Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Technology makes me wonder....

Every now and then I realise how fortunate I am to be living now and working in the role I am in. How has society developed over the last 100 years to the point where you can catch a plane (or two) to travel from Queensland to South Australia, can call or video call your family and friends from most place on this earth, where you can access your 'stuff' anywhere anytime on any device? The power of connecting and collaborating though is in my humble opinion the biggest game changer for our life today and in the future.

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Humans are (in the majority) social creatures, and as far as I know, telling stories are a vital part of the culture of all peoples on earth. I sometimes I wish we could have a time lapse of the different ways we have been telling stories over time; I expect that oral story telling would get by far the most airtime! However, the reliance on a person orally telling a story to others is limiting the potential audience. Add the written word, first by hand, later in printed form, and your story can reach a potentially much larger audience - though the absence of a narrator would potentially change the message (which in itself is not necessarily a bad or a good thing, it's simply different). Going to the extreme of making the written form the only acceptable form of story telling though is limiting both the authorship and the audience.

Now we have so many more ways of telling a story and connecting with an audience: Digital voice recording tools help us to record an oral story and share it; video incorporates visual and aural aspects and can also be shared; via online collaborative tools not only can be we connect an authentic audience with the written, oral or visual story we want to tell, we can also collaborate on and become co-authors.

There are a number of apps out there that combine several of above features into one finished product. +Allanah King was the first person to introduce me to Book Creator and I have been a huge fan ever since (in fact she became one of the first book Creator Ambassadors just recently and has inspired me to attempt this, too). Book Creator is to my knowledge the only widely used app yet that works across iOS, Android and Win8.1 (I will try it on Win10 soon) and allows anyone to be the author of an eBook. Combine text, photos, drawing, audio and video into one and share your finished ePub creation yet still leave us with the book experience so that we don't loose this part of our story telling history.  

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However, technology is not without challenge; I often feel like Frank Zappa who is quoted on the left. With all these stories out there that we can connect to anywhere anytime, do I have anything to add? While I have been talking about digital storytelling and the Book Creator app to a lot of the schools I work with, I have never felt the need to blog about it - after all lots of other bloggers have already done that. Are we going to see less original stories written because of the fact that digital technology lets us connect with all these already created stories? How are we going to ensure that 'good stories' will continue to be written by people without 'wigs and stuff'?

Technology certainly makes me wonder...