Storyboards are graphical representations of information that display a chronological series of events. Storyboards can either be done by hand or digitally. For educators, digital storyboards are a great way to utilize technology in your classroom. They also provide an excellent way to allow students’ creative expression, much better than having them create Powerpoints online. In this post, educators can discover five tips to discuss with their students before beginning digital storyboards.
Brainstorming Is Key
Your students should brainstorm how they want their stories to progress before they even begin. Having clear goals in mind about how the story moves will significantly help students’ time management when they start designing their storyboards. Also, the story’s actions should be brainstormed before any dialogue is written, as the actions are what move the story along. Cooperative learning is a great method for brainstorming in the classroom. This method will allow students to share their ideas and get positive feedback on their electronic media tales. Brainstorming is the first step in the digital storyboard process.
Research Is Necessary
While digital storyboarding may seem like all fun and games to your students, you know the truth. It is always necessary to bring an academic element to the process, but how do you do that with a creative project like digital storyboards? Make sure to emphasize the importance of researching a particular topic before immediately creating their storyboards. Set aside time for research and experimentation in your lesson plans. Encourage the students to bring their projects home on thumb drives for further practice and research. Allowing students this time to look things up and make use of trial and error will take this educational project to the next level of academic achievement.
Use A Simple Template
There are many websites that provide educators with free digital storyboard templates, including Skoool. Recommend these sites to your students. However, it is imperative to emphasize that less is more. Using a simple theme will allow the storyboard’s audience to focus on the story. It also ensures that readers will not be overwhelmed by unnecessary animations, music and colors. Your students will be building the story like a comic book. An acceptable digital storyboard template should allow students to add their own characters and backgrounds. The focus is on the story, not a fancy template. Use a simple template that students can build off of. This is a key piece of advice for educators to discuss with their students.
Make It Logical
Make sure students know that their digital storyboards need to be logical. Student storyboarding requires a logical and coherent progression. This is exactly what you would expect from any story. The audience expects a logical progression to a conclusion. Your students should know to deliver on that. Make sure they are aware of this to successfully educate and entertain their audience.
Attention-Grabbing First Panel
The first panel of a digital storyboard should grab the viewer’s attention, as is the case with any electronic media. You can discuss with students several ways that this can be achieved. Storyboards can begin with a question, an exciting scenario, a thought-provoking image or a lesson. Students being able to choose how their storyboards begin will allow creative expression from the beginning. After the initial attention-grabber, the rest of the panels should then be utilized to move the story along chronologically. Using exciting attention-grabbing first panels is another step in making effective digital storyboards.
Learn The Language
Many educators use digital storyboards as a step before filming with video cameras or a mini camera. This step allows students to focus on the most important aspects of the story. If this is true in your classroom, allow your students to learn some film language. This will expedite the filming process. They will already know what shots are needed. Student can have fun deciding what type of shot they would use for each panel. Would it be a close-up? Long-shot? Jump cut? Educators, you can find a list of camera shots and share some with your students. This allows for another creativity component, as students get to decide on their camera shots and angles. Educators and students learning the filmmaker language is vital another step in digital storytelling.
Show, Don’t Tell
Educators, encourage students to show not tell. This means that the digital storyboard should have panels that move the story forward. Storyboards do not leave a lot of room for written word. That means that most of the reader’s information will come from the panels’ images alone, as is the case with gadgets like the Watchkit. When students do write, the text should be used to create vivid images for the audience. Instead of a character stating, “I am hungry,” the character’s stomach could growl. Or, perhaps, the character could salivate over seeing food. This would be an example of “show, don’t tell.” This is a crucial storytelling tip for educators to discover.
Free Digital Storytelling Websites
The best way to bring digital storytelling to the classroom is to use one of the many free digital storyboards websites. Teachers spend far too much of their own money on classroom expenses. This time around, use a fre storyboarding website like ACMI Generator to save yourself money. This creative studio space allows you to create videos using a storyboard generator. However, there are many others to consider, as well. Bubblr, Capzles, Comic Master and others are all top free digital storytelling websites to consider.
Digital storyboards are a great tool to use in the classroom. Digital storyboards are a fun way to incorporate technology into lesson plans. More importantly, they also help to foster creativity in your students. Five tips for educators looking to use digital storyboards with their students are provided in this post. Remember the importance of brainstorming, using simple storyboard templates, having an attention grabbing first panel using text animation and other effects, understanding film language and the concept of “show, don’t tell.” By utilizing these tips in the classroom, educators will be able to effectively introduce digital storyboards in the classroom.
Photo from http://renderstory.com/storyboards/