Digital Storytelling Reflections

12/8 Weird semester. Weird year. Weird few years. It's time to wrap up. I will be learned how to mask these 'Reflections' pages for next semester. I think (?) I'm going to work in the Pinellas School System. I am genuinely excited to introduce all the fun things we have learned this semester to kiddos. I want to help them find their voices. And maybe even trick them into learning some code along the way. But definitely demonstrate the magic of the library and keep them engaged. I think this is going to be a springboard to some really great things!

12/2 Ok. That's something that happened? I was at a total loss regarding the guest speaker. But, yeah, TedTalks makes sense. I was looking for one on MakerSpaces. I can be a little snobby when it comes to TedTalks. No TedX, or anything other than the the real thing. It had been ages since I had re-started my computer & everything went wonky. So I re-started. And at least I was still in my pre-reflection? So, let's see what I come up with.

Why storytelling is so powerful in the digital era | Ashley Fell | TEDxUniMelb

That was very cool. As I have researched other topics, I kept coming across articles about how digital storytelling is the future of advertising. It seemed slimy & smarmy. But here is a woman doing important public policy research (think of wearing masks in public & social distancing). Digital Storytelling provides her with tools to get her messages out to a broader audience, they learn more quickly and retain the information longer.

I have been thinking of these projects as straightforward ways to interact with patrons of the library. Actual storytimes, programs where patrons can make their own videos and share their own stories. However, she is opening up entire new possibilities.

I had hoped to leverage my MBA to help libraries use the most of their limited resources. But I think that there are more marketing and analytical opportunities available to me.

CLASS - Communications, Language, Arts & Social Sciences

11/30 So I have started wrapping things up. I wish there had been more time to focus on my e-Portfolio. But I'm less than halfway through. I just need to make the seminars, etc. a priority for the future.

I'm taking an OSINT class, which has been the bane of my existence this semester. It's nothing like I thought it would be. And I don't think it will fit into my e-Portfolio. However.... I think there is a sneaky, espionage side to it that has real potential to bring late-adolescent young men into the library. You know, just as we start losing them? And I think the skills I'm picking up in this class will help me market those types of programs.

My former mother-in-law did a program with her church focused on writing a memoir. I think that sort of program could be really advantageous, using what we have learned here.

11/15 I am working on my e-Portfolio. Reviewing past assignments is more emotional than I would've guessed. And so inspiring! Once I have something fit for viewing, I think it will really help in my job search. I wonder how I will keep my reflections going, while also inviting potential employers to look at my work? Hmmm.....

I'm thinking about starting a group. An online group to review and discuss by class. Something outside of the Canvas official channel. Like a Facebook group, but not.

11/14 I have started my e-Portfolio. I am a little intimidated. Mostly I am really excited to get started. It has seemed like a huge task that was somewhere off in the distance. At the same time, it also seemed like something that the "real" librarians-to-be worked on. Now that I have started working on it, the experience seems much more real. That makes me so happy!

On another note, you had mentioned Eta. Yes, we were hit and are now dealing with a hole in the roof and the after-effects. The only reason that I'm bringing it up is that it is a part of MLIS life. Dealing with it all at once. I did have an interview scheduled on Thursday for a Children's Librarian position in Pasco. It was pushed back to Monday. So, yeah, life is always has a way to intertwine with school.

11/5 That iMap story was more challenging than 'The Lady or the Tiger.' Which makes me a little concerned about the next step for the other class. I think it was the realism of the 'Just Have Less Crew' that intimidated me. It felt like there was a "correct" answer. I will be really interested in seeing what my team comes up with for their answers.

Meanwhile, I need to get rolling on the other projects that need to be completed by the end of the semester. Time is flying by!

I registered for next semester. I hope next week I can switch at least one class out for more of the core classes. However, I was thrilled to get into the Marketing for Libraries class. I had been waitlisted for the class before. I have my MBA & I really want to take my background and use the resources of the Public Library to get the community into the library & the library into the community. I am excited to learn more about building those relationships.

10/30 I was really excited when I got the narration & video synced up! I felt like I had slayed a dragon. I know you always tell us not to spend more than a couple of hours on the the individual projects, but it felt so good to finally load the file with video! It was pretty great! And having learned that other people were struggling made me feel better. Now I can upload videos on my iPad & use the sliding bar (turtle to rabbit) to adjust the speed. I am just disappointed that I can't pull in audio as easily. Re-recording the narration wasn't bad. I just didn't have the same kind of control.

