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Exploring Storytelling Through the Digital with ArcGIS StoryMaps

This lesson introduces students to the concept of digital storytelling, digital mapping, copyright, information literacy, and other digital competency concepts to build an ArcGIS StoryMap project.

Published onOct 05, 2022
Exploring Storytelling Through the Digital with ArcGIS StoryMaps
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Summary

This lesson introduces students to the concept of digital storytelling, digital mapping, copyright, information literacy, and other digital competency concepts to build an ArcGIS StoryMap project. This lesson, as written, is discipline agnostic, making it easily adaptable to any course subject or library workshop.

Literacies & Competencies

Students gain competencies described by the Bryn Mawr Digital Competencies framework as Digital Communication and Critical Making, Design, and Development, and the frame Information Creation as a Process from ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy. Additionally, students gain copyright-related competencies.

Audience

Undergraduate students of all levels

Curricular Context

This lesson has been taught in several Cultural Heritage II courses, an undergraduate hybrid general education course in Hope College’s curriculum that integrates post-1900s history, English literature, and philosophy. Students taking the class range in major, year, and skill level. 

Each time this lesson has been taught, it was adapted to the curriculum and time restriction of the course. The goal of the final project was to enable students to learn critical information literacy and paper writing skills while also learning digital competency skills.

Instructional Partners

Victoria Longfield, Digital Liberal Arts Librarian, Assistant Librarian

Technology 

  • Laptop 

  • ArcGIS StoryMaps (A free version is available and, while more limited, it will allow students to meet the lesson requirements.)

Adaptability 

This project can be easily adapted to any subject area and skill level by changing the subject matter of the StoryMaps to be directly associated with the course content. Additionally, lessons can be combined, extended, or eliminated to meet the time restrictions of the course and the breadth and depth of the student project. Specifically, additional sessions or time can be spent on map creation and digital storytelling. Another session can also be added that covers troubleshooting problems that students might encounter.

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Create a StoryMap using ArcGIS’s StoryMaps platform.

  • Create an ArcGIS map to integrate into their StoryMaps project.

  • Write professionally in a digital and multimedia environment.

  • Synthesize information and multimedia content to create a cohesive and engaging digital story using design thinking principles.

  • Determine the copyright license on multimedia materials and use multimedia appropriately and legally in their project.

Preparation

  • Provide physical or digital copies of the handouts before class sessions.

  • Either create ArcGIS online accounts for all students or be prepared to walk students through this process in class.

Materials

Assessment

Student Learning 

A summative assessment can be performed by asking the faculty member for the links to completed student projects and assessing each one (based on a rubric) for the completion and understanding of each learning outcome or a select few. It can also be accomplished through practice time set aside at the end of each session. For instance, you could add an additional day that gives students time to work on the project and implement these new technology-based skills. Or you could divide the lessons into shorter modules and give students 10-20 minutes to work on a small piece of the project explored that day in class. Additional assessment can be done specifically on one or more digital competencies or digital literacy frames.

Implementation Fidelity

The following provides ways to engage student understanding using active learning activities throughout the sessions. 

Session 1: ArcGIS StoryMaps

  1. 1 Minute Paper: Debrief with the questions, “What is one thing you learned today?” and “what do you still have questions or concerns about?”

  2. Think-Pair-Share Activity: Ask students to think about what copyright is. 

  3. In-Class Project/Sandbox: The instructor assesses the ability of the students to accomplish the tasks that were just taught.

  1. 1 Minute Paper: Debrief with the questions, “What is one thing you learned today?” and “What do you still have questions or concerns about?”

  2. Public Domain Activity: Have students explore in groups various public domain multimedia sites. Students should ask: 1) What is this site? 2) What type of media types can I find here? 3) How might this be useful for my classmates and me? Students then report back to the whole class what they found.

  3. Fair Use Activity: Students explore the Fair Use scenarios provided in materials and determine whether they think using a particular multimedia item follows fair use. Students will utilize the fair use worksheets to help determine their answers. This activity is followed by an entire class debrief. 

Workshop/Practice Time: The class ends with time for the students to work on their projects and put into practice what they’ve learned in both sessions.

Reflection

This lesson works best when the library has multiple sessions with students, there is a strong partnership with the faculty member in the classroom, and the project expectations are clear. Summative assessment can also ensure the students are gaining the learning outcomes of the project and/or the digital skills.

