Did you know that more preschool-age children than ever learn to use a mouse, play games, search, listen to music and even type on home computers and laptops? An infusion of technology in schools is blooming, and we’re still facing another, more advanced styles. Can you keep up? Or better yet, are you keeping up? There’s no time to waste!

 

Whether you are a traditional or digital-savvy teacher, embracing new ways of teaching in schools and preschools has become an important subject for everybody, and it should definitely preoccupy everyone’s attention. We’ve already written about different ways of implementing technology into teaching, such as Interactive media in early childhood, The benefits of gamification, Digital natives in your classroom or Technology as a teaching tool. Today we’d like to give you another idea which is merged to storytelling, but this time we go digital and introduce you to an interactive storytelling.

Interplaying with context and content

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Being a teacher to digital natives, you have probably noticed by now that technology has become an integral part of kids’ lives. Globalization, as well as a high-tech marketplace are a part of new generations whose computer proficiency is becoming a mandatory skill as they are growing up. If you feel like the digital revolution has passed you by and that you’re struggling with raising interest and curiosity among your children, there are still ways to get on track, keep up and discover new amazing digital ways of teaching.

 

It doesn’t take much to bring smiles on your preschooler faces and raise interests above their natural curiosity. All it takes is a change, an innovative approach or your adventurous personality that lets you embrace new ideas and hence learn together with your kids. With interactive storytelling you can do all of those!

 

Digital culture consultant and researcher, John Seely Brown described interactive storytelling with these words:

 

I’m particularly interested in Digital Storytelling, in new ways to use multiple media to tell stories and in the ability of kids, who are now growing up in a digital world, to figure out new ways to tell stories. They have the ability to build interpretive movies very simply and to lay sound tracks around the content. They condition or “sculpture” the context around the content. The serious interplay between context and content is key to what film—and rich media in general—are about.

Numerous options with interactive storytelling

For ages, storytelling has been instilling moral values, education, cultural preservation and entertainment. Today, we do the same with interactive storytelling, but this time, bringing up the most intelligent generation in history, we tend to give an extra value to our demanding audience. From e-books to educational games, teachers are facing an endless horizon of applicable ideas to enhance their innovative teaching ways. We are here to help you make that first step and plan an interactive storytelling activity for your preschool class.

How to create your own interactive story?

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It’s very simple! Think of the kids stories that you know very well. They can be the ones you have read or the ones you have come up with by yourself. Or better yet, create your own story according to your current classroom activities. This can always include seasons, holidays, and fun games your kids enjoy playing.

Use starting points for your digital stories, by including the Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling developed by The Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley:

  1. Point of View (What is the main point?)
  2. A Dramatic Question (A key question that keeps the kids’ attention and will be answered by the end of the story)
  3. Emotional Content (Issues that come alive in a personal and powerful way and connects your kids to the story)
  4. The Gift of Your Voice (A way to personalize the story to help the kids understand the context)
  5. The Power of the Soundtrack (Music or other sounds that embellish the story).
  6. Economy (Using just enough content to tell the story without overloading your kids. If you feel like this is not an issue for the age you teach, feel free to skip this point).
  7. Pacing (The rhythm of the story)

In another, more easier way for your preschoolers, it is quite enough to focus on a plot, characters and a narrative points of view. Together, you can draw the story scenes in your classroom. If the story is longer, create groups and give assignments for one or two pictures each group can draw or paint. When your illustrations are ready, scan them and upload them on your tablet. Put illustrations in a Word document, 1 by 1, in order that your story goes, and save the document in PDF file. When the story time comes, summon the class for a circle time and tell your story by browsing through the hand-made illustrations on your tablet. For a more enhanced experience, buy a suitable background music and download it on your tablet. Practice the pace of your storytelling at home and feel proud and happy to perform in front of your most loyal audience.

Next time, you can prepare your own interactive story in a same way, but download images from Internet and create real-time illustration. Your class will love it!

Engaging and shareable activity

Introduce parents to this beautiful activity, and share your stories with them by using Google Docs. They can see what you’ve been reading in your class, join in and help with their own stories or share their family photos taken during the weekend, for another interactive story (this time with familiar faces to kids). Take photos during your field trips and games, and create weekly storytelling for your preschoolers.

As you see, there are so many incredible ways to use interactive storytelling. What we love the most is the simple way to engage children and parents into it. Create, share, tell and repeat all over again.

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You can never run out of storytelling ideas, especially if you involve your little ones. Let them lead the way and become your mentors. They know what’s hot and what’s not in their brave little world!