Children are natural born storytellers. And they love to trade their tales like currency: whether their own stories or through sharing new concepts or discoveries.
This is why digital storytelling has become such a popular tool for today’s students and educators alike. Digital storytelling allows students to:
• Convey their ideas through the media they themselves most enjoy: video
• Create personal stories and statements that can be shared beyond the classroom
• Provide feedback and interaction
Video harnesses student creativity through the creation of content—not just consumption—while persuading, informing, and inspiring others. Digital storytelling also highlights critical thinking skills such as evaluating research materials, analyzing data, and reflecting upon learning experiences while employing multiple skills such as writing, speaking, and design.
Motivation also increases when students realize their work could be shared not only with peers, but beyond the classroom as well. Digital storytelling also gives all students—whether shy, extroverted, or burdened by a particular learning challenge—an opportunity to express themselves using multimedia.
Flipping Out with Video
And it’s not just for students: educators are relying on video more and more as an integral component of their curriculum. Educational videos can incite group discussion, add more interest to lectures, serve as demonstrations and how-to resources, be a more compelling way to deliver feedback to students, and provide a powerful vehicle for student learning through video projects and student-created media.
“Flipped” learning is a particularly popular strategy commonly used by educators who realize the power of video. In a “flipped” classroom, the educator posts instructional material in the form of videos, links, and resources for learners to review outside of the classroom. For example, students may watch an instructional video online, then the next day in the classroom, work with a group on an activity where they apply the information from the video.
Flipped learning strategies open up more possibilities to include and interact with all students—rather than just those who usually participate in a whole-class discussion or activity. The use of digital collaboration and communication tools empower students to voice comments and opinions and to review content at their own speed: allowing for deeper understanding and a more personalized experience.
The ability to easily create their own video and media helps educators to better customize lessons and increase relevancy and impact: generating excitement about a concept.
Adobe Spark Video (formerly Adobe Voice) is a free and simple-to-use tool that allows students and instructors to create compelling animated narrated videos with amazing ease. These videos help students deepen their learning− building unique and engaging reports and presentations through a simple yet immersive workflow. Adobe Spark Video gently prompts users through the video creation process. Students and teachers simply record their own voices to shape their projects one section at a time, then either pick from thousands of professional icons and images or use their own to bring their digital stories to life.
Spark Video works on iOS devices as well as desktop or laptop computers to accommodate most situations, based as device preference or learning scenario.
Other free video tools ideal for educators and students alike include:
• Wevideo (a free, collaborative, cloud-based online video editor)
• Pixorial (a simple platform for editing and sharing videos)
• Powtoon (an animation tool)
• Wideo (an online animation platform)
With these tools, teachers and students can:
- Turn stories into captivating animated and narrated videos
- Easily present reports, explain concepts in class, or tell personal narratives
- Create short lessons promoting interest in a book or an historical event
- Capture experiences while on field trips, then reflect on them through video
- Display lab report findings along with pictures and spoken observations
- Capture highlights of the school year or promote upcoming school events
- Share with class, peers, school, friends, family, community, and/or the world
Video draws students and educators closer to learning by making it more personal and more visually dynamic while increasing student enjoyment and retention. Still, despite its power, educators must ensure that video is meaningfully integrated into their curriculum, otherwise it’s just a distraction. Educational video should complement classroom activities while improving student understanding and not simply be a means of presenting information that may be better conveyed in person.
Creativity and fluid communication are skills today’s students need to fuel the 21st century workforce. And the process of creating the video itself that can truly deepen learning for students.