Choose Your Own Literacy Adventure (4/5)

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The following is the fourth in a five-part series of posts by guest blogger Nancy Pine (Columbus State Community College – Delaware).

Post 4: Digital Media/Digital Storytelling as a Revising Strategy

After drafting and participating in peer review, as a revising activity—a tool to re-see their written drafts—students draw on tools of digital storytelling to compose a digital media version of all or part of their project.  

After sharing my digital storytelling example (see below) and what I realized creating it (e.g. pacing, description, editing), I then illustrate for students ways their digital media version may be as low-tech or high-tech as they would like. For example, students who are really into video and/or audio production often make their own movie version of all or part of their literacy narrative draft. Other students locate and add photographs or create their own illustrations—experimenting with ways to tell their literacy narrative visually. Many students use a voice memo app on their phone to record themselves reading their literacy narrative aloud, while others play with font choices and spacing to emphasize, or de-emphasize, dialogue, for example.

Regardless of the varied ways students interpret this digital media revising activity, students’ reflections are essential. For example, students listening to their audio version of their draft have reported being bored with their own narrative when their chosen purpose may be to entertain readers, or they realize they have no conclusion and the project ends abruptly. Other students, after incorporating images, may realize how much more character and setting description they may include to show their point. Students who played with text design, through choosing to highlight particular phrases, may find they have now discovered the theme for the narrative and their overall point about literacy.

Many students decide to keep working with their digital media version of the project to revise as their final project, such as experimenting with design and using images. Some students, working with audio, decide to revise and edit their written draft as a transcript and then re-record and submit both as their final draft. Given it’s the first assignment in the course, and time is limited, most students working with video do not have time to revise and edit movie versions of their literacy narratives and use them only in service to revising the written text. However, the assignment—coupled with the varied media on the DALN—expand students’ definition of literacy and what it means to compose.

Coming up next. . . After examining personal, anecdotal literacy experiences—their own literacy narratives and those of others—students may study how such lived experiences speak back to theories of literacy.

Nancy Pine is an associate professor of English at Columbus State Community College, Delaware Campus, where she teaches composition courses. She is the author of the Open Educational Resource (OER) Writing in Context and articles in publications including Teaching English in the Two-Year College and the Journal of Basic Writing.