Innovative Learning Blog
ED 790-Homework Log-Lit review, focusing on what my research tells me about my driving question-Nov. 25th 2016
I have gathered about 8 case studies that will help me in my own research project. My driving question is "How does digital storytelling affect the writing skills of 2nd grade students?"
As I read through the case studies, I am starting to see some trending ideas emerge as well as see more of a clear big picture as to how my own project will take shape.
I have noticed that case studies on digital storytelling focus a lot on literacy skills with a focus on engagement. It has been very helpful to investigate case studies that align with my own. One case study (Niemi, Multisilta, 2016) is about how students become engaged and motivated when using digital storytelling. The research was done in three countries: Finland, Greece, United States (California). The data of 319 students that participated revealed that learning is seen as a result of dialogical interactions between people, substances, and artifacts. This investigation has helped me understand the student's motivation when doing digital storytelling, which I will be to apply to in my own study.
I have also noticed that a lot of the case studies are focused on writing skills. Writing and digital storytelling share a common theme in that they both require the student to create something visual and textual that the audience can use for entertainment and/or information. There are a few case studies that I am investigating that focus on writing skills. One that has been of great use, is “Storytelling in primary-grade classrooms” (Foley, 2014) because of it's focus on first and second graders. I teach second grade so it is helpful to view other case studies that have a similar age demographic. This has helped me foresee how digital storytelling might look like in my own classroom and has provided me insight into some of the successes and pitfalls that may arise with my own students. Foley's case study also focuses on similar themes that I am interested in such as: how did the students perform in relation to Common Core Writing Standards, how they developed identities as writers, and how they were motivated throughout the learning process.
Since digital storytelling is technologically based and constantly changing in accordance with the latest tech innovations, a lot of the case studies have been recent. I have found a lot of information that has helped me shape my instructional methods. One article that has provided useful information for my project is "Developing literacy practices through digital storytelling" (Kulla-Abbot, Therese M, 2008). This is a case study that looked at specifically how digital storytelling affected writing skills, which again ties into my driving question. This case study was helpful in guiding me on how to scaffold instruction. In this case study, they focused on three projects, each of which served as a building block for the next project. Using this building block methodology helped me refine my own instruction. The first project in this case study focused around technological tools, cooperative groupings, and organization of the process. The second project focused on the development of personal narratives including emotion. The students worked independently to ensure that each student understood the process and tools. By the third project students were able to conceptualize organization by utilizing the digital storyboard and adding additional genres of writing to their portfolio. The students were able to understand the importance of storytelling components, such as organization, voice, emotion, pacing, and the value behind editing while developing the skills to present. I am excited to dive into my own case study!
When I read about Hammond's "Meaningful learning goals" it seems like she's referring to Common Core. I agree that we need standards. A lot of people do not like Common Core, but I appreciate the standards because they serve as a guide as to what students should be learning. I think it is the curriculum that muddles the bigger picture laid out by the standards.
When reading about Hammond's "Intelligent, reciprocal accountability systems", a phrase stood out to me, which was that a successful learning environment is one that guarantees "adequate and appropriate resources". I think this will never be addressed until you address "equitable and adequate resources". Unless, the funding changes from an equal distribution of resources to an equitable distribution of resources, the school systems will never have "intelligent, reciprocal accountability systems" as well as "equitable and adequate resources".
I agree with Hammond that educators are "the most fundamental of all resources" and should be held with the highest standards and given the highest support. The day when teachers are given stipends to further their education in areas that interest them, and when teachers are well compensated, is the day when other people will begin to respect the profession instead of feel sorry for the profession.
People often make cliched comments like "Good for you. We need good educators. Educators are so important for the future. I thank you for what you do."
What they are really saying is: "Wow, everyone knows how difficult it is to educate one child let alone 25-35 of them. How do you do it? I'd rip my hair out. In addition, you get paid about as much money in a year as I make in a month (or a week or a day). Despite the craziness of common core, kids bouncing off the walls, society blaming you for "gaps" in education, and making wages lower than the person who picks up my garbage once a week, thank you for educating the youth. You are important because the people I higher today for my successful business may have been influenced by you."
The wealthy elite don't have an incentive for educational change. Money can purchase the type of successful education that is talked about by Hammond. The incentive has to come from those who still believe in public education, especially from those who have no choice because they can't afford private education.
