Digital Storytelling – A Final Reflection

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As a learner in this course

As Learning with Digital Stories (INTE 5340)  comes to an end, there are three main ideas that will stick with me after this course. First is the distinction between the “push” and “pull” models of learning. Looking back on courses that I’ve previously taken, I now realize that they’ve relied heavily on the “push” model, where learning outcomes are usually predetermined. This has typically resulted in myself learning only what my instructor wanted me to learn and regurgitating that information back. This course; on the other hand, leans toward the “pull” model, which brings in resources as needed. Through social interactions on Twitter and other online communities I’ve used for “how-to” guides, I was able to incorporate and extend my learning beyond our required readings. This demonstrates a deeper type of learning, which Lankshear and Knobel (2011) describe as “learning to be.”

The next idea that will stay with me is how we define literacy. Before this course, I thought of literacy as nothing more than just having the ability to be able to read and write. It is much more than that, there are many new literacies that have been greatly enabled and enhanced by new technologies. Holding everyone to only the classic definition of literacy is ineffective and doesn’t encourage learning. I will try to use these new literacy practices when possible to influence how I learn in future coursework or pursue my own interests. These practices include embracing participation, sharing expertise, and using collaboration.

Finally, I learned the importance of my using my voice and how powerful it can be in storytelling. I use to think blogging was pointless because no one would want to read what I had to stay. This course has changed all of that, as will be evident in my final portfolio. I’ve had some fantastic interactions this semester with new people not even in this course. I think that’s what being a connected learner is all about. Obviously I’ve been active in the DS106 community this summer, with the work we’ve been creating, but I’ve also participated in other communities. For example, a lot of the work I’ve been doing is in Adobe Create Cloud, so I’ve relied on those forums for answers to many of my technical questions.

My co-design of this course

Learning with Digital Stories was very different than any course I’ve previously taken, both in my undergraduate and graduate careers. I’ve never been in a course where I had the ability to contribute to and guide my own learning. I’ve taken design and multimedia classes before, but I’ve created more content in this eight week class than I ever have in the past. For me, it wasn’t just about creating the content either; I didn’t realize it in the first couple of weeks, but every piece of content I created, every story I told, was actually important to me and had a purpose. Each one of these stories drew on some experience or connection from my personal life. I’ve never had a class that allowed me to do this in such a way before.

Being able to choose my own focal theme was a big part of how I stayed engaged in this course and directed my own learning. I was responsible for picking the DS106 assignments that I wanted to do, I was able to choose my own story critiques, and I had to find my own interest-driven research articles. When I needed to find out how to perform I a certain task, such as green screen keying, I turned to Google to research it. Aside from my own learning, I also contributed to the development of this course through some of the Twitter conversations I had and comments I left on my peer’s blogs. I tried asking questions to challenge my peer’s when I could and I left meaningful feedback where applicable.

If I were to design this course differently, there are two aspects I would consider modifying. First, I felt that it was a slow start before I started having some deep interactions with our learning community on Twitter. I wonder if there could have been a way to encourage more conversations earlier on? Perhaps having some type of icebreaker every week that everyone needs to respond on would have helped. Second, as the course went on I found the overall weeks to be somewhat repetitive. While I understand why the course was designed this way (more on this in the next section), the writing assignments were a bit mundane for me. This could be just because I enjoy the creative activities more, but I would have had the story critiques every other week and then added a different type of writing assignment (maybe from the DS106 assignment bank as well) in between.

My understanding of pedagogy

Learning with Digital Stories is only the second class in the Information & Learning Technologies program that I’ve taken and since I do not have much of an educational/teaching background, pedagogy was a pretty new term for me at the start of this class. In a way, I think this is a good thing because I had no preconceived notions of how I should be teaching and was open to all of the ideas presented in this course. As a student in previous courses, I’ve also been through some poorly designed ones, Learning with Digital Stories has caused me to reflect on many of these. In past courses, the instructor would basically tell us what we need to know and tell us our learning outcomes. In this course, all participants were the instructor, learning together, and sharing our collective knowledge. This was more rewarding as I believe I will walk away with the indented ideas from this course, but also skills and techniques that I learned through my own curiosities.

Final Portfolio

Click the image below to view my final Learning with Digital Stories portfolio…



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