Final Course Reflection

Throughout our Learning with Digital Stories course this summer I continued to be amazed by how much I learned from my peers. I believe I learned the most from their stories and our discussions via I was impressed by the quality of their work and the resources they shared on their blogs, whether it be in the form of a video, article, or just a comment on our readings.  With the help of our Lankshear and Knobel readings, along with other authors, I saw first-hand how all of us were interpreting the content differently based on our skills and discourse styles. The sharing of these interpretations allowed me to look at the content through varying lenses. I have a new respect for collaborative learning. This course has encouraged me to reevaluate my own teaching practices. I feel like I have more tools to incorporate technology into my classroom. Also, as someone that was extremely skeptical of the use of social media I have a new understanding of its benefits in education.

This course could not have been more different from my prior graduate courses. First, I have never taken a technology course. Second, I have never taken an online class, only hybrids. (In the past I’ve always avoided online courses.) Third, the hands off approach of our professor Remi was very different from anything I had ever experienced. Remi really encouraged us to learn and explore on our own, or with the help of our peers. At first it was frustrating, I was not use to the ambiguity, and I wanted a nice to do list. However, I now understand how powerful this type of self motivated learning is-I had talked about it in my education classes but never experienced it for myself until this course. With the help of my peers and a lot of trial and error I was able to complete all of our assignments. This productive struggle really helped me to learn more than I think I could have otherwise. I also really enjoyed the fact that I chose my own focal theme. I don’t think this class would have been as helpful if this was not the case. I think there could have been a bit more guidance during our first week when everything was new to me, but overall I am happy with the course design.

The design of the course also made me rethink how I teach my own lessons in an elementary school classroom. I now see greater value in student driven classrooms, and project based learning. I think Remi and Lisa really embrace the Freire concept of teaching, where the teacher is not the giver of all knowledge. There is so much that educators can learn from their students and I plan to use my student’s own backgrounds to help design fun and engaging lessons that meet the curriculum.

So thank you for joining me on this journey into storytelling. For more reflections and a portfolio of my work please check out my story via Storify: My Portfolio.




Week 7 Reflections!

It is wild to think this is the end of week 7! This course has gone by scary fast which means the summer is going by scary fast (especially for a teacher). However, it is exciting to know I’m at the finish line and about to complete my Master’s Degree! Crazy!

As for my work this week I completed all of the requirements of the week’s assignments by the required dates. I also met my own personal goal of spreading the week’s work out more than I had done the previous week, which I think helped improve the quality of work. I’m really glad I gave myself some more time to reflect on the reading, add to annotations and create for DS106. I was also really inspired by Lisa’s post this week about finding my voice, and tried to step a bit more outside of my comfort zone and share more of my voice-something I really don’t love doing on social media. Reflecting back on weeks past I can see how my I’ve become more and more comfortable sharing in the open. That being said sharing in the open is something I do still struggle with and at times find myself over analyzing before sharing-it’s the whole ANYONE can see this.

I did really enjoy our reading this week, and felt like it gave me an opportunity to be a bit more critical which is a good thing. I still wish that online annotating was something I had the opportunity to do in previous classes. I think our reading presented an ideal, but at times felt a bit unrealistic to implement at times. I also really enjoyed going back to looking over everyone’s work, not just those in our group. I found some blogs I really enjoyed and some work that really inspired and moved me. I wish there was more time to view it all! It’s amazing to see what people are creating. It also helped me see how we all have our own voice, even if it takes a bit for it to come out in full force.

After checking out some of the other blogs, ones that weren’t in my group, I realized how I would have liked to been reading them throughout the course. However, the great thing is I can go back and review more when I have the time. I’ve already bookmarked a few with themes I’m interested in exploring myself.

I think the larger issue surrounding my work and my theme is did I do enough? Did I do enough to connect my work to my theme? Does my DS106 work help me explore my theme? How do I feel about my theme now in relation to how I felt at the beginning of the course? I’m excited to explore all of these questions throughout our last week. Overall though I am really happy with the work I have produced and would say I have exceeded my own expectations of what I thought I could do, or would feel comfortable doing in this course.




Week 7: Digital Story Critique

This week I came across an article titled 10 Best TED Talks of 2014 for Educators. The article itself was from website that I had never heard of before that claims to connect technology and education-a good fit for this course.  I ended up choosing the first video on the list: Clint Smith’s The Danger of SilenceIt’s only 4 minutes-you should watch it.

The video is extremely powerful, and felt fitting considering everything that is going on in the world right now. It has a strong message that all educators can bring into their classrooms.

Based on Lankshear and Knobel’s framework I found the following:

  • What types of “involvement” – and by the author/creator(s), participant(s), and/or audience – are apparent in this story?

The author of the story Clint Smith, was involved in the story in multiple ways. He speaks his story through a lyrical narrative. He appears passionate and knowledgeable about his story, which makes it more interesting and engaging for the audience. The online audience has multiple ways of becoming involved in the story. They are able to comment on the story, share it in multiple ways, and rate the story.

  • How would you characterize the “literacy dimensions” present in this story?

