19 April 2015

Life, Light, Action! Videos for Storytelling

He squats motionless, his hands nimble with a lifetime of practice. At times, I wonder - is it him or his reflection which breathes? Under the midday sun, light, and life play tricks on my vision. Light, water, life all take over;  harmonious movement, intense colours lightening up under the unforgiving heat.  I hold my breathe, not wishing to disturb, yet aching to know the stories beyond. The stories that shimmer in the midday heat. Stories glowing with essence. 

Stories. They hold the essence of life, the key to our souls, our beings; stories hold the splintered patterns of our lives together.

Stories are meant to be told. 

When I began teaching, I did not have digital tools nor apps nor any digital device to entice learners. Yet, there were stories to be told,  voices to be heard.  Finding ways to tell these stories lied in simplicity. Today, paths to storytelling are even more engaging, with images, cartoons and videos. 

The longer I am in classrooms, the more I understand how relevant stories are to our learners, regardless of level and purpose of study. It is not a mere generational trend either - everyone has a story to tell, a story to be heard. And it is in classrooms where learning may be entwined with one's voice and story. 

Wevideo is accessible on any brower and device; just perfect for our age of mobility! There are different types of accounts, and Wevideo also takes into account the need to protect students' privacy, hence a "Walled Garden" for educators and students. 

Learners can create videos for different subjects while teachers can also create videos for flipping the classroom. 

A common complaint heard in staff-rooms across the globe - how to get learners to switch off from their mobiles. There are moments when yes, they do need to be switched off and out of sight. Focus is necessary. Then there are moments when educators can reach out to the many tools available and have students use on their mobiles for creativity and learning. For storytelling is learning.

As most teachers, I have had my good and less happy moments in classrooms. Indeed, there are have been classrooms which have made me despair with their lack of interest in any activity I introduced. Nevertheless, it has been the most challenging of classrooms that, weeks or even months later, reach out to me, saying how they miss my lessons. It is not me, nor the lessons they miss. Nor the games.

It is the opportunity to tell their story.

It is the moment the learner initially struggles with a new tool or app. The moments which follow - self-discovery, autonomy in learning, the unleashing of voice, self and creativity. It is the moment of asserting oneself, the satisfaction of production and sharing one's work, one's voice.

Learning is hard work. Treading  those corridors of learning is not always simple.

Giving voice to those struggles, accepting that learning demands grit but that it can also bring about satisfaction and pleasure, is part of what educators can bring to students today, by opening spaces of storytelling.

Not only with images or text, but also with the movement and flow of life that videos offer.

What corridors will be opened when learners engage in their telling their own stories?

What hidden gems will be discovered?

What's your story?

Further suggestions:


Lego Movie Maker - Free App

Wistia - Video Hosting

Wistia Library - tips on how to improve video creation with mobile devices and more

Videolicious - Free App

Vidopop - Video Notes (App for both Apple and Google Play)

22 Apps to Make Videos in the Classroom

Stupeflix - Free


I would like to thank Tim Residorf for his generosity in letting me share three images from Burma/Myanmar here. Tim Reisdorf is a Canadian travel/portrait photographer from Winnipeg, whose images tell singular stories. Filled with harmony, compassion and aching beauty, Tim Reisdorf captures the essence of souls and stories in every image. Among other projects, he is currently developing a travel blog. 

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