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How to engage your students online with storytelling

Bryan Smith
August 9, 2019

The craft of storytelling is the art of sharing culture. What gives you the culture and identity you have comes from what stories you have experienced.

It's not what you do that makes your culture, plenty of people can share a common culture with a diversity of occupations. It’s not your opinions, and it’s not even your geography that truly matters. Storytelling is culture. And stories are shared through technology.

The evolution of a good story

The ancient Greeks regarded language as an invention, as technology. Students of ancient Greek philosophers reasoned that language must have been the invention of some genius before them. This was such an important idea to them that they recognized language as the tool that built their culture. One that we still revere and study to this day.

All culture and lessons have been shared through ever-evolving mediums throughout the ages. It isn’t hard to recall the innovations we’ve made in how we communicate to audiences throughout the ages because they’ve each made such an impact on us.

Images of writing, of puppets, of the lime-lit stage, of radio, comic-books, television, and now social media all come to mind when thinking about how each of these were just necessities for cultural leaders to share new ideas.

The modern age & listening skills

As teachers whose responsibility it is to transmit powerful ideas, shouldn’t we use technology to incorporate storytelling into our lessons?

In the modern age, with how students’ listening skills have evolved, it’s entirely necessary to take full advantage of the rich opportunity to connect to our audience over the internet across platforms.

There has been a shift away from the constraints of traditional learning to a heavily connected, interactive, participatory multi-platform landscape where ideas are shared. Most students haven’t heard of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, but they have enjoyed reading every singular detail of their Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds.

It’s not that they have become stupid. Far from it. Their attention has adapted to more efficient technological means of sharing culture.

Incorporate rich storytelling to your digital audience

Samba Live is a technical revolution in how we can connect and communicate with one another in the digital age. One of its core design principles is the idea that in the modern age, nothing short of delivering the full richness of presence and participatory learning is suitable for sharing the important ideas of education and culture.

Digital Samba recognizes the journey from lesson plans to impacting an audience needs to be as pure and seamless as possible. There is a vast diversity of competing tools, platforms, and distractions that can stifle an instructor’s delivery on lessons like navigating rocky terrain.

Imagine Samba Live as a seamless bridge over that uneven, and unstable digital landscape, and the destination being that true, important idea that has to get through to students.

Cultural revolution & technology

Each technological revolution has a cultural revolution along with it. Samba Live is a revolutionary technological tool for faculty to reach their digital audiences and incorporate the full use of intuitive participatory features for both the audience and the presenter.

Educators can reach out and convey a strong sense of digital presence in ways that deliver a good story to their audience across platforms and devices alike, truly like never before.

Samba Live for Education

Imagine telling a short story directly to a digitally connected audience instead of assigning reading it as homework. Visualize the direct value of presence that would convey to a student who is now fully used to feeling fully engaged with every piece of information they come across.

Think of the possibilities of having your core idea seamlessly expressed in a plurality of as many mediums as you would like. Whether your students engage most with video, audio, text, or some other means. Whether they engage on their phones, tablets, PC’s or other devices, Samba Live supports that diversity in ways of projecting presence and message together, as they must be.

Free lessons from limitations

Telling a good story is more than just text. It’s inflection. It’s subtle nuance. It’s presence. Instead of demanding that the audience’s listening skills adapt to the technological confines of how a lesson is being presented, why not free the lesson from those limitations?

The prior knowledge that the instructor is trying to share has to compete with a world of distractions in order to get through to an audience. Without ways of participating, engaging, and collaborating, how can the instructor be sure that they are even getting through at all? How can we ensure that students remember our stories?

Use interactive collaboration tools

Samba Live has interactive features built-in that are intuitive to use. Features like hand-raise, breakout rooms or whiteboards. These powerful tools let us as presenters feel out and gage how our audience is responding to how we are presenting.

They do more than that, too. The rich suite of collaboration features spur discussion, participation, and evolution of ideas in ways that were technologically impossible only a short time ago.

The information age has only existed for the historical blink of an eye. Consider how technology has shaped the way we share culture and the way we tell stories. Imagine that humans were built to do that. We share ideas. We build culture.

Bridging the tech gap

Also consider the tech gap between what’s on social media and digital entertainment, and how we pass the torch of learning – our prior knowledge – to the next generation. What’s taking up the attention of the audience you are trying to reach?

Is that because the contents of Instagram are that much more compelling than a good story told by a learned professor? Do you think the student is really that daunted by the use of vocabulary words that they have to retreat to their phone, which has been engineered to compete in the world of shortening attention spans and engineered to shorten attention spans?

It’s evident that young people today, in fact, do have a deep craving for more than just lessons, but lessons that carry with them a good story. Whether long-form or through short stories, it’s just that the story has to be told through the right technological medium.

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