Be the Truffle Pig: Digital Storytelling for Students

Truffle Hunter by Keith Park, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  Keith Park 

by Kristie Burk

One of the sessions that I attended at ISTE 2015 was called “Beyond Data: What Does Learning Really Look Like?” Led by Digital Promise, a non-profit organization dedicated to “accelerating innovation in education through technology and research.”

The presenters told us that we often have to present data to parents, for example. Instead of focusing on the data, however, they encouraged us to ask the following question: What stories do you want told on Friday?

The rest of the session focused on the importance of storytelling. When you send home that digitial newsletter or when the students are talking to their parents, what stories do you want them to share?

Here are some of their tips:

First, have your students involved in the process.  At the beginning of the week, ask them to think about what stories they can tell.  What is happening that week? What new things are the students going to learn? Is anyone in the classroom going to do anything exciting, inside or outside of school? Have all the students been highlighted at some point?

Second, the presenters encouraged us to use the four C’s:

  1. Collect
  2. Curate
  3. Cultivate
  4. Create

Finally, my favorite piece of advice was to “be the truffle pig.” Truffle pigs, for anyone who doesn’t know, are used to find and dig out truffles, highly prized fungus from the forests of France, Italy and Spain.  The truffle pigs’ sense of smell is so good, they can smell a truffle buried three feet underground! What’s this have to do with storytelling?  Sniff out the good story – find the story that no one else is telling…and then tell it.

For more information on digital storytelling, read this article called “4 Tips for Making Students Global Storytellers.”


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