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Powerful Learning Journeys

Hi to all who attended the workshop at the Learning@ Schools Conference in Rotorua entitled Powerful Learning Journeys – Using Digital Story Telling Within an ePortfolio to Show the Learning Process.

Much has been written about Digital Story Telling, usually with respect to stories telling one’s family history, or stories about a holiday or other significant event. This same concept can be used to tell powerful stories about student learning. It can enable students to provide evidence of their learning and their journeys through the learning process.

It is very common for teachers to have students maintain a folio, portfolio or some other record of learning. Most often this is a record of the outcome of that learning with results, conclusions, or displays set out.

It is my contention that true learning takes place during the process of learning. The product is simply the outcome of that learning. Where we do not having access to the process students went through as they came to their conclusions or outcomes we have limited knowledge as to the true understandings they may have.

Through providing evidence of the process teachers gain a much greater understanding of each student’s growing development as a learner. Teachers can track the learning journey through hearing in the student’s own voice their thoughts, their hypotheses, their working steps, their conclusions and their reflections. Teachers can more readily determine a student’s true level of understanding through their record of process and progress providing greater insight than any test with a focus purely on the outcome results can ever provide.

Digital story telling can readily show that learning journey. A short video clip with the student providing an overview of their work and what led to their final outcomes can provide such evidence. More simply, this can be achieved through a series of 5-6 still photographs, put together into a simple slide show, with the student’s voice over providing an explanation of the different stages they have progressed through to reach their final conclusions or outcomes. The effect can be enhanced with the addition of an appropriate music sound track. The technology does not have to be complex. A computer and a digital camera can do all that is required.

Much has been written about digital story telling and a web search will bring up a vast number of sites to explore. I think the best starting point however would be to go to Helen Barrett’s site http://www.electronicportfolios.org

Helen has a whole section explaining digital story telling, a video tutorial, examples, and a list of tools that could be used.

I hope that all helps and wish you well with your digital story telling!

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