Module 4 Reflection: Digital Storytelling

Module 4 has covered a variety of areas, including some practical ways to incorporate digital storytelling into the classroom, and exploring the definition and how it has expanded over time.

I already had some idea of the potential for creating digital texts in the classroom from INF530. This module has built on those concepts and I have begun to make connections to curriculum and class tasks and explore the use of pre-made digital narratives.

It has been highlighted that there is opportunity for creating AND reading digital stories and these can both be incorporated into teaching and learning. Botturi, Bramani and Corbino discuss how digital stories can be used to assist with communication and finding voice for students with learning difficulties. Matthews comments similarly that communication is a benefit for using digital stories. While Tackvic highlights the benefits of using digital platforms to create narratives. And Bjorgen refers to the similarities and differences in student use of digital tools at home and school through a digital storytelling project.

These readings follow similar themes but approach to topic from different contexts. The concept of using digital stories with students with diverse needs to share their learning or their own personal story, highlights why providing tasks with different presentation options is necessary for all student learning.

Building a narrative from scratch is hard, particularly, as Tackvic points out, when the page in front of you is blank. Getting students to plan their narratives using digital tools – giving the access to images and music which can spark creativity is teaching students to use the tools around them to meet an end goal, and encouraging student’s own interpretation of images/sounds (thinking critically and creatively).

Students are exposed to digital environments/tools at home and at school, and they use them differently in each scenario. Students creating digital narratives at school are building a skill set they can use outside of the classroom. Conversely, they can bring skills learnt at home and apply them to school tasks. Yes, there is often a difference in what can/cannot be accessed (eg. YouTube), but this forces students to find other solutions.

Using digital storytelling in the classroom is something I would like to start doing. It provides opportunities for differentiation and critical and creative thinking, as well as building an ongoing understanding of digital tools and narrative structure. I would start small – working with one class on one topic in order to develop my presentation of the task and skills in tools. I would like to build up to completing at least one digital storytelling task a year with each class. There are multiple opportunities for this throughout the HASS and English curriculums.

 

References

Bjorgen, A.M. (2010). Boundary crossing and learning identifies – digital storytelling in primary schools. Seminar.net: Media, Technology and Lifelong Learning, 6(2), 161-175. Retrieved from EBSCO.

Botturi, L., Bramani, C., & Corbino, S. (2012). Finding your voice through digital storytelling. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 56(3), 10-11. doi:10.1007/s11528-012-0569-1

Matthews, J. (2014). Voices from the heart: The use of digital storytelling in education. Community Practitioner, 87(1), 28-30. Retrieved from ProQuest Central.

Tackvic, C. (2012). Digital storytelling: Using technology to spark creativity. The Educational Forum, 76(4), 426-429. doi: 10.1080/00131725.2012.707562

Module 4 & 5: TL and the Curriculum & Information Literacy: Reflection

In these modules I really considered my interpretation and teaching of information literacy based on purpose and context.

As an overarching concept IL being linked to lifelong learning and its development in an ever changing information landscape is highly relevant to the context of learning for today’s students, and their development of 21st Century skills.

The connection between digital and information literacies is strong and they are often used interchangeably. I consider that Information Fluency is the overarching concepts and digital literacy and information literacy fit underneath it’s umbrella. To be fluent in something means that you can understand connections between concepts and apply them in different situations. Within each type of literacy there are smaller concepts which need to be explicitly taught and understood. For example, for information literacy the concepts include research skills (those included in various IL models), for digital literacy the concepts include ethical use of ICT, and use of software & hardware.

It has become clearer to me that I need to fully understand my own definition of these literacies in order to be most effective in applying them to unit and teaching them. My understanding so far encompasses use, analysis and synthesis of information and resources to achieve a goal.

Transition from outcomes-based learning to inquiry, Constructivist learning is an important part of changing the education system. Outcomes-based learning reflects what students know, what they can do with it and how confident they are in expressing their knowledge. An inquiry learning model allows students to explore areas of interest within a topic, they are introduced to inquiry process skills, and begin to learn how to learn. Use of inquiry learning has links to my module in INF530 about information fluency and digital age learners.

I have used adaptations of the Big6 model of information literacy and the NSW Information Search Process and Backwards by Design in the creation of collaborative inquiry units. I reviewed the SA TfEL framework for areas of connection to inquiry learning and found them throughout the document in Domain 3 and 4.

Domain 3: Develop expert learners focuses on teaching students how to learn and processes they can use to construct knowledge. It looks at promotion of learning through modelling and promotion collaboration and dialogue. To give students the responsibility to create, critique and apply knowledge in a variety of contexts. This description lends itself to the explicit teaching of inquiry skills (eg. identifying questions, note-taking, reflecting) and use of an inquiry model to gain deep understanding, journalling of thoughts, feelings and processes, collaborative discussions, using scaffolds to record information.

