transition to new pedagogies (see my final INF530 blopost). This brings me to why I chose to study this degree; as discussed in my first INF530 blog post, without it, time demands would make it unlikely that I would engage on learning of this scale or value.

Prior to studying INF533, I had not considered the potential for digital storytelling to bridge curriculum areas, making it possible to engage more learners (Hall, 2012). My investigation of three different digital texts for the Digital Literature Reviews (here, here and here) broadened my awareness of digital content that may greatly enhance learning through multi-sensory engagement, interactivity and/or transmedia affordances. My learning over the course of this session has led me to understand how the use of what Hall describes as the “transformative human power of narrative” (Conclusion, 2012) combined with the opportunity to extend skills and creatively engage with ICT (2012) is a new and rigourous combination for learning. This combination of accessible skills and concepts opens opportunities for me to build on my previous learning to encourage new possibilities for my students. Once again my study has provided the opportunity to engage with content that was previously outside of my awareness and extend my repertoire of skills and ideas for using digital technology in the classroom.

References