This spring, AT&T and DonorsChoose.org teamed up to launch the Digital Storytelling Challenge. Teachers were encouraged to create projects empowering students to tell their stories through technology, and the public voted online for their favorite projects. Out of the 871 projects supported by AT&T, here are the 10 winning ideas!
Mr. F | Grades 3–5 | Miami, FL
Mr. F requested costumes and microphones so that his students could write and perform filmed “interviews” with historical figures. The project gives students the chance to interact with history by taking part in telling the story — as Mr. F says, “Why read about George Washington when you can have him tell you his story in person?”
Ms. Kirkman | Grades 6–8 | Des Moines, IA
Ms. Kirkman wanted her students to build understanding and empathy about refugees and their need for affordable housing, so she had her students listen to first-hand accounts of refugees and map their travels. Students then used their geometry skills to design a tiny house that would meet that family’s needs. Throughout the project, students used microphones funded through this project to record their stories.
— KirkmanDMPS (@KirkmanDMPS) May 18, 2018
Mr. Hall | Grades 3–5 | Coquille, OR
Mr. Hall’s students love to create stop animation videos as a fresh way to engage with the curriculum. To help his students tell stories unique to them, Mr. Hall requested a 3D printer. His students will design and print their own superheros and create stop animation videos featuring their creations, and will helping students feel pride and ownership over their storytelling.
Mrs. Moorman | Grades 3–5 | North Hills, CA
Mrs. Moorman wanted her story-loving students to explore narratives with strong female characters, so she requested books that feature powerful women along with a Chromebook. Her students will use the Chromebook to create stop motion videos, telling the stories of women in their lives.
Mrs. Perez | Grades 3–5 | McFarland, CA
To engage her students in STEAM while also building character, Mrs. Perez is empowering her students to create prosthetic hands and eyeglasses through the use of a 3D printer. Students will then use the requested microphones, headphones, and iPad to produce podcasts on the design and engineering process, which they’ll share with the world through Flipgrid.
It’s been quite the process but we are making major progress…We are at the point of stringing our hands so we can test them out! #3rdGrade #STEAMForANeed #LendAHelpingHandSTEAMProject #3Dprinting #BRS_Academy #McFarlandUSD @Enablethefuture #ATTStoryTellers pic.twitter.com/xC6GA9MfCu
— ValeriePerez👩🏻🏫 (@v3dperez) April 30, 2018
Combining @Flipgrid with podcasting to amplify student voice! As part of our #attstorytellers project, Ss listen to our first episode and respond. We have also shared this with our #gridpals and can’t wait to see their responses! #STEAMForANeed #McFarlandUSD #BRS_Academy #EdTech pic.twitter.com/goq1nsasb6
— ValeriePerez👩🏻🏫 (@v3dperez) April 17, 2018
Ms. Holder | Grades 6–8 | Tompkinsville, KY
Ms. Holder wanted her students to tell a meaningful story in a way that builds strong STEM skills. Using the Mindstorm LEGO robotics kit to create the main player, Ms. Holder’s students will write a story and create an obstacle course that helps tell the narrative. Students will them program the Mindstorm LEGO robot to run through the obstacle course by itself. Students will record themselves narrating, and the video will be shared on the school’s website.
Mrs. Quinto | Grades 6–8 | Riverside, CA
Mrs. Quinto wanted her students to embark on their poetry unit inspired and unafraid! To help her students understand that storytelling can take many forms, Mrs. Quinto requested Makey Makey invention kits. Students will write poems, draw visual representations of the poems, and hook those drawings to the Makey Makey kit — creating interactive, code-based poetry. Mrs. Quinto shares why she thinks this project will be especially effective: “My students will have so much fun imagining, inventing, and creating, they won’t even realize they’re writing!”
Mr. Cunningham | Grades 6–8 | Bridgeport, CT
Led by students, Mr. Cunningham’s class requested video equipment like cameras and microphones so that students can create a “Digital Soapbox” to share stories of their community. Mr. Cunningham’s students plan to interview their fellow students, create encouraging videos, and thank parents and teachers using this equipment as part of their mission to improve the social and emotional wellness of the school.
Ms. Rinck | Grades 6–8 | Lakeside, CA
Ms. Rinck’s students, inspired by recent design thinking lessons, wanted to use storytelling as a way to improve their school culture and support students who may be struggling. Ms. Rinck’s students will use the video equipment requested through the project to interview district leaders like school board members and principals, which they’ll then edit themselves. In the words of Ms. Rinck’s students, “Our voice is powerful and we need to learn to use it to improve our school.”
Mrs. Pace | Grades 3–5 | S. Charleston, WV
When Mrs. Pace asked her students how they wanted to spread acceptance throughout their community, one idea stood out: let’s make a fashion statement. To help bring her students’ idea to life, Mrs. Pace requested White Socks Only, along with bundles of white socks and fabric markers. Mrs. Pace’s students will cover their socks in messages of compassion and tolerance, which they’ll link to an augmented reality app, giving students the chance to express how they want to make the world a better place.
Thank you to AT&T for helping these classrooms and more tell their stories. Teachers, get started on your own digital storytelling project today!