A University of Tasmania researcher is helping connect King Island to places and people beyond Bass Strait, through a creative project which will allow students to share their visual stories with the world.
Led by Dr Jennifer Masters, Senior Academic e-Learning Pedagogue from the Faculty of Education, the King Island Digital Stories (KIDS) project inspired Grade 4 and 5 students to produce content about their “sense of place” while also discovering digital technology.
Dr Masters spent eight weeks working at King Island District High School during Term 4 last year and said the students learned how to use technology including go-pros, digital cameras, smart phones and iPads to capture and document images as they developed their video stories.
“The children were asked to tell a story about King Island, writing about any aspect such as their own lives or someone else’s, a place, event, industry or pastime. The overall purpose of the project was to help children build their literacy skills, especially through new technologies,” Dr Masters said.
“There are 20 digital stories in total which provide a wonderful narrative of life on King Island including its produce, wildlife, recreational activities and history. At the completion of this project, these will be uploaded to a website allowing people to view them from all over the world.
“The project also involved a high degree of engagement through storytelling and conversation, as well as an excursion to the local museum where many students discovered new details of their own family history as they formed a better understanding of what a story is, along with the concept of historical research.”
Dean of the University’s Faculty of Education Associate Professor Karen Swabey commended the work of Dr Masters in the digital space.
“Digital technologies will continue to evolve so it is crucial that our educators are developing and delivering literacy programs which align with this so that young students are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills they will need in the future,” Associate Professor Swabey said.
The KIDS project was supported through a grant from the Tasmanian Community Fund, and will be completed by the end of Term 1, this year.
“The Grade 4/5 teachers at King Island District High School will now continue this digital story production project with the new students in the class,” Dr Masters said.
When the stories are ready, they will be shared with children from other island schools around Australia.
The students’ stories will be published at http://www.kidsproject.net.au
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