The new Alice film and more digital storytelling

Tim Burton’s films are always a bit different. His next film is to be Alice in Wonderland. (See article in the DailyMail Online) He has released a video clip to give us a taste. With johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter as the Queen, Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar and Stephen Fry as the Cat, it has a great cast as well as a director with more imagination than most. The trailer looks good but will he be able to do justice to the well-known and loved children’s book? Will his updated version change the story too much?

I believe that this film will add to the discussion about storytelling, as well as visual representions of the written word.

That some of our teachers are starting to allow for a wider range of storytelling in he curriculum is a good thing. It has allowed the curriculum o be more inclusive and enables the visually aware students to showcase their talents. Digital storytelling is still not widely accepted by all teachers, for various reasons. There are numerous ways to introduce digital storytelling into the classroom. Writing and telling stories using digital media brings up a host of questions that relate to narrative and structure, how you approach a lesson and manoeuvre around any technical problems. The later being the biggest factor in teachers not trying this option.

The blog The Digital Narrative: find your story with new media offers a wealth of ideas. The post on teaching methods is great for teachers who want to get started and are looking for ideas. A lot of tools are list with a comment about each. The link to how you might use Animoto was very good.

One simple approach to starting would be to consider creating digital images of words, then using these to build a story. A good introduction to this idea would be to explore 6 or 10 word written stories with students first. This would teach the students about economy of language, and would help them to develop a more complete narrative within these restrictions. Flickr has a group for images of single words and the site, Six Word Stories ( offers a collection of short short stories consisting of just six words. It was inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s famous challenge) would also be interesting for students to “play” with words. Brevity being the key element in this instance. Another Flickr group 09picture stories might also offer teachers and students a good starting point for digital storytelling. In fact there are many fantastic Flickr groups that could be used for inspiration.

I also like Moodstream. This is a tool that graphically shows students how you can put together ideas, images and sounds to create something more than the sum of the parts, but simpler than a longer film. I wrote a bit of a “how-to” in a post last year.

I am still working on encouraging teachers to give the various options a try and it is great when the students and staff have success.

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