The last key element, "Schools organized for student and teacher learning" to me is all about teacher collaboration. Teacher collaboration can be awesome, and I believe that it is effective, however, there are also pitfalls to teacher collaboration. One of the pitfalls is having all the teachers educate with uniformity instead of creativity.
I agree with Dewey's quote: “What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must we want for all children in the community. Any other ideal for our schools is narrow and unlovely; acted upon, it destroys our democracy”.
We need to treat each child as our own. I believe one of the biggest issues with education today is lack of professional intervention. A good educator, who works one on one, will connect, motivate, and empower any child. Sometimes we don't have enough educators to intervene, and sometimes we don't have enough good ones. Intervention should never be done unless you are highly educated and highly qualified.
How does digital storytelling affect students' engagement with writing skills?
Tech Tools Used to Implement the Action Research Study:
The lead teacher (T) in this study will be using a MacBook Pro and an overhead projector (IPEVO) to do most whole group direct instruction. The MacBook and other computer devices will also be used for small group and one on one instruction.
Students (Ss) will be using Smart phones, usb's, and IPADS to download digital photos into computers that will then be transferred to the Internet based program "Animoto". Ss will then use Animoto to create, edit, and publish their digital stories.
The reason behind choosing these tech tools:
The reason why I chose Animoto is because I am enrolled in a Master's program for Innovative learning, which promotes web 2.0 tools, and I wanted to teach some of the web tools I have learned in my Master's program with my second grade Ss. Animoto is a program that I learned from my program and it is a tool that I have used to create personal videos. I have enjoyed creating the videos, and for the first time I feel like I am doing something technologically cutting edge, even if at a very basic level. I knew that my Ss would share the same excitement because I have witnessed in my five years of teaching that Ss gravitate towards technology, especially if it's something new they can learn, if it's challenging, and/or if they can utilize it to create something personal. Animoto is new to my Ss, challenging, and they will create personal narratives that they will be able to edit, publish, and present to an audience.
The other tech tools (Ex: MacBook, computer lab, usb's, IPADS, e.t.c.) are to assist the creation of the Animoto projects. I anticipate a necessity to have a variety of tech resources that will be used to download photos and pics because not everybody has equal access to the same technological tool.
Description of Case Study:
This study will use mixed methods. The quantitative part of the study will involve pre-experimental design. The quantitative data will be derived from pretest and posttest scores on storytelling. Students will create personal narrative stories first in the traditional manner with pencil and paper writing. Then they will transfer that story to digital format with Animoto. Students will have a story frame to work from. The traditionally written stories will provide the pretest data; the digital stories will provide posttest data. Qualitative data will be provided through observations and a focus group discussion with students about their engagement with the digital format. These data will be compared to confirm the results.
The students involved in the study will be a convenience sample, which will be 25 students that are classroom students of the researcher. Of the the 25 students, 14 are ELL’s and thre rest are EO’s. The students involved attend a 90-10 Bilingual elementary school. Writing and Reading is tested both in English and Spanish. Three out of the 25 students are below proficiency in Spanish reading, according to school benchmark standards. 10 out of the 25 students are below proficiency in English reading. Of the 25 students, 15 of them are below proficiency in either content or conventions (or both) in Spanish writing, and 17 of them are below proficiency in either content and conventions (or both) in English writing. No randomization or controls will be used. This study will be done in the regular classroom during the regular school day which is the safest way to collect the data. I will collect and analyze all of the data myself. No remuneration is involved. All student data will be held confidential.
Step by Step Plan:
1.) T will introduce the topic Digital Storytelling to second grade Ss by asking them "What is Digital Storytelling?" T will have a discussion with the class about digital storytelling.
2.) T will introduce Ss to Animoto. T will create a digital story (using Animoto) with the Ss using an IPhone, a MacBook, and an overhead projector (IPEVO) to present the finished product.
3.) T will model to Ss how to create an account with Animoto.
4.) T will create accounts (after school hours) for Ss in order to save time on project that has time constraints.
5.) T will model to class (whole group instruction) using MacBook and IPEVO on how to Login to Animoto using Ss' accounts that were created by the T.
6.) After whole group instruction, T will work with 4 Ss one on one (during silent reading time) and teach them how to Login to Animoto. Those Ss will become "Animoto experts" and will be able to help other Ss Login into their respective accounts during "Computer Lab" time.
