I am very fortunate to be a part of a Microsoft Innovative Educators project this school year.  We are using a program called Marvin to create a digital story.  Marvin is click and add programming environment.  The students add lines of codes or commands to develop a personal narrative.  The students can add multiple 3D characters.  The characters can move and perform actions.  They are a bit limited, but very responsive if you take the time to program the characters to move in small increments.  By building multiple lines of code, you can create complex sequences.  Marvin allows background images to be added.  You can also upload sounds, record voice, and combine all of these parts together to create movies.  You can export the final project as an .avi or .mov file.

We are using the Marvin program to create a personal narrative.  A big part of the project is developing a sense of self in the students and finding their inner voice.  We don’t just want a blow by blow story of their existence, but an understanding of their past and what makes them special.

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One of the colleagues I am working with on the project developed a moodle course to guide the students through a process of self discovery.  Each moodle section has activities to complete, forums to participate in, and resources to help guide them.  The students researched the origin of their name, interviewed their parents about when they were born, and researched their family roots.  They shared their favourite memories, choose meaningful quotes, and wrote six word memoirs.    The students developed a timeline of their life, shared ideas about what they would do if they ruled the world on a live chat with students from other schools, and planned their movies using a storyboard format.

The project guides students through a process of creating a digital story using various tools.  Glogster was used to create digital posters of family roots.  The students used wordle to organize and publish their six word memoirs.  A wallwisher virtual bulletin board was used to post and share ideas.  A OneNote liveshare was an open sharing medium used to facilitate a chat among students across various school locations.  Wikis were used to compile stories of students’ most embarrassing moments, funny stories, and life lessons.

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Combining useful tools with a content management system to build understanding allows students to build a self awareness and personal voice that come together to create stories using Marvin animation software.moodle2

I can really take no credit for the ideas and project development.  The credit all goes to Darlene, a grade 5/6 teacher.   I am just grateful to be part of such a powerful learning experience for children.  I wanted to share the ideas so others may benefit from the power of digital storytelling and a worthwhile collaborative project.

The project has been selected to present in Salvador, Brazil at the end of October.  Who is attending is still being worked out at this point, but my fingers are crossed!

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