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Digital Stories @ UMBC

June 2009 Archives

BCPS Summer 2009 Workshop in Digital Storytelling and Oral History

During the summer of 2009, UMBC’s New Media Studio teamed with the Center for History Education to offer a two-week workshop for Baltimore County K-12 teachers exploring the intersections of oral history and digital storytelling. The workshop was the culminating activity in CHE’s two-year “Making Master Teachers” program. Year One of the program focused on reading and research, while Year Two focused on incorporating primary sources in the classroom. The program was funded through the U.S. Department of Education's Teaching American History Grant Program. Teachers had an opportunity to learn classroom skills for creating their own work and developing student projects.


Projects from the workshop included "Hampton: A Revolutionary Place" .


Information for attendees : This summer workshop provides you with the opportunity to learn skills of digital storytelling that you will be able to use in your classrooms, both in delivering your own content and as a project option for your students' original work. In addition it will allow you to disseminate the work you did on Baltimore '68 and will provide UB with an innovative addition to its Baltimore '68 website. Since we are working under time constraints, we hope to come to the June sessions with a good idea of the form of the project, although the content can evolve over the course of the workshop. I propose that the Baltimore County high school group break into two teams and produce two digital stories about the uprising of April 1968 in Baltimore. I would suggest that each team takes a section of the UB Baltimore '68 driving tour (voted "Best Driving Tour for Visiting In-Laws" by City Paper and available at and flesh it out with primary documents, excerpts from oral histories, music, images and anything else that would be illuminating. Before and after shots would be particularly effective in telling the story of the events. The finished products could find a home on the UB and CHE websites. This project would build on research you have already begun, could draw on the resources we have collected on the website, and would contribute greatly to UB's effort to make this time period understandable to the public. I hope you will consider it.


Recommended readings We recommend reviewing these first articles during the initial week and guide the discussion around the question: What makes an effective digital story? Other questions could be: What is a digital story? and How might I use digital storytelling in the classroom? The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling The Art of Digital Storytelling These next two articles will be discussed in the second week. The discussion could may on: What are the barriers to implementing digital storytelling in the classroom? As an advocate, how could I overcome these hurdles? Implementation of Digital Storytelling in the Classroom Digital Storytelling: Moving from Promise to Practice ALSO, here is a link to the introductory chapters of the Digital Storytelling Cookbook:

Digital Stories from SPAN 305 Fall 08: Spanish for Heritage Spanish Speakers II

The MLL Department worked for the first time using Digital Stories with Spanish 305 for Heritage Spanish Speakers during fall 2008. This course is an advanced Spanish course for Latino students at UMBC (3-credit course) taught by Dr. Ana María Schwartz and Adriana Val as Tech Assistant.

The goal of this class is to connect the students with their Spanish heritage language and culture, as well as to prepare them to be competent bilinguals who can use Spanish for academic and professional purposes. Students participated in face-to-face as well as online projects to improve their oral, writing as well as technical uses of the Spanish language.

One of the projects designed by Dr. Schwartz was the use of Digital Stories. Students worked during the semester choosing their own topics, writing narratives, collecting photographs, and finding appropriate music to accompany their verbal narration. All students participated in peer-review in class, reflected with instructors and classmates about their narratives, and worked in the computer lab under the assistance of Ms. Val, personnel from the IMC such as Ms. Joan Costello, and video experts from the New Media Studio at UMBC. The product of this powerful work is the collection of the first digital stories from the first Heritage Spanish speakers who work intensively to share their personal stories.

Elver Alarcón: Todo sobre mi familia
Cristina Dalton: ¿Qué soy yo?
Ana Torres: Hacia los Estados Unidos
Claudia Zuniga: Mi mamá, mi héroe

Globalized Communication, Fall 2008

Students in this graduate seminar explored the intersections of communication and culture within a framework of global digital exchanges and new media. We investigated the unique challenges and opportunities in the public sphere of the internet for global and intercultural communication, collaborative knowledge production, political and personal stories and narratives, and participatory media. Two students made place-based digital stories that are described and linked here.

Negotiating the Ameristani Kitchen by Autumn Reed
This story takes place in my and Amar's kitchen in Millersville, a suburb south of Baltimore in Maryland, USA. In appearance the kitchen is typical of what one would expect to find in the United States, but the food cooked within is anything but typical. Food is not the only thing made in this space, but also cross-cultural and cross-gender connections. The multiethnic foods prepared in this space serve as a mediator both linking and mixing the East with the West and the male with the female. This kitchen is a borderland; a place where barriers are broken down and stereotypes transcended and not only those of an American female but also those of a Pakistani male, for culture flows in both directions. Therefore, at one level, this story is about two individuals working out their differences in the kitchen, but at another level, it serves as an example of the potential that we have, as cultural beings, to learn from one another.

The Secret by Lori Edmonds
I had been wanting to make a video about raising "my" children for some time. Partly, I wanted to do this because I wanted to document that very rewarding and crazy time of my life and partly I wanted to do it because I had a very unique family and I thought others would find the story interesting. I was nearly finished writing it when a horrible event occurred with one of my children that I had not expected. I decided not to tell my original story after all but with encouragement returned to my original plan because it would also help me to emotionally deal with it. The result is one story that, in some ways, tells many stories. Yet, it is a simple story of life with its twists, turns, predicaments, and secrets.
Thank you for being part of my audience. This story was made for you. If you are one of my children, I hope this reminds you of the experiences we have had together and the power of our relationship because of the experiences we have shared. If you are watching this as a native of the Westside, I hope you enjoy seeing your city through my eyes. If you have not lived in this city (or another like it) I hope you are intrigued by the power of this place. When I speak of power, I'm referring to the unlikely way that the previous history of this space spilled over into our lives. I am also talking about the ability this space had to knit together the lives of four people and their four different stories. I hope that you are moved as your unique experiences interact with this story. In that way, the power of that place will continue to live.