Your note lights me up, my friend. Thank you for your soft eyes and kind words.
After one of my English classes a few semesters back, my middle school students set out with their spiral notebooks to interview their extended family members as homework. The goal was to capture the Chinese immigrant experience first-hand in America. Once students completed their interviews and reflected candidly in their journals on all they'd learned--the good, the bad, the ugly of it all--I invited them to choose four relatives who could join them in Phoenix to record a live session on NPR's StoryCorp. Together each family sat in a small JetStream studio trailer, owning their pain, their joy, and their hopes.
They walked away with a digital cd of that session and a trove of seeds for future stories and papers.
I start many of my classes by showing StoryCorp animated videos which magically transform the tales we hear each week. My young artists suddenly see themselves designing work with real meaning and contribution, and my writers can't write fast enough in their journals the ideas the animations inspire.
So yes, friend, programs like StoryCorp and many other digital programs, apps, and games are perfect for students to use for publishing their stories in fresh, innovative ways. Social media is already helping young students quickly capture and share vulnerable moments with one another, and it's helping them galvanize with eloquence and vim a movement for peace on campus, not guns.
They crave to be OPEN and REAL without BREAKING, and they're counting on us to show them how. For me it starts with a pencil, my journal, and me.