EDTC 6433: Digital Storytelling Project—The House at Windmill Loop: A Story for My Grandchildren

EDTC 6433: Digital Storytelling Project—The House at Windmill Loop: A Story for My Grandchildren

by Laurie James

I made the decision to create a story for my grandchildren to document a very exciting event in our family. In the spring of 2012, my husband, Gary James, and I made the decision to sell our family home after 28 years and through joint ownership with our oldest daughter and her husband, build a new house that would be large enough to accommodate the collective nine members of our combined families.

On January 4, 2013–The same day as the beginning of this class, EDTC 6433, we moved in to our new house at Windmill Loop. I was delighted to learn that for this digital storytelling project, we could select a personal topic, because this opportunity to blend together the tools I am learning to use this course along with the events in my family has proved to be very motivating and timely in helping me to document a major event. My grandchildren, Gabriel, Haylie, and Makenzie, have been very intrigued and involved in the process along the way as I have been preparing this story over the past several weeks.

Music: My entire family has enjoyed listening to my musical selections which I found in the Sound Cloud portion of the Creative Commons site. Due to our “Celtic” roots, I looked for Celtic music and came across two songs performed by an artist named, James Calmus. The first song is used as the background for the series of photos showing the building of the house and is entitled, A touch of epic: https://soundcloud.com/james-calmus. The second section of the video displays photos and a couple of brief video clips taken after we moved in and is set the song entitled: Celtic https://soundcloud.com/james-calmus

Photography: As our house was being built, many photos were taken by, Packy Rieder, the chief sales person in our new Quadrant Homes neighborhood. He regularly posted these encouraging images on Facebook for our family and friends. My digital storytelling project includes Packy Rieder’s photos as well as additional photos taken by both of my daughters, Melissa Butler and Britannia James, and my son-in-law, Michael Butler.

Script: Although I originally planned to narrate throughout the video, selecting my grandchildren as my audience, I made the decision to record a voice-over script at the beginning only. My reasoning was that I did not want to detract from the natural “storyline” provided through the sequence of pictures I selected. I found that as I was in the midst of drafting my project and my grandchildren would watch it with me, they were quick to provide their own narration such as: “There’s a picture of the loft! There’s the kitchen before the refrigerator! Look at the fireplace!” Each time they would hear the music playing, they would run over to me to see what new picture I had added to the project. As they get older, they will develop a better understanding of the building process and be able to reflect on the photos—picking out many more details than what I could have begun to note in a script. I believe that additional narration would actually limit their ability to focus on what will become important to each of them over time.

Ditigal Storytelling tool: At first I was intending to use Movie Maker, because I like the built-in transition features, however, decided instead use WeVideo, due to the multiple tracks feature. I chose the “Classic” background and elected not to play with the additional aspects of transitions, fading, etc. in light of the time it took to upload, sequence, and place nearly 60 photos in the timeline. (Don’t worry, my video is just a bit over 5 minutes long!) My son, Alex James, and son-in-law, Mike, helped me through a couple of technical issues which I subsequently learned may stem from the fact that the WeVideo program is “cloud-based”—creating a bit of the delay factor when dragging and placing images in the timeline. The perfectionistic part of my could have spent even more time than the significant number of hours and days this project took—to refine, edit, and elaborate, however, I will officially declare it “done”, and consider this to be a very positive beginning to what I hope will be many digital stories to come. I must say I am so thankful for what I have learned throughout this digital storytelling project—not only for its application to my work in school with my students, but perhaps even more importantly—for documenting events in the lives of my family members.

As I reflect on ISTE Standard 1   Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity, I believe that this project will indeed continue to impact the individuals who are currently the most important students in my life—my grandchildren. It is certain that as they grow older and enter into formal classrooms, the technologies available to them will be far different than those I have used in this project, however, I believe they will reflect on the process they participated in with me regarding a pivotal time in our lives. With regard to my students in my classroom “away from home”, I will be more ready and able to teach processes, support creative endeavors, and understand their needs as learners.

My link to my digital story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7g7PtqRPZjY

Our new home: The James and Butler Families--January 2013

Our new home: The James and Butler Families–January 2013

References:

https://soundcloud.com/james-calmus

https://soundcloud.com/james-calmus

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Oh my goodness Laurie, your family is delightful! What a very special way to capture this special event for the grandchildren! I enjoyed your choice of background music and letting the pictures speak for themselves.

    Reply

    • Thank you, Kim~
      I actually had a lot of fun working on this project. It has been such a highlight for me to intertwine my coursework with family in this way and to learn new ideas about ways to preserve family history.

      Reply

  2. Building a new home is such a massive undertaking. I remember when my father retired, he and my mother moved to another town and built their retirement home. I was curious if you have shown the video to your grandchildren yet? What was there reaction?

    Reply

    • It was indeed a huge undertaking! In our case, we sold our previous house (and had to move out) seven weeks prior to the new house being ready for us to move in. Thankfully, we were able to stay with my sister and her family (30 minutes away), however, the extra challenge was that I was taking the statistics class for this C&I master’s degree–an extremely difficult class for me. With much prayer, I made it!
      Yes, my grandchildren have seen the video (several times) and loved it! Each time, they watch with anticipation and can’t wait to see the videoclips at the end showing them dancing and jumping out of a box! When I posted it on U-Tube, I also linked it to Facebook. Even though I don’t currently have time for Facebook–the video has now circulated among family and friends. I am grateful for the opportunity to have done this project! Laurie~

      Reply

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