Storytelling on the Web

I’ve just waded into an e-mail discussion for the first time, one I;ve been listening in on invited, but until a post was made about storytelling and communities, specifically digital storytelling a la Joe Lambert and his Center for Digital Storytelling, I didn’t feel the urge to jump in. Now that I have, I suddenly see digital storytelling in educational contexts all over the place. Here, for instance, is a compendium of Courses worldwide using storytelling. Mind you, we’re always talking digital storytelling here, but it seems as though more and more classrooms are seeing the benefits of having kids tell stories/make movies as ways to a) create community, b)teach media literacy and production skills and c) initiate civic engagement.

More Discoveries…

As I write the paper for BLOGTALK 2, I am visiting some of my of my favorite hypertext and technology-in-education visionaries, George Landow and Jay David Bolter, right now throught their essays in the 2003 Digital Media Revisited. Whoa, how have I missed what Landow is doing at National University of Singapore? He may not be blogging quite the way we are at Middlebury ( and perhaps why Mark Bernstein suggests I contact him about our work, especially the archiving/live incorporation of previous semesters’ work), but he is creating many of the same kinds of interlinked, archived, layers and dimensions of student-centered learning that we are. I need to explore the site fully and consider how we might learn from his example.

I am also delighted to read in Bolter’s essay, “Theory and Practice in New Media Studies” a cogent explanation for the inability of humanities departments to “exploit the possibilities of multilinear rhetoric” (p.20) whereas teachers of writing “understand writing by computer as a new form whose continuity with and difference from writing for print are worth exploring.” (p. 26)

On Teaching Arts Writing Again…

I teach WP 200 Writing Across the Arts once every two years or so, and I always find myself having to change all kinds of things in the course because so much has changed in the art world. Last time I taught it, in the Spring of 2003, I thought I had the blogging aspect down, at least, and so what would change was the focus of our endeavor, not the process, and certainly not the tools. HA!

Reality #1 Tools change/grow/are abandoned and so Writing Across the Arts moves not only to a new blog, but from Manila to Movable Type. And so a not particularly tech-saavy but relatively fearless teacher embarks on a new arts writing blog adventure. With the help of two energetic, expert students (Cha-ly and Kristen) I am transferring the entire Manila arts writing blog to this one (and what a task that is!!).

Reality #2 The arts world is as affected by technology as I am, and all kinds of things are happening and are possible now that weren’t before. Right now I am exploring the incredible range of Arts Journal on line, their feeds (some 180 journals) and their bloggers. I plan to do something with these blogs–have students choose one to follow and comment on? I also am thinking very seriously of having the arts writing blog BE an online journal, updated daily. Gotta talk with Héctor about this.

Reality#3 Technology both makes life easier and more complex. As the editors of Digital Media Revisited write in their Introduction, “Innovation implies increased flexibility and freedom, but also increased complexity.” Hmmmm…..Indeed… I’ve taken on way too much this summer and a wondering how I can possibly do it all well, plus really learn the ins and outs of MT and sharpen my Dreamweaver and FinalCutPro skills, learn Flash, etc. etc. especially when Nora is home for the summer before going off to college…