Reading about transmedia was very interesting. I really liked reading about the immigrant families that incorporated boxes into their "stories." I would love to be able to do something like that with the immigrant community here in Clearwater. The main library has a Spanish storytime that they provide at the laundromat in that area of town. Those are the kind of programs that make me really proud to be part of this library community!

Finally, one of our team members in the virtual bookclub still hasn't checked in or done anything. That's how grad school rolls, I guess.

10/28 I was just watching the video from ILA about how to use Windows Media Maker. It showed how to extend images and videos to fit the narration. I was so excited! However..... Guess what? Windows 10 no longer supports Media Maker. They directed me to use Photos. As in the program for housing Photos.

Also, the iMovie YouTube tutorial is blocked. My husband has a Mac & he keeps acting like syncing my narration & video will be super-easy. Only he can't make it work. (He is a technician for the St Pete College Education Program - where the SPC kids get to go now, right?). He's used to rendering video of Student Teachers & trimming video to fit into Chalk & Wire. But extending is not his area of knowledge.

OK. Back at it. I hope I'm doing ok in this class?

10/27 So. is there something wrong with me? Was I dropped my head as a baby? Why am I physically incapable of lining up my audio & video?I was proud of getting my clip-art lined up & doing animations. My narration wasn't even too bad. I incorporated tools to increase accessibility. I used Audacity. I used wevideo (well, I tried). I even learned more & used Adobe Cloud street. But syncing audio & video is my great white whale.

OK, from here until (whenever), I'm watching a video on how to get this lined up.

I need ice cream.

10/14 I have been reading, reading, reading the Adobe Digital Storytelling text. To the point that I feel like I am

just avoiding doing actual work. It is interesting, but I'm treading water at this point.

So I watched the videos. I even did the 10 minute draft writing exercise. (See below)

I'm playing with the title, 'A Dream is a Wish the Heart Makes.' It summarizes the point of the story - that moving to Florida empowered me to achieve things I always wanted, but never believed that I could have. It starts with a pool & culminates in a library career. That's asking a lot for 5 minutes.

Something I'm realizing - my audio problems are almost certainly a result of recording the video first, then trying to force the audio to match. Almost all of the tutorials are recommending that the audio be recorded first, then edit the video to fit around it. That makes much more sense, I suppose.

Stupid, stupid COVID. I really want to access Makerspaces at the library. And create some video, too. And try to organize a IRL story circle in Pinellas. All Makerspaces are currently closed here. But I think the one I would want to use is in the Main branch. Which is closed for renovations. Man, I want to work there.

I may have screwed up personally. My paternal grandmother passed away last month. I've been brainstorming ideas. I asked my parents if they have any of my art from the private lessons I took for so many years. They don't. No big deal.

Then I asked if they would be able to send me some specific materials regarding my grandmother & video & / or audio of my dad telling a story. I was just brainstorming. But he is really invested in the project now. So there's that.

Which brings me to my final (current) reflection. I have been thinking a lot about story arcs and character development and the Story Center. And my own journey in therapy. I have been seeing therapists in one form or another off & on for most of my life. I've been seeing the same therapist since 2008, after moving to Florida. We have been through a lot together. I remember when her daughter was in Junior High. Now her daughter (her youngest child) just moved to NYC (against her parents' wishes) & is completing her undergrad in journalism via USF.

Anyway... one thing she had always said about me and my journey is that I face and process challenges effectively. The universe has thrown me some curve balls. Yes, I brought some of it on myself. But I face those challenges head on. I do the work and come out on the other side stronger and wiser. (That's what she says, anyway).

Others try and hide or ignore the issues & hope they go away. My current husband does that.

But isn't that what we are talking about? Our protagonist (me!) thinks she wants to walk a path to get to a destination. An obstacle gets in her way. She could try to re-route. She could turn around. Or she could face the issue. And when she gets to the other side, she is changed. Maybe her goal has changed, also.

It makes me think of what the leader of the Story Center video described as the stories becoming part of our DNA.

Time to take the next step.

10/8 OK. So it's been a bit. These 2 classes are really bleeding into each other. Not a bad thing. Just odd. But in a good way.

I'm reading The Story Circle chapter right now. It's helping. I can tell you what my "one-sentence introduction of the story idea" is:

Background is black

"When I was 14, I made a wish"

Then you see a Go-Pro vision of diving into water. Into my pool. The refracted lights dancing. The beautiful, glowing ceiling above me. Dancing bubbles floating up to the surface.

"I didn't know it at the time. It just felt like a pure, intense longing."

To be continued.....

10/ 4 (Discussion 2 - Styles of Digital Storytelling) I'm planning to branch out some in the next project. I'm not planning on dwelling on the whole Cereal Loser aspect, but trying something a little different.

