The digital stories I watched this week were aligned with my personal interest of finding inspiring stories for immigrant students. I was looking for remarkable productions showing personal learning, successful accomplishment and the value of education for progress in today’s world.

I would like to mention I decided not to assign points to each trait I considered. I think is not fair “to grade” productions without enough information about the production experience and without a well developed rubric specifying all the criteria and indicators. Maybe we as a group can create a collective evaluation document in our ecological approach? My critique is appreciative and based on Jason Ohler’s list of possible story evaluation traits. The traits I found relevant to evaluate the digital stories I selected are:

Story: In my opinion, the quality of the story is the core element to evaluate a digital storytelling production.

Sense of audience: The stories I choose are personal narrations that are part of a project to promote the value of education. I think the incorporation of personal narratives provides credibility and interest to the production.

Media application: The appropriate use of visuals and audio adds interest to any digital production, engaging the audience, and supports the story.

First Digital Story: La Historia de Omar by Omar Ruvalcava

This is a story about how Omar, an immigrant student, achieve his educational goals despite initial obstacles during his first study year dealing with prejudice and language barrier. He found support from his mother and an encouraging teacher. Omar shows his gratitude to Mrs. De La Mata and mentioned the deeper impact teachers have onn students’ lives. Finally he proudly explained his educational success as a Psychology Graduate student.

Story: Excellent.
Omar provided an engaging and powerful story. Sharing feelings, accomplishments, and a sense of pride, making the story inspiring and showing the importance of family and teacher influence.

Sense of Audience: Excellent.
Omar’s digital story is meaningful for the audience it is intended for. The video is focused on sharing the importance of education. He dedicated his story to teachers whom fight for students’ rights. The message supports the project “Another School and Another Community are possible”.

Media Application: Excellent audio. Very good visuals.
I think the music is well selected. The audio is clear. The visuals are good quality and carefully selected, but I think the author’s video images lack in providing the feelings narrated in the story. Some more drama or visual contact would improve the engaging effect.

Additionally the production gives appropriate credits at the end and provides contact information to know more about the project.

Second Digital Story: Privilegio (Privilege)

Privilegio by Teresa Rodriguez is a personal narration of her transforming perception of what means a privileged life. As a child of a immigrant field workers in California she enjoyed the farm life. She admired her parents and enjoyed other workers’ company. Later she realized the unfair work conditions her family was facing. Teresa got over her mixed feelings coming from her initial immigrant experience and focused on the strong relationship she developed with the other families on the ranch.

Story: Excellent.
It was a engaging story showing the innocence of a childhood perspective Teresa has during her life in the ranch. Also it showed the evolving feelings she has about her experience and how she was able to focus on the positive side of these memories.

Sense of Audience: Excellent.

The final message about when the narrator realized what is the true meaning of privilege is very powerful and resumes appropriately the story “We shared the value of honesty, friendship, and the importance of a strong work ethic.”
The story is narrate in Spanish with English subtitles. I think that this provided credibility and a sense of identity with the intended audience (immigrant students)

Media Application: Excellent audio. Very good visuals.
The narration is clear and the music added is consistent with the personal testimonial of the author’s experience during her life as an immigrant child

Like the previous story, the production gives appropriate credits at the end and provides contact information to know more about the project.

I think both stories are very well created and are good resources for the purpose of encouraging students to accomplish their goals and work hard to contribute to positive social change. However I wish these initiatives were paired with companies dedicated to creating professional productions such as advertising companies so that they may act as promotional campaigns using the power of these strong and true stories.