7.) T will bring Ss to computer lab and will have Ss attempt to Login into their Animoto accounts as instructed during whole group instruction (step #5). The 4 Ss that became "Animoto experts" will have to demonstrate their ability to Login into their account in the computer lab (just like the rest of the Ss), however, they will have additional training and might finish early to help other Ss. As soon as a S is done logging in, they will raise their hand silently and show the T that they have successfully logged in. Once they have done so, they will either become an "Animoto expert" to help others or begin working on their English phonics program called IREADS.
8.)T will model to Ss (whole group instruction) using MacBook and IPEVO on how to create a digital video using Animoto and with photos already downloaded onto a computer. T will show how to upload the pictures into Animoto, select background music, and incorporate text (using correct capitalization, punctuation, and spelling). T will introduce district created rubric for content and conventions and inform the Ss that they will be graded based on it, and let them know that the focus will be on conventions (correct capitalization, punctuation, and spelling).
T will meet individually with each S to review where they stand on the most current pencil and paper writing exam in regards to content and conventions so that goals can be set for the post writing test which will be done digitally using Animoto.
9.) T will model to Ss on how to create an Animoto digital video by taking pictures (using an Iphone) of printed photographs and then transferring them to a computer and then to Animoto. This will be done because many Ss will bring sets of photographs from home that will be digitalized by tech tools and Animoto to tell a personal digital story.
10.) T will model to Ss how to create an Animoto digital video by taking pictures with an IPAD, such as students reading silently. This will be done because some Ss will not bring printed photographs from home to be digitalized, so an alternative will be to use IPADS provided by the school and use them to create personal (school) narratives such as: What I did at recess, P.E., my best friend, or any idea they can come up with. Ss who bring in printed photographs will also have opportunities to create digital stories using IPADS as a camera.
11.)T will model to Ss how to create an Animoto digital video using an USB to download photos to a computer and then to Animoto.
12.) T will work with 4 Ss one on one (during silent reading time) and teach them how to digitalize the photos (they brought from home either printed or on a USB) using Animoto. Those Ss will become "Animoto 'printed' photograph experts" or "Animoto 'USB' experts" and will be able to help other Ss digitalize their photos during "Computer Lab" time.
13.) T will bring Ss to computer lab, and have those Ss who brought photographs to digitalize their photos using Animoto. Other Ss that didn't bring photos will work on IREADS program.
13.) T will brainstorm ideas with Ss about photos that they can photograph at school using an IPAD that would tell a short story that could be digitalized using Animoto. Examples of ideas might be art work I've done this year, my classroom, my best friends, how to solve a math problem, e.t.c.)
T will write ideas on chart paper. T will have Ss that didn't bring photos use an IPAD to choose an idea from the chart paper or create their own idea of what they will take pictures of using the IPAD.
14.) T will bring Ss to computer lab, and those that don't have pictures to work with will work on IREADS. Those that do have pictures will work on their Animoto projects with the T giving guidance when needed or requested.
15.) T will have Ss that didn't bring pictures or a USB to take pictures using an IPAD, which will be later transferred to Animoto.
16.) T will bring Ss to computer lab so that all Ss can work on their projects. T will have Ss that have made significant progress in their project to assist others that need to catch up.
17.) T will provide whole group instruction feedback on the development of the Animoto projects. Some Ss may or may not present on this day. T will use examples of Ss who have finished or close to finishing as models to Ss who are still working on completing their own.
18.) T will bring Ss to computer lab to work on completion of projects. T will emphasize the rubric being used to evaluate each S's project, especially conventions (capitalization, punctuation, and spelling).
19.) T will provide whole group instruction feedback on the completion of projects.
20.) T will allow Ss to work on Final Project that will be graded. T will re-emphasize the importance of content and conventions, focusing more on conventions. Ss will have until the end of the day to complete projects. This Final Project will be done solo, and the only assistance will be of the T who will assist in accessing the Animoto account and any technological troubleshooting that may occur (ex: sound not working, computer freezing, internet not responding, e.t.c.)
