Teacher Consultant

Clifford Lee

Life Academy High School
Oakland, California

Bay Area Writing Project

Educator Profile

At Life Academy High School in Oakland, California, Clifford Lee uses digital storytelling in his eleventh-grade Humanities block (U.S. History and American Literature) to teach his mostly English language learners to think critically about immigration and history, the nuances of writing and speaking for an authentic audience, the importance of revision and feedback through the recursive process of recording one's voice and listening for adjustments, and the benefits in utilizing technology to complement writing as an alternative form of communication. A teacher consultant for the Bay Area Writing Project, Clifford serves as editor for the local Young Writers' Camp and shares his digital storytelling expertise in summer institutes and in a variety of professional development, continuity, and youth programs.

Digital Storytelling Projects

Throughout my teaching career, I've implemented various digital storytelling projects that include: the American Immigration Digital Storytelling Project, which is a cross-curricular project that integrates both English/language arts and social studies content; documentary filmmaking shorts; and multimedia fiction and nonfiction works for the school news.

 In addition to these classroom-based projects, I've also taught educators how best to utilize digital storytelling in K–12 classrooms as well as created, facilitated, and coached individuals, teams, and general conference participants on the uses of digital storytelling.

Using these multimedia approaches to traditional subjects enables me to tap into the multiple intelligences of my students. It forces me to learn, apply, and strategize new tools that may aid in my students' learning of the traditional canon of the ELA (reading, writing, speaking, listening).

Meeting, collaborating, and reflecting on my practice pushes me to delve deeper into the variety of ways we can use these technologies and, in discussions with others, I learn how instructors around the country are using them in their classrooms as well.

My students have greatly benefited through an alternative method of demonstration of their learning and utilizing a different tool to develop their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. It has also served as a motivational tool for students who use technology for recreational purposes, but are now able to combine it with academic learning.

My colleagues have benefited through my project by gaining interest through a model, then developing their own project in their respective subjects (chemistry, English, math).