Last week’s blog was a quick re-introduction to digital storytelling. This week we’ll take a look at the importance of the pre-production stage.
Pre-production is basically anything you do up to the filming stage. Just like painting a room, the more work you put into the preparation, the more successful the final product will be! (Take it from me, I’ve painted a LOT of rooms!)
One of the first decisions needs to be format. What app/site will you use to create your digital story? What style will it be? There are lots of options out there. In our district, due to privacy concerns, there are certain options we can’t choose but luckily, there are still lots of choices! The choices I use on a regular basis are: Book Creator (on laptops and ipads), iMovie, Apple Clips, Green Screen, Stop Motion Animation, RSA Animate, In Plain English stykle and combinations of the above.
Can’t pick? Well, the age and experience of your students should be the first place you start. Book Creator is the simplest choice, although it can also be quite complex, depending on how you use it. iMovie, Clips and Green Screen can be used by the youngest primary students with big buddy support and by older primary students with some instruction. Like Book Creator, both iMovie and Green Screen can be used for quite sophisticated work, also.
Stop Motion Animation, RSA Animate and In Plain English are more complex and should likely be left for intermediate students. Likewise, smashing various apps or styles together is something you might want to leave for older students. See the table below for a little more guidance.
Once you’ve determined what style you and your students will use, spend some time doing research and planning or storyboarding. Basically, you want the students to think through the plot or path of their story. What will the title look like, what information will they include, who will do the talking, what will they capture in each “scene”? While students are doing this step, they can create a running list of “props” they will need to complete their project.
I usually include this planning stage in my marks for the final project. This tends to help kids realize they have to put time and effort into this stage.
Next up? The filming process, including tips and tricks for each format! Look for this post on April 2nd, after Spring Break!