Monday, September 28, 2009

The National Parks Digital Story Telling Modules

The new Ken Burns documentary The National Parks: America's Best Idea premiered on PBS last night. I'd been eagerly anticipating this series since I first heard about it in late July and it did not disappoint me. Prior to watching the first episode I did some exploring on the website established for The National Parks: America's Best Idea. On the website I found some great lesson plans that incorporate a variety of digital storytelling tools including Google Earth. In addition to the lesson plans, PBS has put together eleven modules that will teach you and your students how to create place-based digital stories from start to finish. The digital storytelling modules include screencasts showing you how to do each task each step in the digital story creation process.

Applications for Education
Many of the lesson plans designed to accompany The National Parks: America's Best Idea provide a great opportunity to combine elements of geography, history, and writing into one lesson. Two of my favorite lessons, and ones that I might try with one of my classes, are Mapping the National Parks and Images of the Parks.

Your students don't have to have seen the series to benefit from these lesson plans, but it certainly wouldn't hurt. You can watch a lot of clips from the series here. The DVD of Ken Burns: National Parks - America's Best Idea isn't available until October 6th, but you can order it from Amazon now and save $30 off the list price.