February 4, 2011
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Yesterday I lead a Digital Storytelling (DST) workshop for some English language students. This is the first time I have given this workshop to students – normally I give it as a training workshop for teachers so they can use DST as part of their courses. The Digital Story is created by choosing and uploading some photos, recording a commentary then adding some transitions to make the story more visual. An animated photo story really. This can be done on MovieMaker, Imovie, Powerpoint or online programmes such as Show Beyond. I normally use MovieMaker as it is easily available to all who use a pc and is a very simple programme.
DST can be a very effective tool for language learning and at the LSE Language Centre it forms part of the assessed coursework of the Spanish and French students. It is good for improving pronunciation and intonation as the student usually records their commentary several times until they are happy with it. It also increases confidence in the spoken language.
The English students were very enthusiastic and were in fact so keen that is was difficult to finish the workshop in an hour and a half. I was surprised that they wanted to work in groups as I had planned for each student to work on an individual story. I believed this would be more benificial to their language skills as they would have the maximum time to record their commentary. However, I found that the groups spent quite a lot of time discussing and planning their story, thereby using their language skills throughout the whole process not just at the commentary recording stage.
We have another DST workshop planned for March, this time in a Secondary school in Southall as part of a Language Enrichment Day. This workshop will probably be quite different as the students will be younger and their target language will be Spanish or French.