Appreciating A Past Story

The story I chose to focus on was the final project about the broke college student by Omar Aminzay. I like this story because even though its very short it uses multiple digital platforms to help tell the story. The title is what drew me in because I can relate to being a sophomore in college with money troubles.

I would consider it to be a digital story because not only does it include words but he added in an audio clip of a conversation, a visual image of an event in the story and a video to further explain his point. Given the Wikipedia definition of digital storytelling , Omar uses a couple of the elements to make his story a digital one by definition.

The story does have an arc being that the plot starts off with background information and it seems to go from one low point to another before finally reaching a high point at the end, which isn’t even too high of an ending point considering all he had to experience to get to that point. With the way this story ends I think it works on it’s own because it comes full circle and it tells all the obstacles he went through before reaching a solution to the initial problem.

The Shape of Stories: A Modern Twist on a Classic Story

When watching Kurt Vonnegut explain the shape of stories, I began thinking about movies I really enjoyed that had a “shape” I could easily explain and visually describe. The movie I decided to focus on was Annie. Not the Broadway musical or the first film that was released in 1982. I’ve decided to explain the plot of the 2014 version of the story about Annie the foster child. Annie

The movie starts off with 10 year old Annie running through the streets of Harlem, where she lives in a foster home. She is chasing a dog and she comes close to being hit by a van driving down the street but before the van is close enough to strike, she is grabbed by William Stacks, a candidate in the mayoral race. An onlooker takes a picture of this moment and it’s instantly posted and shared on many different social media platforms. Once this story reaches the press, Mr. Stacks gains a lot of publicity. At this point in his campaign, William isn’t doing well in the polls so his campaign manager tells him he should temporarily take Annie in to show the citizens of the borough he cares about the people. After agreeing to do so he does not like the responsibility of having to care for a child but over time she begins to grow on him and soften his heart. At some point he realizes Annie is what he needed all along to make him care about something other that being successful and wealthy.

Unbeknownst to William, his campaign manager arranges for people to pretend to be Annie’s parents so they can come take her and William can completely focus on his campaign. After she is taken by these people and it’s revealed that those aren’t her actual parents, the chase begins to get Annie back because at this point William’s main focus is Annie and ensuring her safety. Once she is safely returned to William, he drops out of the mayoral race to completely focus on raising Annie.

I would best describe the shape of this story similar to the way Vonnegut describes Cinderella. It starts off with the main character in a seemingly hopeless situation and ends very positively. I drew the shape of this movie based on my interpretation.



When reading reviews of the movie it seems that I am part of the minority of viewers that liked the movie. Maybe it’s because I have never seen the original so I can’t compare it to that but I have found a video review that isn’t too biased. It’s more of a digital story because it includes behind the scenes clips and background information of the movie but it’s not strictly a negative review of the movie like majority of the other video reviews I watched.

What does ‘storytelling’ mean to me?

When I think of the word storytelling, many things come to mind. I think of telling a story using very descriptive words and captivating imagery to keep the audience engaged the entire time. I think of it as a more detailed way of telling something as opposed to strict repetition of memories. Storytelling is embellishment on a past occurrence without changing the facts.

Adding the word ‘digital’ to my concept of storytelling means telling the story using more resources other than words. It means using pictures, sounds, and videos to tell a story rather than just a verbal telling of the story. Digital storytelling makes it more memorable because it’s easier to remember small details if you have audio or visual representations of the key points of the story.

The Ocean in my Backyard

As soon as the bus stopped at the corner of my street I ran home. I quickly ran upstairs to my room to put away all my things from that day at school. I put on my swimsuit under the clothes I was already wearing so my mom wouldn’t know where I was going. I ran through the grass straight to the end of the yard where the edge of the backyard met the beginning of the ocean; the ocean in my backyard. This was my favorite part of the day, getting to spend hours on end playing in the water and reaching for the sea creatures that I felt moving beneath my feet. I didn’t realize how much time had passed until I noticed the sun beginning to set. I quickly gathered my things and ran back to the house just in time to get changed and down to the dinner table before my parents started to wonder where I had been.