I found starting with the end point in mind with Backwards by Design planning a useful way of ensuring the end goal was met. My lesson content was then planned around what skills and knowledge do students need to achieve success at the end of the unit. I try to incorporate this thinking into any planning I do now, including that for inquiry learning.

In this module I enjoyed reading about different inquiry models and looking at the similarities and differences. I like the depth the Guided Inquiry Design (GID) goes into and the pace at which each stage is implemented. It seems like students would achieve a solid grounding in a range of skills at each stage. But I also think that the Big6 or NSW ISP might be simpler models to implement. There may be more transferrable techniques into the outside world as there are fewer steps to work through. I have worked with the Big6 and NSW ISP previously, but without comprehensive background knowledge into ways to fully explore each stage.

The connections with the Australian Curriculum General Capabilities (CCT and ICT) are evident but they are not obviously associated with GID. This does provide a large scope for TLs to create a process which fits their school context. I am keen to further explore Guided Inquiry Design and the work of Lupton and Bonnano in aligning parts of the AC general capabilities to this framework.

I am interested in further exploring the IFLA School Library Guidelines to develop my understanding of pedagogical and technological change and how it could be implemented.

21st century skills are integral to the learner of today. Students need to leave school having the skills and dispositions to answer their own questions accurately and to apply them in a professional setting. Students need to know how to evaluate information sources and search efficiently and effectively. Integration of GID into curriculum will assist students in developing these skills.

While assessing student success in inquiry skills can be difficult, it is necessary for TLs to collect data on student achievement and progress through their inquiry sessions. Like the AITSL video showed, I would collect pre and post data surveys on students’ self-assessment of the information skill being highlighted in the topic. It is important not to overload on the skills teaching during a single unit; but allow students multiple opportunities to practice and develop several well integrated skills. These can then be built upon in future inquiries.

I enjoyed these modules and would like the opportunity to put some the ideas about evidence-based practice and collaborative opportunities into practice.

Blog Reflection

For the third blog for this topic (INF530) I provided a reflection comment for Emily’s post on technology trends.

This was my response:

Hi Emily, thanks for your post. I would like to reflect on your discussion of digital literacy.

In my view, digital literacy encompasses information literacy. There is a focus on locating, evaluating, and using information from digital platforms. Digital literacy is particularly important in the information environment we live in; locating information which meets the user’s need and evaluating it for accuracy and relevance are integral 21st Century Skills.

There are links between digital literacy, information behaviour, 21st Century skills and lifelong learning. Bawden and Robinson’s (2012) discussion of cognitive models of information behaviour and information search processes highlights the differences in how people go about finding information. With my TL hat on I see information search models (guided inquiry, project-based learning) as a platform for integrating the teaching of digital literacy skills. The development of digital literacy skills in students is dependent on the opportunities to learn and practice. These are skills which need to become second nature to students.

Your discussion of teaching skills to interpret information has strong connections to the readings from module 3.1. It brought to mind Brabazon’s (2009) discussion about what digital natives thought they should be learning. One respondent mentioned several times we should be teaching them how to learn (p.177, 180). Conole (2012) agrees with this sentiment stating, ‘learners need to develop strategies for finding and validating appropriate resources’ (p.55).

In my opinion, the focus of the Australian Curriculum should be the General Capabilities. They are the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority’s (n.d.) take on 21st Century learning skills and provide a checklist for students to show application and understanding of skills relevant to their futures. Digital and Information literacy fit into Critical and Creative Thinking and ICT Capability. As such, integration of the General Capabilities into teaching and learning covers elements of digital literacy and information literacy and assists in the development of lifelong learning skills.

Although students of today may have more screen time and access to more technologies than students used to, it is not right to assume they have the knowledge and skills to effectively and efficiently traverse the information landscape to achieve their goals. Conole (2012) states that ‘many learners, despite being competent technology users, lack the appropriate academic literacy skills to appropriate these free resources for their learning’ (p.52). Brabazon (2009) and Conole (2012) highlight that effective use of digital tools and resources relies upon development of skills in teachers and students (p.181 & p.51).

Schools with trained TLs have resources available to them to assist with skill development of both teacher and student. When classroom teachers work collaboratively with TLs, a range of opportunities for the teaching and application of digital and information literacy skills arise. Through inquiry learning students can develop these skills in context, and hopefully see the connections to future tasks.

References

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (n.d.). General Capabilities. Retrieved from https://australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/general-capabilities/

Bawden, D. & Robinson, L. (2012). Introduction to information science [London: Facet]. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/csuau/detail.action?docID=2076216

Brabazon, T., Dear, Z., Greene, G., & Purdy, A. (2009). Why the Google generation will not speak: The Invention of digital natives. Nebula, 6(1), p.163-180. Retrieved from http://www.nobleworld.biz/images/BDGP.pdf

Conole, G. (2012). Designing for learning in an open world (Vol. 4) [Springer]. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/csuau/reader.action?docID=1030803