Beautiful Yosemite…

It is really easy to get lost looking through digital stories, I went around and around for several hours searching for many different things that interested me.  This particular story jumped out at me, I had the opportunity to tour Yosemite not quite a year ago and found it incredibly beautiful.  Seeing El Capitan and Half Dome rising from the valley floor is something that everyone should get a chance to see!  This digital story is a fourth grade class’s joint project telling the story of the formation of Yosemite and how environmental factors came together to form what is today Yosemite Valley.  I found the video charming in its presentation and surprisingly well assembled for a fourth grade class.

The video walks the viewer through the history of Yosemite from about 80 million years to present and there are a number of graphics to illustrate the various glaciers, mountains, etc.  The graphics seem to be deliberately and deceptively unsophisticated, they resemble child’s drawings, but it is clear that the story uses a lot of them and that careful thought (and not a little talent) has gone into all of them.  The other thing that is really ingenious is the use of songs to narrate the story.  The students have come up with two distinctly different songs to act as the narration for their story.  I think it is the songs that really make the video, they are hilarious to listen to as the kids attempt to rhyme and even rap about the glacier that carved out Yosemite Valley, leaving El Capitan and Half Dome in their wake.  This rap and the drawings are interspersed with pictures of some of these memorable sites from Yosemite Valley and the students go back and review the story a second and third time to give the viewer a more complete picture.  They impart a good bit of information and for anyone who hadn’t known anything about Yosemite previously, or anyone who is interested in geology, this video would be particularly relevant.  For me, this is a good example of a successful digital story because it is informative while being entertaining.  Its clearly an amateur work, but done with panache and shows a great deal of dedication and thought.  The story uses several different types of media in its presentation as well.  Perhaps most importantly for me, it conveys a sense of fun along with the information that is crucial to engaging others in their product.

Category: W2: Digital Story
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6 Responses
  1. dcook6 says:

    Hi Rebecca,
    This sounds like an interesting DST, but I can’t see the link. I’m just getting a white box at the bottom of your analysis. Can you try reposting it?


  2. dcook6 says:

    This is a really endearing digital story, and I’m sure the fourth graders who created it must be very proud. I found I had to watch it more than once because the songs (with their original lyrics) were so fun to listen to that I wasn’t really paying attention to the educational lesson of Yosemite. I agree that the illustrations took some thought and planning. They are similar to the illustrations for a flip book, and detail was needed to make sure the horizon line didn’t jump around as the images played out in the digital story.

    As far as DST goes as an educational tool, I think this is a great example. I’m guessing most of the educational learning occurred during the creation of the movie by the students making it, as opposed to those viewing it. Additionally, I have a feeling this is a topic that the students will remember for a long time. It was also really great to see all of the sponsorship the students received (listed in the credits). Overall, I thought this was a very fun and engaging digital story that would appeal to most students of a similar age.

  3. sdouglass says:

    I really enjoyed this production by the class on Yosemite. I think it is a bit longer than it needs to be, but clearly the kids were having a great time. The combination between animated drawings and the audio is really effective. The second run as “review” gets a little old.

  4. jlapple says:

    What a clever group of young people. I think this is a great educational tool, both for the creators and the viewers. The collaboration of the simple drawings and the catchy songs create a wonderful story about this extraordinary park. The simple concept of tracing the history with timelines, drawings, and narration seems a useful tool for helping students unravel several elements of a particular topic. The level of creativity is also very effective for helping students to internalize large amounts of material from several different perspectives.

  5. gcheong says:

    Hmm… I agree that it’s an educational tool for the students making it as well as an entertaining way to learn. Younger students seem less inhibited about singing and showing off to the public than older students, so the amateurish work becomes charming. This also reminds me of the skits some teachers used as tools in grade school, which captured into video become digital stories able to be shared.

  6. Chris King says:

    I have to agree with everyone else: this is a) endearing, and b) an excellent example of a collaborative learning process. You can almost hear the kids moving around to get close to the microphone as their particular line comes up in each song. And there’s no better technique for learning a topic than teaching it, so it’s an easy bet these kids will remember how Yosemite Valley was formed many years from now!

    Now if we could only get the U.S. Congress to explain healthcare reform in the same format….