The oral tradition has been a major component of story telling. Here, three IGCSE students from College Champittet reflect on how contemporary technologies, the iPad, iMovie and the Aurasma app, inspired them when creating emotive, atmospheric and creatively punctuated pieces of imaginative writing.
Maria Trofimova wrote: For me, discovering how punctuation can enrich a narrative piece of writing was first made more real when I saw a film of my story being read by the teacher. Then, with the help of another student, I went away, filmed myself reading my own story and was able to hear how pauses, through punctuation, gave my story dramatic changes of pace. I made particular use of short, sharp individual words separated into a list to create movement and mood as my character raced through the Amsterdam streets, “It was dark, grey, cold and suddenly; sunless, peopleless, deserted.” This, in combination with different sentence lengths, the repetition of sounds and onomatopoeia further enhanced the story. However, it was reading the story out loud and hearing it back that really developed my understanding of how powerful the literary tool of punctuation can be. I now realize punctuation is not only a part of grammar but also a fully creative feature in Literature.
Malika Salymbekova added: Mood and atmosphere was enhanced in my initial story through the use of similes and metaphors to create powerful imagery. However, it was hearing them spoken, their sounds, the phonology and cadence, which for me helped bring the story to life. I included direct speech in my revised version and the character’s idiolect added to the drama when you actually heard the words being spoken. I also recorded the senses in my story, “The empty room smelt musty; its cold darkness pierced my skin.” The words created pictures but hearing them read encouraged me to see the images more clearly, and crucially, understand how to use them more powerfully in the future.
Viola Hernandez also used the filming process to add drama to her own piece. By adding low key lighting, incorporating music and using a fan to create movement in her hair, the reading became a short film full of atmosphere, which reinforced the mood. She particularly noted that ‘besides being fun, it also increased my awareness when analyzing the work of other writers, especially the impact of alliteration, which really comes to life and has an impact when you hear it being read. I now approach the study of poetry and drama differently.’
The next process allowed Maria, Malika and Viola to share their stories with other students. Firstly, they printed out the first frame of their film as an A4 paper format, which was displayed in the main school. Other students, having downloaded the Aurasma app onto their iPads were then able to actually see and hear the stories being read as the app recognized the first page and then displayed the whole film. A piece of augmented reality where a still picture actually comes to life.
In this case, it enhanced learning, incorporated IT into the classroom but most importantly, inspired.
The students study at College Champittet with their English teacher Martin Griffiths and Matthew Roberts, Secondary ICT Coordinator.
The students were writing a narrative piece initially inspired by the diaries of Anne Frank. By using the Aurasma app on an iPad and holding it up to these still images you can hear them read their stories.