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Digital Storytelling’s Docs Thinking Metaphorically DST Assignment Details



Thinking visually is thinking in metaphors.


FREEWRITE: 3 minute free write to the prompt: “What is the more important thing you want to remember about teaching DH?”

For example, “The most important thing I want to remember about teaching DH is to let go…”


GROUPS: 15 minutes  Individuals read their freewrite out loud to the group. Group members throw out ideas for visual metaphors, which the writer jots down for inspiration later. For example, “A visual metaphor might be hands letting go of monkey bars; a child releasing a red balloon…”


PRACTICE THE ACTIVITY: Everyone disperses to find something to video (15 seconds or less) while speaking the metaphor. For example, a student videos the Willamette River while saying, “The most important thing for me to remember when teaching digital humanities is to go with the flow but to be prepared for sudden whirlpools, hidden currents, and rapids as students navigate change.”

FINALIZE THE ACTIVITY: After class, finish a satisfactory video and e-mail the audio file to the digital story coordinator.


Group debrief, “What did you take away from this video?”


DEBRIEF: Freewrite to the prompt, “What did you learn from this overall project?”

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? (A debrief for teachers)

  • Student didn’t listen to his or her own video before sending it and therefore didn’t know what was or wasn’t actually captured
  • Student didn’t connect the group metaphor activity to the video metaphor activity, so no metaphor resulted
    • Sub-lesson: you can’t spend time hammering every bolt-hole of (mis)understanding close.
    • Even though the in-class video activity was a practice with time given to finalize the assignment later, there was a rush to completion, which sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t
    • Sub-lesson: you will never write the assignment so clearly that someone can’t re-interpret it to their own lights. This is a burden we all must bear.
  • Student didn’t understand the assignment and didn’t ask for clarification before submitting assignment
    • Some student will interpret the lesson in a way you hadn’t thought of before, but you won’t figure it out until it’s too late
  • Some percentage of students will (choose one):
    • have truly antique tech, forgotten their tech, will have not charged their tech
    • will be more intimidated than you ever anticipated and will not do the assignment
    • will try any delivery system other than that specified
      • Sub-lesson: be prepared to leap lightly over tall technologies as you try to persuade one student  after another that they can do this!

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