Tag Archives: ISTE

iStory-Telling

“The truth about story telling is… that’s all we are.”  Dean Shareski

We live in our stories. There is power in telling our stories and sharing them with others. This video celebrates the learning that took place in the Surrey School District during Year One of our Innovative Learning Designs Project. The focus for the video was to explore how we, as educators, might facilitate and transform the story-telling skills of our students through the integration of technology in the classroom.

As Lisa Domeier de Suarez (former Teacher Librarian Helping Teacher) visited the various pilot schools and talked to the students and teachers involved she discovered the myriad ways students were using technology to tell their stories.  Ms. Domeier de Suarez noted the wide range of age groups and ability level able to participate in these projects.  The students readily embraced the possibilities and transformative directions made possible by the use of various technological tools and by being connected with the outside world through web publishing.

Students of all ages and ability levels were able to create: eBooks, movies, animations, stop-motion movies, demonstration videos — even alternative ‘histories’ of civilization — to tell their stories and share these stories with the rest of the world.

The response of those involved was overwhelmingly positive.  These story-telling projects were opening doors for students to share themselves with the world and each other in new and exciting ways.  There was a palpable sense in those interviewed that they were just beginning to discover the possibilities available; where this could go in the future was anyone’s guess.

Note: Thank you to Chris Walton, LST Teacher, for writing this guest post. This video features the reflections of several of our students along with Fraser Heights Vice Principal, Denton Muir, and SD 36 teachers:  Lynda Dyck, Barbara Feltham, Lara Hayward, John Kelly, Jessica Pelat, Narinder Walia, Chris Walton and Jody Wilson.  Thanks to, Lisa Domier de Suarez and Forrest Smith, for creating this video snapshot of Year One of our learning journey. This video premiered as part of an #sd36learn workshop at ISTE last year.

For more on story telling in the 21st Century see this slideshare by Dean Shareski:

http://www.slideshare.net/shareski

My Top Three List for 2012 (with apologies to Chris Kennedy)

Ahhh…I too have drafted a top three list. Thank you to Chris Kennedy (@chrkennedy) for inspiring this post but sincere apologies as well. As you can see, my categories are a bit different. Unlike Chris, this list does not represent a long tradition but a spontaneous moment of reflection. I am still drowning from “drinking from the firehose” but will endeavour to mark some important moments in the past year. I must say, however, it is a struggle to remember the past year. Hasn’t it rushed by in a blur? What did I really learn? Why can’t I be as reflective, profound and wise as others to nail down the most salient features of my year of learning? Here is my half-hearted and whimsical attempt at some of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Books I should have read and didn’t (see photo):

1. Finnish Lessons
2. Fierce Conversations
3. Where Good Ideas Come From
I started them, I caressed the covers, I read the author’s bios and skimmed the introductions with the fond thought that I might read them, write a review and post it in my blog. Alas, I read the intro, maybe a chapter or two, but I did not read them. They did not hold my attention but I’m sure they are all great books.

 

Books I did read that were really worth it:
1. Why School? by Will Richardson
2. Inquiry: A District Wide Approach to Staff and Student Learning
3. The Connected Educator
Why School? was fabulous. I bought copies for all my Innovative Learning Designs schools. Inquiry is a book all senior leadership staff should read. What does it mean for members of leadership team to engage in inquiry? Do we share that inquiry with others? Where are we on the learning journey? How can inquiry permeate the organization system-wide? The Connected Educator I read poolside last year during spring break while my personal pool-boy delivered bottled water and pistachio nuts. The four boys (ages 16, 13, 8 & 5) were chained to digital devices in the motel room so I could have a moment of peace and quiet. No wonder I loved the book.

Pro-D Events I wish I attended but didn’t:
1. Learning Forward
2. Workshop: How to write regular posts that others want to read
3. A private boot camp on technology designed just for me (so much to learn, so little time)
I should go to a Learning Forward conference because I have never been and because this is the central focus of my work as a Director of Instruction. I want to go but have not yet made it a priority. As for writing posts, is there any way to make this easy? What a struggle. I hope to write a post weekly but if I manage to get two done a month I am grateful. Writing is hard work. Finally, I want my own boot camp. Someone could walk me through the things I want to learn (this would be personalized learning at its best). And they could show me, hand over hand, just what I need to do. I watch, I do. Repeat (because I forget easy). I wouldn’t have to read a manual or watch a video. It would be face-to-face. This is a totally selfish fantasy. We all need to have at least one.

Professional Development Events I attended and loved (and not necessarily in this order):
1. ISTE 2012
2. Connected Ed Canada Conference 
3. Apple Educational Leaders’ Institute (an invite only event)
These events were about learning and people. Those were my highlights. I love learning and sharing or talking about it with others. It wasn’t just the sessions, it was the in between conversations, walks, discussions, and dinners as well. I was inspired. I was rejuvenated. I was refreshed.  I wanted more.

Things I should have taught my four boys but didn’t:
1. Using technology to create rather than consume (that’s why they need teachers)
2. Creating ibooks rather than playing Minecraft, Travian or Flow
3. Solving inter-personal problems with your brothers (there must be an app for that)

Most Rewarding:
1. Working with teachers
2. Learning
3. System change/innovation
I really like working with teachers. I love learning. I am fascinated by system change. End story. Full stop.

Things I hate:
1. Sitting still in long meetings (I just have to fidget with something)
2. Paper & more paper (Where should it get filed? Is there no respect for trees?)
3. My calendar (For my secretary, it’s a dirty word)
These are the reasons we call “work” “work”.

Best Personal Activities:
1. Starting running, again
2. Family boot camp in Arizona (mountain-biking, hiking, running, weights)
3. Outdoor adventures
Work is sedentary. I need to be physical. Work generally takes place inside offices and meeting rooms. I crave the outdoors.

Best Non-Educational Reading:
1. The Sharper the Knife the Less you Cry: Love, Laugher and Tears in Paris at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School
2. The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks
3. Childrens’ Books (too many of them to choose)

Favorite Treats (indulge when inbox is overflowing):
1. Ms. Vickie’s chips (preferably with dip)
2. Starbucks, especially when someone else is treating (Can you say skinny Caramel Macchiato?)
3. Chocolate covered nuts

Worst Things in my World:
1. Being injured, again
2. Sleep deprivation
3. Workload

Things that make me smile:
1. Outrageous videos (don’t some days just feel like this?)

2. People that make me laugh
3. My children (occasionally)

Things I can’t control:
1. Other people
2. Budgets
3. School Act

Things I can control:
1. Creating space for teachers to experiment with their learning
2. Designing opportunities for innovation
3. Connecting learners together

It was a crazy year. I had lots of fun. I loved making things happen and pushing the envelope of innovation. If it has made a difference for students, for teachers, then there is some gratification. Thanks for being with me (and putting up with me) on my outrageous learning journey!