Friday, February 15, 2013

Digital Storytelling and Narratology

We've been experimenting with digital storytelling in #ETMOOC over the past two weeks, so I've been thinking about ways to incorporate them into my Latin courses.  Some closing thoughts, before we move on to digital literacy:

Today, I introduced the Latin IBs to Project 3, our digital story.  They're asked form a group of 2 or 3 and record a video dialogue.  I've suggested that they use the Oxford Latin Course story as a point of departure and build a side story around some of the main characters.  Alternatively, they can build on some of the myths we've read together or even just make up an entirely new story.  First, they'll work through their script using a Google Doc, before beginning the video recording, which should also help me to keep tabs on their progress.  I've shared with them a few of the video tools I've been exploring, but I think that video may be easiest to record using YouTube Capture, given that most of our students have iPhones, but we've got cameras for loan in our library too.  All video editing can be accomplished within our GAFE YouTube account, though I think kids will default to iMovie or MovieMaker.  Finally, they'll share the video by uploading it to YouTube and submitting the link to me via a Google form.  Fortunately, they were really into it, and I'm looking forward to watching the finished products (they're due Wednesday, 3/13).  I'm holding out hopes, though, that a few groups will do Latin animations with GoAnimate.

In Latin III, we're currently reading through Apuleius' Cupid and Psyche myth, and I'd like to build a deeper understanding of the myth by thinking about story in a different way.  Earlier in the year when we were just getting started with CP, I introduced Vladimir Propp's conception of narratology and his 31 "narremes" to them, which is always fun.  And now that we're near finishing it, it's time for us to do more discussion of its structure.  They've been recording their nightly reading notes in a blog that's helped them to collaborate and interact with each other (more than I anticipated too, which is another post for another day), and I've asked them to blog some questions over this long weekend, including an option on narratology:
  • Within in the list of 31 narremes, where are we in CP right now? 
  • What do you expect will happen in the rest of the story, based on what has already happened?  
  • How well does Propp's system work for CP and why or why not?
Later next week, I'll ask them to respond to each other and put their thoughts to the test, and when we finally finish the story, I'll have them look for parallels in modern stories.  While this exercise doesn't involve digital storytelling in and of itself, they're still engaging with the story in an active way, intuitively thinking about where the plot will take them.

I'll test out a smaller project to do with my Latin I class (Blabberize?  An animated GIF?) later this spring so I can start to imagine how they can do this kind of work during class, when our 1:1 program begins next fall.  These short stories should be perfect for in-class exercises.

To be honest, I thought students would enjoy these sorts of projects, but I've been surprised at just how enthusiastically they have embraced them.  Not only does the technology make it relatively do do digital storytelling projects, but they really help students to do things with the language in fun and engaging ways.  It's win-win for all of us.