Prior to the Digital Storytelling Workshop, one would have thought with 2 years of experience working with Children across Summer Camps and Schools, I’d learnt all there was to know handling Children. Well, with kids, you never stop learning especially given their varying levels of maturity, comprehension and other traits. Session 1 of the Digital Storytelling Workshop reinforced that.
On Saturday, January 30, our yearlong Digital Storytelling Workshop kicked off with Daniel (5 years) and David (6 years). Going by my conversation with their aunt, the Digital Storytelling Workshop is a great opportunity to get them away from the couch watching cartoons on Saturdays to having them create cartoon stories along with other peers. Only this time, their peers was ‘me’ and ‘my gadgets’ at least for a humble start. Undaunted, Genii Games’ vision with the Digital Storytelling Workshop remains to work with at least 1,000 kids this year so we’re pretty excited about the BIG PICTURE :-).
While I worked on projecting my Digital Storytelling presentation on a big screen, the kids went for my iPad consuming every story in the Tortoise Adventures app. With that, I learnt that an inspiring start to subsequent Digital Storytelling sessions is a showcase of similar products we’d be building together.
Given there were only so many of us, we simply talked. Yes! We had a conversation around the process of Digital Storytelling using my presentation slides.
In the process, I unlearned my natural language of grammatical jargons and relearnt the simple language that kids speak. Here’s what I meant —> my Digital Storytelling Workshop presentation had terms like illustrations, storyboarding… jargons to my 5 & 6 years old students! And so, I’ve learnt that drawing is a better alternative to illustrations. For storyboards, numbered boxes showing how the story is arranged. Yes, sentences and phrases best explain some of these terms.
With the presentation behind us and the kids excited that they’d be producing their own stories, it was time to imagine ideas. Here’s where I got a sense of the media’s influence as David and Daniel literally reeled off all of their favourite cartoons, most of which seemed to come from Nickelodeon. One that clearly stood out was Blaze and the Monster Machines. The Digital Storytelling workshop is about the kids, hence their idea’s what we work with.
We walked through a description of Blaze. Honest confession; until then, I’d never seen nor heard about Blaze and the Monster Machines. David walked me through a description of Blaze who turns out to be a car with eyes, mouth, red in color, his driver Ej, friend Crusher etc. With the help of Google, David and Daniel searched out images of the characters. I was impressed by how well they navigated the internet with little input from me. Even more impressive given it’d taken me a long time to get used to using a Mac. Not these kids! The images described clearly validated what I saw on Google.
Now, we had to write out the script. My handwriting is at best a scrawl and the young storyteller wasn’t having any of it. So, I handed him the marker. Save for a few words which we had to carefully pronounce for ease of spelling, David did a superb job. Here’s what he put together in his own words.
One other thing is the excitement that came with taking a picture with the written script. David wants it shared with his mom. Wait till he’s done making his story app or video. Next week marks another session. Journey on to Session 2. By the way, here’s what our process chart looks like after session 1. Lots of lessons learnt.