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9-12 | Reading & Language Arts | Digital Storytelling
Station WRLK in South Carolina
My Classroom Innovation
The Three Dimensional Story Project (3DSP) is an online collection of original stories written by my Creative Writing students here at the Academic Magnet High School. All of the stories are set in a decommissioned Naval Shipyard and attempt to explain how a fictional occurrence known as “The Event” caused the shipyard to be shut down in the 1990’s. What makes this project innovative is the three dimensional aspects of this project. The first innovative aspect is that the students gather their research for their stories by venturing outside the walls of the classroom to explore the grounds of the abandoned shipyard. When visiting the shipyard, the students pose as “scribes” and use their imagination to “discover” artifacts and stories that explain the real reason why the government closed the shipyard in the 1990’s. The students (scribes) return to the classroom and use their notes to write their 3DSP stories. The other innovative aspect occurs when the students use summaries of their stories to create 3DSP markers. All of these markers are posted on the 3DSP webpage (www.3DSP.wikispaces.com) along with the student’s stories and artifacts they create as illustrations. Markers for the best stories are turned into metal markers and/or QR codes which are posted in various locations in the shipyard. Visitors to the shipyard can then experience the student’s stories by reading the summaries posted on the metal markers. Visitors can also use their smart phones to read the QR codes to view additional markers, read the full text of a story, listen to an audio artifact, view artifacts, or watch a 3DSP video clip.
To prepare for their writings the students used a variety of online sources to help them understand how to create mystery and maintain the suspension of disbelief in their stories. One example of this is Tavis Smiley’s interview with director and writer J.J. Abrams.
How Students were Engaged
The 3DSP engages students because it challenges them to use their imaginations to augment real world experiences beyond the traditional classroom walls. The 3DSP also allows students to work collaboratively to create, edit, revise, and publish their stories. Throughout the writing process, students post their drafts on the project wiki page. This enables students and the teacher to read, review, and edit each other’s work. Finally, the 3DSP provides student’s with an assignment that challenges them to write for an audience beyond the classroom. Traditional assignments are usually written for a very narrow audience—the teacher. The 3DSP gives students a genuine opportunity to create works that will be viewed by the general public.
PBS Program/Content Used