Lesson Outline

Session 1: Introduction to ArcGIS StoryMaps and Digital Mapping (80 Min. Session)

  • Introduction (2 minutes)

    • Introduce yourself, set up any materials/slides, and allow the faculty member to do course-related announcements.

  • Introduction to Digital Storytelling (2 minutes)

    • Introduce the Think-Pair-Share activity.

  • Think-Pair-Share Exercise (10 minutes)

    • Students look at a compelling image, possibly from the institution’s archives, and are asked: “What do you see in this picture? What is happening?”

      • Think for 2 min

      • Talk with a partner for 3 min

      • Share with the class 5 min and the instructor bringing together how a picture tells a story and how combining it with text tells a better story!

  • Planning a Story (3 minutes)

    • Introduce the concept of a story map. Show best practices from ArcGIS (“Materials”).

  • What is ArcGIS StoryMaps? (3 minutes)

    • Introduce ArcGIS StoryMaps and show examples.

  • Set Up an Account (5 minutes)

    • Set up a free Esri ArcGIS public account (one per group if it’s a group assignment).

    • Go to StoryMaps and log in using the Esri ArcGIS account information.

  • Introduction to StoryMaps (5 minutes)

    • Introduce the basic layout of StoryMaps.

    • What their account looks like

    • Where to create a new story map

    • How to make a story “public”

    • How to add: title/introduction, text, buttons, and separator

  • Adding Multimedia (5 minutes)

    • Show how to add media (note that there will be a discussion about copyright).

      • They learn how to add: images, video, alt text, and captions

  • Adding A Map (10 minutes)

    • Show how to make a basic map.

      • They learn: adding points on a map, locations, and movement

  • Special Views and Layouts (15 minutes)

    • Discuss additional ways to affect story content.

      • Introduce the content block types: Swipe, SideCar, SlideShow, and Map Tour

  • Publishing and Final Edits/Changes (3 minutes)

    • Show how to:

      • Publish their StoryMaps

      • Make changes to the design

  • Practice (15 minutes)

    • Ask students to either start their own project or create one based on the media and text provided.

  • 1-Minute Paper (2 minutes)

    • Pass out a notecard and have students end class by answering:

    • What is one thing you learned today?

    • What questions do you still have?

  • Introduction (3 minutes)

    • Introduce yourself, set up any materials/slides, and allow the faculty member to do course-related announcements

  • Copyright (5 minutes)

    • Discuss: What copyright is and how is it relevant to creating multimedia projects?

  • Public Domain (5 minutes)

    • Discuss: What is the Public Domain? How does this apply to multimedia and the students’ lives?

  • Public Domain Activity (10 minutes)

    • Students work in groups, explore sites with exclusively or primarily public domain materials, and report back to the class what they learned.

    • They answer the questions: 

      • What is this site? 

      • What type of multimedia types can I find here? 

    • How might this be useful for me and my classmates?

    • Recommended sites: Wikimedia Commons, Project Gutenberg, HathiTrust, Internet Archive, & Digital Public Library of America

  • Fair Use (5 minutes)

    • What is Fair Use Law? What are the components and how does this apply to multimedia?

  • Fair Use Activity (10 minutes)

    • Students remain in their groups and look at the 8 scenarios on the flashcards (this could be put into an online tool like Kahoot as well). 

    • Students determine if the scenarios are Fair Use or not using the information discussed in the lecture and the two Fair Use worksheets/handouts.

  • Creative Commons Licenses (10 minutes)

    • Discuss: What are Creative Commons Licenses? What licenses can be used for this project? Where to search for Creative Commons Licensed Materials? Some recommendations:

      • Creative Commons Website

      • Advanced Google Search

      • Stock Image Websites

      • SoundCloud

  • Other Tips for Finding Multimedia (5 minutes)

    • Introduce:

      • Backward Google searching for images in Chrome

      • Other sites (or forms of searching) specific to the project topic or institution

  • Citation of Images (10 minutes)

    • Discuss: How do you cite various multimedia copyright licenses?

  • Practice (20 minutes)

    • Students practice searching for materials, ask questions about their projects, work on their story maps, etc.

  • 1-Minutes paper (5 minutes)

    • At the end of class have students answer two questions in writing:

    • What is one thing you learned today?

    • What questions do you still have?

Additional Materials

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