WMU News

Digital stories on display this afternoon

July 13, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Participants in the first-ever digital storytelling institute held at Western Michigan University this week will present the fruits of their labors during a special celebration at 3 p.m. today, July 13, on the 10th floor of Sprau Tower.

Digital storytelling combines traditional narrative with multimedia technology to create stories for dissemination on the World Wide Web and through other electronic media. Just one of many innovations in the burgeoning world of e-publishing, digital storytelling also offers new methods for the teaching of reading and writing. The Third Coast Writing Project at WMU is conducting the Institute for Storytelling and Writing through Digital Media July 9-13. The institute has attracted 13 Southwest Michigan elementary and secondary school teachers who are learning to create digital stories as well as how to use these techniques to improve their teaching. Through the institute, which is directed by Caleb Paull of the Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley, Calif., and Corey Harbaugh, a high school English teacher from Gobles, Mich., participants have developed and produced their own digital stories about teaching and learning in Michigan schools.

Harbaugh notes that digital storytelling is an ideal example of the how teachers who are participating in the Michigan's $110 million Teacher Technology Initiative can use the computer and software provided by that state effort to improve their teaching.

"The state is investing heavily in technology for teachers and it begs the question of just how technology can affect teaching and learning," he says. "This institute is an example of how powerful a tool technology can be in learning. It is especially powerful in literacy because it levels the playing field. Technology makes literacy more accessible to different kinds of learners as well as those with disabilities."

The stories created by institute participants will be presented in the July 13 celebration of the workshop's completion. Community educational leaders, local and state government representatives, and University officials have been invited to attend the event. Media representatives are also welcome to attend.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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