Career Story: Storyboard Creator For Interactive Educational Materials

Storyboard Creator For Interactive Educational Materials

Job Title: Editor, Technology

Type of Company: My company publishes textbooks and our parent company publishes newspapers, magazines, books, websites, assessments. My company employs 35,000 people worldwide and is a leader in most areas it competes in.

Education: BS, Biology, UMass-Amherst •• M.Ed., Educational Media and Technology, Boston University

Previous Experience: I have taught biotechnology field trips to 7-12th grade students and tutored.

Job Tasks: I write the storyboards for online activities to accompany a textbook. A storyboard is a document that breaks down a digital activity by screens and describes the text, images, animations or interactivity on each screen. I am told what type of activity I have to write and what subject matter the activity goes with, but I come up with the 'story'. I write the text, decide what each screen will look like, pick out images, mock up new ones, describe animations and interactivity. My work gets reviewed and edited, and then copy edited and then goes to a media producer who takes my work and turns if into .swf (flash) files. These files are loaded onto a website where students can use them to supplement their textbook.

Each image or photo that I request is created or selected by the media producer and then I have to approve each one to make sure it's correct (make sure the right species of turtle is shown or that an illustration was not created that presents content in a false way). I also have to approve any animations before they are put into the activity.

If there are problems with how many words are on a screen or the size of an image I am asked to re-write or suggest how to re-work the image to fit.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I enjoy thinking about the best ways to teach students using fun online activities. I get to think about how people learn and what engages them.

I do not like that sometimes so many people look at my storyboards and edit them so much that it doesn't look like my work anymore. But then I have to remember that the structure and ideas are still my original ideas. Without those the activity wouldn't exist. Sometimes I get stressed that so many people will see my work and I worry that it may not be good enough.

Job Tips:
1. You need to be realistic about the use of technology in teaching

2. You need to have a strong understanding of the history of teaching and education and why things are the way they are now

3. You need to be a good teacher and a better tutor. Online educational content is usually presented one-on-one, and you need to know how to connect to an individual student.

4. Learning how to program/create flash files, web pages, etc. is very useful. You will do a better job of explaining an animation if you know how to create it. Your work doesn't need to look good. That's someone else's job. But you should know how to do it.

Additional Thoughts: When you work for a large company that makes billions of dollars a year your voice is rarely heard. You do not get to make decisions and the people making decisions that affect your day-to-day activities are very far removed from you. Budgets get cut, scheduled get shifted, you just have to roll with it and not take it personally.

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