Watching these amazing stories takes me back to a magical time in the early 1990s. I was a Children's Programmer at a branch of the Central Arkansas Library System. Our system joined with other nearby systems to bring Donald Davis (Links to an external site.)to town an lead us in developing our storytelling techniques.

As it happens, Davis is also a Methodist minister (Links to an external site.) and he visited my home church at that time. It must have been sometime near Mother's Day. He encouraged the congregation to ask our mother's about the day we were born. To hear their stories.

I have used this "trick" at several family gatherings. Birthday festivities. I ask the mother & other family members to tell me the story of the day the birthday girl (or boy) was born. The far-away look in their eyes, along with a waterfall of wistful, beautiful memories is magical. And I'm not even telling their story!

At that time, August House Publishers was still headquartered in Little Rock, AR. They produced a series of folklore stories for children. I used several of these for my own storytelling adventures. Dianne Ferlatte produced an excellent example of those storytelling experiences. I really wanted her to stand up!

In particular, I remember telling the Story of the Old Woman who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle (Links to an external site.) to innumerable groups. I never need to prompt or encourage to audience to join in. Some sort of magic descended on the captivated audience. Almost immediately, the chimed in & joined me in the refrain, "Oh, pity, pity me! That I should should have to live here. If only I had ..... Oh, pity, pity me."

Two decades later, I catch myself going frustrated and angry at the "plight" that I am experiencing. In the back of my mind a much younger, skinnier girl, married to another man in another state admonishes me by chanting, "Oh, pity, pity, me..."

9/21 So, the 'first story' has been submitted. I wish I had seen the other videos first. I think I was a little too literal with the whole 'like your introduction' part.

In the video, I mentioned the doing the whole 'MBA' thing was just a bad fit. My favorite managers over the years have always asked "Are you happy here?" And (kind of like my first marriage), I always thought 'what does happiness have to do with it?' I would always say that there are two types of people who to Disney World - people who save and plan and dream all year for those few magical days & people who have to deal with children urinating in the rides, kids having meltdowns & they have to do it with a big smile! Because that's the difference between paying & getting paid. (Do I hear you thinking, "Cool story, bro. Needs more dragons?")

Here's the point. I enlisted my husband's help in making the video. It's part of his day job. My initial thought was making a cartoon video (I could figure that out, right?) & name it 'Cereal Loser.' I just had another MBA contract position end and I'm feeling kind of lost. Every interview I go on, it becomes harder & harder to feign enthusiasm for calculating compensation. And it's becoming harder & harder to get my contracts extended. And I was having a really hard time finding the time or energy to get my resume updated for finding a library job. I feel like a Serial Loser. So, I wanted make a play on words. The heroine would be the 12 year old girl inside of me that is having a rough time.

My husband wanted me to focus more on my accomplishments and what I want to accomplish. Fair enough. He did have some great ideas about having a record scratch & the Price is Right "wha-wha" sound for when I had my epiphany that things just were not going to work out.

Dr. Reyes had us try a lot of different things last semester- making posters with QR codes, making videos, etc. My husband has some pretty fancy editing software on his Mac. So, he would set me all up & then go about his merry way. I had the HARDEST time with the audio. I still don't know how I made it work.

I love my husband & he's a great guys. HOWEVER.... I've been calling him the 'red square' since watching the Pixar videos. He can have quite a short fuse. And he was losing it with me while I was trying to make the video. Only, get this, HE couldn't get the volume to work. I guess he's always editing other people's videos. He got really frustrated & turning into the red square. He finally realized that there is an audio privacy setting in Macs that defaults to not capturing sound. It had to be switched over. He fixed it. The boy has had that computer for over a year???

9/13 - I tried adding my reflections as individual comments, but they didn't appear.

This should be an interesting semester. I don't want to get redundant with my class posts- however, just like my experiences with actual storytelling, I'm 50% exhilarated & 50% terrified.

Am I going to have to write a story? Yikes! When I was a Children's Programmer, we told folktales from our collective childhood. It was the early to mid 90's & saving cultural heritage was a strong movement. I loved tapping into that history and guiding children with stories to empower them and shape them into strong people.

Do I have that in me? I guess we will find out.

OK. I finished the Pixar lessons & I just watched the 'Wonderland' video. Juxtaposed like that, the girl from LA seems so young. Her comments on gentrification are so accurate. But is she the character in act one who 'wants' things to stay the same, only to have unwanted experiences, then grow to see that change is a necessity? Is her story a 'not in my backyard' example from a different perspective.

The 'Official Storyteller' for Detroit seems like a wonderful concept. It reminds me of 'The Giver' by Lois Lowry.