As I sat there playing with my food and answering my parents’ questions about my day, all I could think of was how excited I was to go play in the ocean in my backyard tomorrow.

Weekly Summary 2

This week was very exciting! I enjoyed all the things we had to do this week and the difficulties I came across helped me learn more about blogging and other online applications.

 I had trouble when completing the storytelling assignment but it was also the assignment I enjoyed most. Before this I had never made a GIF or even tried make one. I ran into some difficulties when trying to turn the video clip into a GIF but once I figured it out it was a fairly simple process.  I also enjoyed adding new plugins to my blog. It was interesting to learn how to install each one and what they do. My favorite plugin is the Jetpack plugin which posts each new blog post I make to my Twitter.

The daily creates for this week were very fun and I enjoyed thinking how how to creatively complete the assignment. My favorite one was the birthday song. Although I am not a good singer by any means, I attempted to create my own version of a happy birthday song to avoid copyright issues when using the song Happy Birthday. That’s something new I learned this week; that it can cost up to ten thousand dollars to use the song in a production because of copyrighting.

In addition to the Birthday song daily create, I also did the Project Seen on Monday, the beautiful place on Friday, and my visual interpretation of the quote about time.

If I could do anything from this week differently, I would redo all my daily creates just to see what new things I could come up with.

Overall, I really enjoyed all of the assignments for this week and I am looking forward to next week!

Michael Wesch: Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able

Listening to Wesch’s perspective on the influence of technology and its impact on the world made me think of things differently. As the importance of technology continues to grow its important that we use it to benefit us and the growth of cultures around the world.

In his presentation, Wesch states that media are not just tools or means of communication but media mediates relationships. Its important to keep that in mind during this course as we establish our presence and create our space online  because everything we do online will have some sort of impact. It could be positive meaning that the information posted will be beneficial to someone else or it could be harmful and do more damage that good for others. In either situation media is used as a way to connect people and establish relationships.

On the topic of education, he presents the idea of moving from being knowledgeable which is knowing and memorizing information to being knowledge-able which is the students’ ability to sort and analyze new information. He says that with the use of technology and online sources becoming more prevalent in  education, it is important for students to be able to think critically about what they’re learning online. Students also need to be “information literate” when learning and know what is credible, factual information and what is just there for entertainment and has no educational value.

The topics discussed by Wesch are relevant to me as a student because the internet plays a big role in my education. This course, for example, is entirely online so that means I have to make sure I’m always analyzing the sources I use and the information I post. It’s very easy to get caught up in using information that may not be entirely true and that’s because it takes less work to post the first piece of relevant material rather than searching for the best piece to fit the requirements of the assignment which is the most educationally beneficial.

What we have here is a failure to communicate

While trying to think of movie scenes  that would work for the visual assignment Say It Like The Peanut Butter, I knew I wanted something that had action but was also meaningful. I decided to explore movies that were made over thirty years ago because it would allow me to use a scene that not many of my peers are familiar with. The movie I chose to use was Cool Hand Luke (1967) which I saw for the first time three years ago when I was really interested in older movies.

Luke(Paul Newman) is a very stubborn prisoner who is always saying and doing things to get himself in trouble. In this scene, Luke is being chained at the ankles after getting in trouble and the warden tells Luke that putting him in the chains is for his own good. Luke replies with a sarcastic comment which results in him getting hit by the warden who then says to the other prisoners, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate”.

The Process

After deciding what movie scene I wanted to use I had to learn how to make a GIF. I read a couple different tutorials on how to make one. I started with the post in the ds106 Handbook and from that I learned I had to download the video onto my desktop. Still following the procedure in the post in the ds106 Handbook, I tried to use MPEG Streamclip but this is where I ran into trouble. I couldn’t figure out how to use it once I downloaded it onto my computer.ds106

To make the actual GIF I used which required me to upload the video clip I downloaded from Youtube and choose how long I wanted the GIF to be. Capture After the GIF was made I saved it and transferred it over to to crop out the empty black space around the GIF.

It wasn’t too hard of a process once I figured out a way to do it that made sense to me.