One of the key ideas from John Seeley Brown that resonated with me is that what many of the skills that we are teaching students today will be rendered useless in about five years. I've had discussions with teachers about how cursive is no longer taught in schools, and that handwriting may be obsolete in the primary levels in the near future. At the middle school level in Napa, all students have replaced the pencil and paper with chrome books. If the world uses digital technology to produce writing, then at what age to we stop teach pencil and paper writing and introduce the keyboard and Microsoft Word.
The key idea that stood out for me from Howard Gardner is that a lot of people mistake "discipline" for "subject matter". I like that he brought up History, because that is one of the subjects almost all teachers mistake "discipline" for "subject matter". I had a history professor at Napa Junior College who told us one day the importance of History has nothing to do with names and dates. I was relieved that for the first time in my life I had a professor who cared less about memorizing dates and names and only cared about the incredible stories from the past, how they effect us today, and what we can learn from it to help us shape a better society.
Ken Robinson nails it when he says that public school systems kill creativity. It is difficult to agree with it because I am the driver who drives the creativity killing machine. I don't want to drive the machine, but I am forced to by my administrative staff who is forced to by their administrative staff at the district level and so forth and so on. As Ken Robinson states, school were set up to meet the needs of industrialization. Kids are steered away from music and dance because they are told that they will never become professionals and that they really just need to focus on reading and writing. Programs like AVID, are considered amazing because they set up students for college. I would like a program that sets students up for life in the real world. My experience with education is that the public system is created to numb the minds of the youth so they can be spoon fed the desires and intentions of the filthy rich. It's just that Ken Robinson has a better way of articulating how I feel.
No administrator in Napa wants me doing digital storytelling with my students, playing my guitar and percussion instruments, singing, dancing, acting, because all of that is not part of the curriculum which was purchased with millions of our tax dollars. In addition, if another teacher doesn't play the guitar or posess the skills for digital storytelling than a teacher who does can't pursue that with their students because the world is all about "Collaboration", which in the eyes of district administrators looks like every teacher doing everything exactly the same so a data specialist can disect what exactly motivated the students to learn, or what didn't work, and what would be the next step. Collaboration meetings are often the exact opposite of promoting creativity. What is going to burn me out as a teacher is not the workload, the horrible pay, but the stifling of my creativity which trickles down to my students who end up having their creativity suppressed and sometimes wiped out completely.
Who are the seminal people researching in the area of your driving question? What are they known for? What are the big ideas? Tell us about the state-of-the-art knowledge related to your question.
My driving question is "How does digital storytelling affect student engagement with writing skills"?
There are a lot of seminal people leading the field of digital storytelling. I haven't found a lot of articles about digital storytelling in how it relates to student engagement with writing, so this blog focuses on leaders in the field of digital storytelling.
One leader is Dr. Bernard R. Robin, who is the Associate Professor of Learning, Design, and Technology at the University of Houston. He has been a professor at the University of Houston since 1993. Dr. Robin has written numerous articles related to technology, education, and health sciences. He has also taught courses and conducted case studies on digital storytelling. One of the big ideas around technology/education is the shift from focusing on technology to how technology can be utilized to enhance/improve the educator's teaching and the student's learning. In other words, if it can be done without technology-awesome!-but if it can be enhanced or improved with technology then let's figure out how to use it.
Another leader in the field of digital storytelling is Dr. Trang Phan from Fresno State University. She is also teaching courses on digital storytelling at the university level, conducting case studies, and publishing her articles in scholarly syndications. Recently she did a case study that looked at the relationship between a student's motives of engagement and their prior knowledge of the subject and how they affected their course performance in a digital storytelling classroom. The case found that students who had motives for participation (such as gaining skills, improving professional practice, earning a certificate e.t.c) and had prior background knowledge of the subject, were more successful than those students who had less motives and less background knowledge. The big idea was to gain insight into student's behaviors that may have contributed to their success in a digital storytelling classroom environment.
Another seminal in the field of education and technology is Glynda Hull, who teaches at UC Berkeley. She teaches literacy and media with a focus on technology. She has published over 100 articles, books, and other writings on topics such as digital technology and their applications in schools. She did a a comparative case study of a child and an adult who used digital storytelling to portray their lives and different critical moments throughout an entire year. The cases demonstrated the power of digital storytelling with regards to motivation and giving voice to the person creating the project.
I have found it useful to search for leaders in this field, because it has helped me gather new sources for my thesis paper. It has also opened my eyes to new areas revolving around digital storytelling.