Being a TED Talk with no visuals there aren’t many of the literacy dimensions that Lankshear and Knobel mention in their framework. However, the story has a strong narrative with interesting elements of poetry that help make it really amazing. It almost felt like a less is more situation-if there were other literacy dimensions I think it would have taken away from the story.

  • What are the online spaces and sites that bring this story to life? Why do these spaces and sites matter to the impact of the given story?

The story first came to life for me in the form of the article. I’m sure there are other websites that have shared this story as well. I actually realized for the first time that if you hover over the number of views the talk has had (over 3 million in this case) you can see the different outlets the video has been viewed by, which is a fun feature. Obviously the sharing of this video, and the fact that it comes in the form of the popular TED Talk, helps to expand its impact.

  • Based upon your assessment of involvement and literacy dimensions, what modifications and changes to this digital story might improve aspects of narrative, production, media usage, and/or audience engagement?

TED Talks always seem to have great production value, and this video was no exception. However, it was the content of the story and its delivery that made such an impact on me. I was really inspired by the message, and plan to talk its message into the classroom with me. It is truly a story that can be shared with all students. I really can’t think of anything I would change.

Dead Poets Society


This week I chose I design assignment from the DS106 Assignment Bank.  I landed on Design Assignment 1974: Favorite Movie Quote.  This assignment asked the creator to choose a favorite movie quote and insert the quote over an image from the movie.

I chose Dead Poets Society for a few reasons:

  1. It is an amazing movie.
  2. It goes along with the teaching theme.
  3. The quote could be used in a classroom.


First I used  to search for an image that allowed for modifications. Once I found an image that made sense I saved it to my desktop. Next, I had to think outside of the box on how to edit the image and add text. Most of these assignments I have been doing on my iPhone with different apps because I don’t have Photoshop on my desktop, but I decided to challenge myself to use my desktop-I figured it’s getting to the end of class I should be able to figure this out! I remembered that Lisa had mentioned something about PowerPoint being a good resource for editing, so I decided to try it out. From there it was pretty simple. I opened PowerPoint and pasted my chosen photo into a slide. Next I played around with the text features to get a look I liked. Finally, I added a border to the image to make it look a bit more like a poster.  I’m really happy with the result and I feel like I was able to make it my own-I know this is a popular movie so there are similar images found on the internet.


I really think this is an assignment I could adapt to use in the classroom. I’m picturing students doing a similar creation for one of their favorite books. It would give me insight into what they like to read and why, while allowing them to be creative.

Week 7 Reading Response:

This week we were given a choice between McIntosh (1989) and Nilsson (2010) for our required reading. I chose to read and annotate Nilsson (2010): Developing Voice in Digital Storytelling through Creativity, Narrative and Multimodality because I am very familiar with the McIntosh (1989) reading from other coursework.

Nilsson (2010) features Simon, a nine year old student, who finds it difficult to engage with tradition schoolwork. The article goes on to explain Simon’s increased motivation and engagement with the introduction of digital storytelling and the teacher’s expanded view on literacy. Nilsson (2010) explains the important of writing with voice and allowing students to find their voice in the classroom. Students need to be able to explore ideas that interest them, in order to increase intrinsic motivation. As I commented in my annotation:

hypothesis I was happy to see that some of my peers felt the same way-that schools are trying more and more to allow students to write about topics they care about, as long as the writing mechanics are present. It is an example of the importance of knowing what we as educators are assessing, if the content is not being assessed, just the writing, why can’t students pick their own topics? This should be considered in other subjects, not just writing. For example, new literacies, such as digital storytelling, should be used in subjects like science and social studies. As long as students can demonstrate an understanding of the subject area content it should not matter what form the knowledge takes. This also makes the job of the teacher more enjoyable. Grading student work that has “voice” is so much more enjoyable than grading work where students solely demonstrate memorization. As you can see this article once again expanded my views on digital storytelling and how it is used in the classroom.

I am curious about the specifics of this particular study of Simon and the work with his teacher. There were many times throughout the article I questioned how the teacher had so much time to be spending with one specific child. I appreciate the message of the article that students should be given multiple ways of expressing themselves in class, however I have to say this is easier said then done. At one point the article explains that Simon spent 70 minutes working on his project with his teacher-I have to wonder how this was possible. I noticed from my peers annotations I wasn’t the only one questioning this. Overall though I appreciate the message of the article and agree with the majority of its ideas.

These ideas led me to search for an article about using multimodality in the classroom with students with special needs. I chose to read Ting (2014): Multimodal Resources to Facilitate Language Learning for Students with Special Needs . This study discusses how the use of computer technology, like interactive whiteboards, can help to support learners with special needs. Studies have actually shown interactive whiteboards can increase student motivation and participation, things I had assumed but I was unaware of the research supporting these ideas. I appreciated this article because it included some realistic lessons, which helped support their findings. These realistic lessons helped me realize the problem with Nilsson’s (2010) article-some of it just didn’t seem transferable into an everyday classroom.

Overall, I enjoyed both articles this week, and really felt like I solidified my increased positive feelings about the use of technology to support and enhance student learning.