LeVar Burton: Digital Devices Can Embrace Storytelling | EdTech Magazine


The former Reading Rainbow host shares the power of storytelling in his life and beyond.

byJena Passut - Jena Passut is the managing editor of EdTech: Focus on K–12.

Before LeVar Burton was Kunta Kinte in the 1977 TV miniseries Roots or host of the long-running and much-loved PBS children’s show Reading Rainbow, he was a little boy watching his mother read piles of books in their California home.

It was that scene that would spark in the actor a lifelong passion for ­storytelling. After completing 26 seasons of Reading Rainbow, Burton is still evangelizing about the power of ­literacy. He travels the country speaking to countless conferences and schools and has made it his mission to turn kids into lifetime readers like his mom.

Read the full article here: http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2017/01/levar-burton-digital-devices-can-embrace-storytelling

Bringing the "Odyssey" into a modern classroom | Piatt County Journal-Republican

Bringing the "Odyssey" into a modern classroom

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 12:00am | Steve Hoffman

Bridging the 2,800-year gap between a classic piece of literature and current-day education has been a struggle for English teachers for decades.

But Monticello High School teacher Shannon Bicknell has found at least one method that helped bring the “Odyssey” to life for her freshman English students: digital storytelling.

The multimedia teaching technique helped her students identify with the themes of the epic Greek poem by projecting the trials of Odysseus onto struggles of their own.

Read the full article here: http://www.journal-republican.com/news/education/2017-01-13/bringing-odyssey-modern-classroom.html

Advocacy through storytelling

Via www.record-bee.com

Lakeport >> Out of thousands of essays submitted from across the country, two of the strongest stories came from Pomo natives, athletes and Clear Lake High School freshmen Rodrigo Lupercio and Tj Keeya Talamoni-Marcks.

The two are among the 30 students chosen to participate in the sixth annual Native Youth Health Summit held in Washington D.C. by the National Indian Health Board in September. Its theme is “Youth Advocacy: Telling Your Story to Create Change.” Students will learn tips and techniques to spread the word about tribal health issues through digital storytelling workshops.

“It is a way to express their feelings, to create awareness of what’s really going on, the struggles of the different types of diseases,” said Kristin Amparo, Lake County Tribal Health Consortium youth lifestyle coach. “These are things that they see every day, that impact them every day.”

Continue reading at www.record-bee.com


Via www.dailyyonder.com

Digital projects combine culturally appropriate storytelling skills with advanced technology training, says Deborah Hicks, founder of PAGE.

Deborah Hicks grew up in Rosman, North Carolina (pop. 576), as a self-professed “small town, mountain, working-class girl.” 

Despite her eventual academic achievements, Hicks struggled throughout college. 

“I didn’t even know how to apply,” she says.

She persevered and after graduating from high school went to college. She earned a doctorate degree from Harvard, taught at the university level, published three books, and is now a research scholar at Duke University, where she runs the Partnership for Appalachian Girls’ Education (PAGE) initiative. 

In 2010, Hicks was teaching in Cincinnati when she decided to move back to her home state of North Carolina and form the PAGE program to give Appalachian girls the tools she didn’t have when she began her college career.

“I wanted to found an organization that would support girls like me,” Hicks says. “Girls who are growing up in this specific kind of rural poverty but don’t have opportunities for educational enrichment, for summer programs, for year-round opportunities that would help them succeed and go on to college.”

Deborah Hicks.

The PAGE initiative is a four-year program for girls in rural Madison County, North Carolina, just north of Asheville along the border with Tennessee.  Each summer, 50 girls enter PAGE the summer before sixth grade and continue through middle school.  The goal is to prepare the girls for success in high school and help them get ready to apply to and attend college. 

The intensive six-week summer programs focus on digital education. The girls learn advanced skills by creating digital storytelling pieces about their lives.  Using storytelling helps make the program fun, but Hicks says it’s also tied to the girls’ roots, as storytelling is an important part of Appalachian culture.

“We early on figured out that a fine way of teaching these skills was to combine 21st century technology with the Appalachian art of storytelling, and it’s the best of both worlds,” Hicks says. “It makes digital learning really fun for the PAGE girls.”

The focus on digital literacy enables the girls to pursue careers beyond lower-skilled and lower-paying jobs in the service industry.  In Madison Country, many families depended on tobacco farming as their main source of income, and as these types of farms decline, future generations are left without training for other work. 

“We’re trying to prepare Appalachian girls for secure, higher-paying jobs like jobs in tech industry, or other jobs that would require digital skills,” Hicks says. Rural girls are often locked out of these kinds of jobs for lack of exposure, education, and access to broadband internet.

The question remains whether these girls will be able to find work in their home communities or whether they’ll have to leave to find work elsewhere.  It’s a question Hicks has been struggling with since the program’s inception.  The PAGE program is working with organizations that can help bring jobs into Madison County.  One such group focuses on rural “insourcing”  — creating information technology jobs in rural communities.

“We’re still maintaining our mission of education,” Hicks says, “but we’re starting to also look ahead to what lies beyond for our students at the end of that pipeline to create opportunities that would help the girls long, long, long term.”

Why just girls?  PAGE’s focus on Appalachian girls comes from a body of research that refers to the “girl effect,” an idea that investing in adolescent girls creates a ripple effect throughout the community.  According to girleffect.org, “An educated girl will reinvest 90 per cent of her future income in her family, compared with 35 per cent for a boy. And yet 250 million adolescent girls live in poverty and are more likely than boys to be uneducated.”