I’m looking forward to our online sessions with young people in Palestine which will start again soon, and this year I’m particularly excited about experimenting with online storytelling using another of Zoom’s free tools – the virtual background.
My eldest son bought me a green screen for Xmas last year but it’s only during this long break from sessions over the summer that I’ve had a chance to pin it to one of the walls of my shed and try it out.
It basically enables you to project any image you would like to be seen behind you whilst in a zoom session. Up to now, when using pictures in an online storytelling session, I’ve done this through screen sharing of powerpoint slides. The disadvantage with this is that the video of you telling the story is quite small and tends to be dominated by the images. Of course, it may be really important that everyone is really focussed on the pictures, but when telling a story online I think it’s also really important that the children can see the storyteller well; that he or she can make eye contact, make visible gestures and facial expressions, enter and leave the stage sometimes, and even interact somehow with the background.
Here are some screen shots of me telling a story (sea glass soup) using three different virtual backgrounds – one for each of the scenes of the story – the beach, outside the house, and the kitchen.
If you’d like to know more about green-screen storytelling, I’m building it into our training courses for new volunteers and I’ll also be doing a short Friday training session on it for existing volunteers soon. If you’re a teacher in Palestine and you’d like to arrange a weekly online storytelling session for the young people you work with then get in touch with us soon and we’ll find a volunteer for you.