Saturday, February 28, 2009

The website Morgue File sounds ominous, but as the site author explains, the term " is popular in the newspaper business to describe the file that holds past issues flats. Although the term has been used by illustrators, comic book artist, designers and teachers as well."

In this case, it's the name of a wonderful little website chock full of free stock images. There are a number of these sites out there, but most have a blend of free and licensed stock which make them more difficult to use in the classroom. This presents a problem if you are concerned about copyright issues as you build your digital stories.

Of course, the best option by far is to create your own images ... gaining a greater sense of ownership over the piece your creating ... but that's not always possible or practical. Morgue File offers a nice clean UI, and a good source of high resolution stock ... and did I mention it's free?
Watch David Merrill's work, and be amazed. The possibilities for storytelling and learning are enormous.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I've updated the digital journalists Resources page on The Digital Narrative with some additional items. Though I don't promote it often, this section of the site is one I'm slowly building on. It's crucial that young adults realise that their views are important, powerful and relevant. The resources the Story Chaser web pages offer to research and publish both on and offline are just waiting to be exploited!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tiny Chat is a simple, straightforward chat service that's browser based.

Cons: it's light on features, very light. But all the essentials are there. The main feature lacking for me was any sort of monitoring, so you can't police discussions. This of course means sabotage by a class member remains a possibility. For this reason, small group use is suggested for collaborative work.

Pros: it really is easy to use, with a learning curve of about 20 seconds. This makes it perfect for fast, small group discussions. With Tiny Chat in mind, you can get a collaborative discussion online underway in less than a minute.

Story building?: Forums are great for story building. In my experience, students writing a story together using a forum find it to be fast paced and exciting. It's also a wonderful opportunity to introduce any manner of narrative elements before, during and after. 'Did you foreshadow that idea earlier?', 'Make sure you don't include too many characters, remember this is a short story', 'What's your source of conflict?' etc.

Also worth noting, you can't save your work under an account as there's no login or registration. You can however, download a log of your chat for future reference. So if you need it, you'll have something to evaluate later!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Days with my father

It's rare that I read a digital story that's so honest and heartfelt. Simple and lovely.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My heart goes out to the families in our town and in the next township, Kinglake. To those that have lost family members or houses ... or both. We still have a home, and are safe for now, but there are many tonight who are contemplating their futures and mourning their losses.

Friday, February 6, 2009

This week I came across Stixy, and was impressed. I'm always on the lookout for new tools to create stories online, but I also keep an eye out for teaching aids. For those teachers that are just starting to dip a toe in the digital waters in their classrooms ... this little application may be useful.

It's essentially a bulletin board, one in which you can simply display information for your audience (colleagues or students or both). You can share your board with the world, or limit it to a particular group of users. You can also collaborate, allowing other users the ability to add or subtract from what you post on your Stixy board. This tool could also of course, be used to create photo stories, adding text and links and much more.

There are a number of applications like this one out there, but I particularly liked Stixy for its simplicity and ease of use. Fast to create, edit and share.