Digital Story Critique #5

I stumbled upon this digital story in the form of a prezi as I was searching for articles to supplement this week’s reading.  I can’t tell from the site who the creator is, but I assume she is either someone who is taking a course similar (in content, not participation) to this one and is reporting out on her learning, or is perhaps someone leading a professional development for other educators in which they can learn of the benefits and possible implementation of participatory cultures within the classroom.

One of the most obvious involvements of the creator was translating a narrative from one medium to another.  Her sources (which include the same reading we enjoyed this week) were taken from their original form and turned into a visual presentation, although in the presentation there were still lengthy pieces to read.  Whether I assume she is a student or a PD leader, she is also facilitating an activity through her presentation in order to inform others for professional purposes.  As an audience member, there are some opportunities to become involved.  There are a handful of slides that suggest that she had her audience members create their own digital stories, although I am not sure what type of involvement she hoped to get out of those stories.

I would say that the first, and perhaps most important literacy dimension in this story, no matter what her use of the story was, is to have something to say that appeals to others.  She created a presentation that, we must assume, she intended to share with an audience, and whenever you are sharing a presentation, the hope is that what you are saying appeals to them.  Another dimension that is present is identifying how to convey a lot of meaning in a limited space or time.  I have to say, I don’t think this dimension was done well, which I will discuss later, but I do assume it was a goal of the presenter.  As someone who has used Prezi in the past, I know that in terms of actually creating this presentation, she needed to have a limited amount of knowledge about how to synthesize information and place it within the forum she chose.  Her slides are fairly basic, so I assume it did not take much technical competency (although she obviously has plenty of content knowledge, which I don’t want to discredit) to create this presentation..

The only obvious online space that brings this story to life is the Prezi website itself.  However, she does include some slides that discuss social media platforms that are crucial to participatory cultures.  It is possible that she also used these sites to promote her presentation, which would have given it a much wider audience and much more reach.

The one main criticism that I have over this presentation is the fact that many of the slides simply have too much written on them. If I was watching this presentation (rather than critiquing it) I probably would have just skimmed the slides, or lost interest completely.  While Prezi itself makes presentations a little more visually pleasing, there were no significant literacy dimensions or media uses that give the presentation life or make it more interesting to watch.  If she did, indeed, have her audience create their own digital stories, I can’t complain about the audience engagement, however, I would have liked to see more examples of the technologies she was asking her audience to use within her own presentation.


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