January 25, 2010
Teacher Education students take digital storytelling to the classroom

It's not often that pre-service teachers in the first semester of their program get to see the immediate impact of what they are learning within an actual classroom.

This was not the case for two excited new professionals, Carlos Vass and Jennifer Freeman, who currently work as Teacher Assistants in the 2nd and 3rd grades, respectively, at Jonesville Elementary School in Yadkin County and are enrolled in Lees-McRae's Elementary Education Surry Community College Cohort of 2009.

Inspired by the ease of use and potential creativity of creating digital stories learned in their Computer and Media Applications in Education course during the fall of 2009, they both decided to see how well the idea would translate in the real world.

It was met with great enthusiasm and success. "It's not often that you can get every second grader to sit absolutely still and focused, especially for long periods of time, but when I introduced the idea of creating a class digital story in which they would each get a chance to narrate and depict a particular part of the story and then showed them an example, they were!" stated Mr. Vass.

According to Leslie Rule of the Digital Storytelling Association, "Digital storytelling is the modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling. Digital stories derive their power by weaving images, music, narrative and voice together, thereby giving deep dimension and vivid color to characters, situations, experiences, and insights."

Mr. Vass's class dressed in costume and narrated a favorite Halloween story Witch, Witch by Arden Druce. Ms. Freeman's class had the opportunity to write, illustrate, and narrate their own story called, The House at the End of the Street.

"One of the best parts of the process was the editing phase. Students got to view their work critically and then decide together how they could make their final product even better," shared Ms. Freeman.

After sharing their result with their class, several other teachers in the school, and the principal, both Mr. Vass and Ms. Freeman were asked to conduct a workshop on how to create and use digital storytelling for other teachers in the school. The Lees-McRae Education Department and their Computer Media Professor, Sabrina Crawford, are proud of the exemplary performance, dedication, and entrepreneurial leadership shown by these two new rising stars in teacher education.

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