Published: March 8, 2013

Just as a recap: I am teaching my visual art students how to use digital storytelling in order to 1) learn how to use narrative as a form of persuasion 2) how language is not “fixed” but always interacting with other media—sound and visuals 3) to have them discover a more powerful writing voice.

How will you know if your students have achieved the intended outcome?

I plan on developing a basic rubric for the digital story in order to construct more concrete outcomes for my students. This will be especially useful since students are often curious about how much technical excellence is required in the project, or if the idea or creativity count more. The rubric will help them see the interconnectedness of the two.

Another way to measure the strength of this assignment is if the students were willing to use it as part of a professional portfolio, such as a website that branded their art. That would mean that they have seen some intrinsic value to the assignment that went beyond the classroom.

Lastly, I will be grading the assignment on fluidity, narrative strength, creativity, and persuasion, and will give them feedback. This gives them the opportunity to revise their digital story before the final presentation (where they will show the class their videos).

How will you know if the changes you made in your teaching made a difference?

The students will write a reflective paper describing how, exactly, they went about achieving the objectives of the rubric. I believe this will show me both the strengths and weaknesses of the first rubric used in class, and will allow me to see how students are connecting the guidelines of the assignment to their own objectives of the piece.

I have kept past digital stories made by students, and plan to do a comparison study, to see if the rubric has made a difference in the quality and creativity of the stories.

This semester, I have changed some of my teaching practices by having students read their scripts out loud, and this has helped significantly in developing their voice as they have been able to hear other the “voices” of other students when reading. They can also hear sparse narratives that are meant to more directly interact with the visuals. This kind of peer review also leads to better analysis of the final project, both for the students, and for the audience.

How will you identify/measure growth in your students or in your teaching?

The digital story is a formative assignment, since it comes before the final project. I hope to see a marked difference in the quality of their multi-modal final projects. One outcome I’ve already seen is that the student who wrote a digital story on nutrition now wants to work collaboratively with another student to create an online college cookbook. The collaborative nature of the digital storytelling workshop allowed students to see deeper connections they had that went outside the normal “visual arts” track. In that sense, the authentic voices they discovered led to a greater sense of collaboration.

I am also hoping to see this authentic writing voice be more apparent as they use social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

I might have them write a reflective piece at the end of the semester describing the strengths or weaknesses of the digital storytelling process as a scaffolding assignment. Did they see the value in creating such a piece in order to get them ready for the final, multimodal project.