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Alan Levine, Digital Storytelling, October 2nd 2014

Alan has an international reputation for his expertise and as a leader in the application of technologies to education. He has many friends and contacts in New Zealand and has visited and presented here in the late 90’s.He has a very entertaining, informative and inclusive style of presenting and a strong focus on how learning can be enhanced through the use of technology.

Alan was a pioneer on the web in the 1990s and an early proponent of blogs and RSS, he shares his wide range of ideas and discoveries online at

Among his recent interests are new forms of web storytelling (including 50+ Web 2.0 Ways To Tell a Story, pechaflickr, and the StoryBox), as well as leading and teaching the open digital storytelling class, ds106.

Most recently he was instructional technology specialist at the University of Mary Washington, following leadership positions at the New Media Consortium and the Maricopa Community Colleges.He has recently held a fellowship for the OER Research Hub at the Open University.

Sharefest 2014 Resources from Alan

Storythinking > Storymaking > Storytelling

"Storytelling" is a long time resident of the charts of educational ideas. As a topic of workshops and presentations (I've done plenty), books (none for me), TED Talks (definitely not), the word to me conjures up the idea of performance. Plus my own internal conversation-- "I'm not a storyteller". Peel away the connotations of campfires, cave drawings, and performers on a stage, the elements of storythinking are much more important to me than the show, and there are elements that make stories effective we can apply to many aspects of our work as educators.

A hook of interest, the shape of a narrative, a character to care about, suspension of belief, using less, media metaphors are story techniques that you can integrate into your work as educators. While technology provides plenty of tools to tell stories, more compelling is what they afford us to practice and develop our own skills of making and incorporating story not only into teaching, but many forms of expression. I will share my own experiments and give you opportunities to try-- improvisation (pechaflickr), visual storytelling (Five Card Flickr Stories), a method hidden within a list of tools (50 Web Ways to Tell a Story), and a unique kind of digital time capsule (StoryBox) -- not as magic answers but perhaps a way of thinking about story elements beyond the performance aspect.

Slides and Additional Workshop Resources from Alan

The ds106 Files: Outbreaks of Infectious and Open Acts of Creativity

While much of higher education seems hunkered down in crises of a broken system or MOOC takeover, reports are filtering in from the distal portions of the internet where open, spontaneous, volunteered acts of creative expression seem to be spreading at alarming rates. These reports have been traced to a loose federation of registered students, teachers, and openly participating individuals of all ages in something known as ds106, an open course in digital storytelling. Patient Zero has been traced to students at the University of Mary Washington, but activity has spread to multiple institutions, K-12 schools, retirees, artists, and people of various affiliations across North America, Europe, Africa, and Australasia. The report highlights the manifestations of this creativity in individually managed internet domains and self-hosted blogs, demonstrated in visual, audio, video, and remixed media, extensively reflected upon. Intense activity has been spotted in blog comments, twitter, Google Plus, and social media platforms, including an incarnation as a “headless” course. The most intense focus areas are around atypical course constructs of daily creative challenges, a web-based radio station, and an open assignment bank.

This is one case of a larger pool of developments of open connected courses, where a key aspect is an instantiation in the native spaces of the web itself, often where individuals participate in digital spaces they own and manage. Examples include Phonar, an open course in photography offered through Coventry University and FemTechNet- a constellation of course in feminism, science, and technology. For current interest, there is an open connected course being offered in how to run open connected courses.

Slides and Additional Workshop Resources from Alan