Students learn to tell their stories using digital formats

Literacy camp hosts 15 teens with a goal of increasing their exposure to English

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CUMMING, Ga. — Elsa DeLeon recently uploaded her first video on her niece’s Facebook wall.

It was a video DeLeon produced about her niece’s 15th birthday, or quinceañera, a cross between a sweet sixteen and a debutante’s coming out party.

She got a good compliment from her niece and a “like” on the Facebook video.

DeLeon, a rising freshman at West Forsyth High School, was one of 15 teens who took part in a digital storytelling camp this summer. The camp was put together by Literacy Forsyth and the Forsyth County Public Library.

The camp was designed for English Language Learning Teens in middle and high schools in the county, and gave the students skills on using digital tools such as video, photographs, audio clips and illustration tools.

While doing so, the students practiced their English skills.

Digital storytelling is a relatively new genre of storytelling that can easily be shared over the Internet, said Annaliza Thomas, Literacy Forsyth’s executive director.

“We are trying to close the digital divide and give kids more exposure to English in the summer,” Thomas said. “At home, they may not be hearing English everyday.”

At a July 27 event at the Cumming Library, about 60 friends and family members gathered to watch the camp participants’ digital storytelling presentations.

The multimedia presentations incorporated music, video, photos and paint software programs at the library to achieve their final product.

“We are providing the technology, providing library tours and book talks to students,” said Stephen Kight, assistant director for public services for the Forsyth County Public Library.

Kight said programs like this help the library continue its community outreach to young people.

The Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce donated lunches for the students during the camp.

Annaliza Thomas and her sister, Alexandra Thomas, came up with the concept this year. The idea will be shared with adults as well as seniors in the county, Annaliza said.

“There’s a need for interactive things for students,” Annaliza said. “It helps them a lot in school. We’re trying to help the school district as much as we can, so the kids don’t have to go into an adult program later on.”

FH 08-08-12