Iisalmi city celebrates its 130th anniversary this year and they organize a projec called Ihanien Ipanoiden Iisalmi. We are three welfare coordinator students from Savonia University of Applied Sciences. Our studies began in the fall of 2020. In the first year of studying, we got a chance to participate in this project Ihanien Ipanoiden Iisalmi. We welfare coordinator students form a steering group for social services students who collect stories about favourite childhood games and playgrounds from daycare and school aged children from Iisalmi. These tales are created into digital stories where sound, photographs, drawings and music are used. Results of this work also benefit the city of Iisalmi’s marketing.
What does digitalized storytelling mean?
Every person is a natural storyteller, so this skill does not need to be rehearsed. To have everyone’s story heard, we need to have different ways to present them. Digital stories are tales that utilize technology in a way that combines different kinds of materials, such as images and music. Digital stories are usually a few minutes long, and they can be shared for example in internet video services such as Tik Tok and Instagram. Digital stories can be used for different kinds of purposes, such as telling personal stories, historical events or seek guidance about certain subjects. Digital stories can be produced by an individual or in a group. In the project Ihanien ipanoiden Iisalmi social services students collect stories, photographs and drawings and the pupils of Juhani Aho Junior High School in Iisalmi will edit them into digital stories.
Picture 1.: Photos and videos create stories in our minds. This is a picture of a school social worker’s desk. What stories or associations does it create? Is the employee busy? Or does it tell that there have been children in the office who have created their own personal stories around the table? Everyone interprets this moment differently, but every story is interesting such as it is. Picture: Riikka Jurvainen 2021.
How can digital stories be used in welfare and health promotion?
This Ihanien Ipanoiden Iisalmi project increases children’s and young people’s participation in their own community. Through digital stories children and young people feel being part of the community. Nivala & Ryynänen (2019, 26-27) divide community memberships into given, participating and experienced ones. They are called community memberships. Given communality membership is more formal and it is defined from the outside. In participating communality a member is actively taking part in the community’s activities. In experienced communality the member feels as if he or she is part of a community. From this perspective the goal of Ihanien ipanoiden Iisalmi project is to strengthen participating communality.
Child’s participation must not be defined by age. Even a young child has the right to be seen and heard. This strengthens the child’s safe growth and development. To enhance a child’s participation, an adult should stop and observe what and how the child is communicating or wishing to say.
Child’s participation develops in everyday life in safe growth environments. Children remember adults and other children that have encouraged them in important moments and told that the child is good at something. It is good to talk with a child about free time or look at photos of places in hometown. Adults could ask what place the child feels good to be in and in which place the child feels uncomfortable. Crucial information, which they would not necessarily tell straightforward otherwise, can be gained from the child through these interactions.
As students, we are now part of a project that will increase people’s knowledge of Iisalmi and make children’s voices heard about what Iisalmi can offer. In addition, this is a great opportunity for us welfare coordinator students to gain hands-on experience using digital stories in well-being and health promotion work.
Blog writers: Eerika Jormanainen, Henna Korolainen ja Riikka Jurvainen, Welfare and Health Coordinator- students from Savonia UAS.
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Nivala, E, & Ryynänen, S. (2019). Sosiaalipedagogiikka: Kohti inhimillisempää yhteiskuntaa. Gaudeamus.
Ohler, J. 2013. Digital storytelling in the classroom. New media pathways to literacy, learning and creativity. California: Corwin.
Robin, B. The educational uses of digital storytelling. http://faculty.coe.uh.edu/brobin/homepage/Educational-Uses-DS.pdf.