Friday, June 18, 2010

Sylvia Martinez on Project Based Learning

Sylvia Martinez was our featured guest on the day during our Summer Learning Institute that was dedicated to project based learning. Sylvia really helped us push the needle and advance the conversation regarding the relevance of project based learning in a content focused, college preparatory experience like the one that exists at our school

A special thank you to our student interns for the week, Angelica Ortiz and Sam Cecil, for managing the video recordings and live streaming.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"An Invitation to Tell Digital Stories" with Wes Fryer

On the fourth and final day of our school's Summer Learning Institute we were joined by Wes Fryer to learn more about the world of multimedia digital storytelling. After a 75 minute presentation with Q/A, Wes challenged our teachers to create a 5 picture digital story in less than 100 minutes. They were all given the choice to share their very rough versions with the group later in the day. Wes encouraged participants to create personal digital stories and to not necessarily focus on curricular connections. This last point was genius - giving folks the opportunity to feel the power of the medium from a creator's standpoint through a personal story is so important. Most adults have experienced digital stories from the standpoint of consumer, but the majority of us have never created our own stories. The diversity of what was shared at the end of the day was incredible. Our teachers shared stories about recent trips, their kids, deceased family members, pets, the need to balance online consumption and creation, and more. These stories were incredibly powerful and I learned something new about each one of my colleagues. I think digital storytelling could be used in many different ways in our school, including our meetings. Imagine if we utilized digital storytelling in our staff meetings...departments could create stories to highlight their successes, teachers could create stories to reflect upon recent conference learning experiences, etc, etc.

I was really happy that we pushed our faculty to create something very raw with a limited amount of time. So often times in schools we only share our very best pieces after a considerable amount of time. This type of "rapid prototyping" instructional design encourages regular improvement versus delayed perfection.

The recording of Wes' presentation is embedded below. A special thank you to our student interns for the week, Sam Cecil and Angelica Ortiz, for handling the live streaming and video archiving of our SLI speakers.

Click here to subscribe to all four of our Summer Learning Institute featured guest (Helen Barrett, Sylvia Martinez, Gary Stager, and Wes Fryer) videos in iTunes.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Gary Stager at Castilleja School's 2010 Summer Learning Institute

Last week we offered a unique professional development opportunity for our school's faculty and staff  in the form of a "Summer Learning Institute." Tuesday featured a deep dive into the world of portfolio learning with Dr. Helen Barrett. On Wednesday we studied project based learning with Sylvia Martinez. On Thursday we were joined by Dr. Gary Stager to discuss laptop learning and on Friday we wrapped the week up with an immersive digital storytelling experience with Wes Fryer. This superstar line-up of outside facilitators, combined with an incredibly motivated and eager group of faculty from my school, yielded a special learning experience. I hope to reflect more on the experience here and share the instructional design that we used throughout the week-in many ways I think this week was a really good model for summer professional development.

I'm slowly getting all of the video from our presenters processed and posted (thanks to our student interns Angelica Ortiz and Sam Cecil for doing all of the video work!)  Embedded below is Gary's session on laptop learning. The remaining presentations will be posted over the course of the next week. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Making Stuff - one teacher's perspective

In our Summer Learning Institute professional development session on Friday we had the good fortune of taking a deep dive into the world of digital storytelling with Wes Fryer. After a 70 minute presentation by Wes on the topic he gave us an invitation to create our own personal digital stories during the balance of the morning and early afternoon. Our teachers were essentially tasked to create a VERY rough five photo digital story in about 100 minutes time. I was BLOWN away by the diversity of projects that people shared to close out the day. I appreciated Wes' efforts to encourage us to focus on our own personal stories instead of making curricular connections. The curricular connections may develop in a much more powerful way now that everyone has experienced the power of this process.

Anyway, here is a digital story that caught my eye (we had about 10 teachers share their stories-they all caught my eye actually-it was an incredibly diverse collection of personal stories). This was created by one of our middle school English teachers, Katie Sauvain, and it is a Voicethread titled, "Making Stuff...a History." Next year our students will be bringing their own laptops to school each day and Katie touches on the idea of creating a balance between consumption and creation.

Katie is thinking about starting a professional blog and I hope she does (encourage her to start a blog with a comment here!!!) If her digital story is any indication of the kinds of things she may share in her blog, then we have alot to look forward to!

If you are reading this via a news reader and you are unable to see this project, I highly recommend that you visit my blog to check out this story. Katie sums up some many feelings and thoughts that many others in our community share as we prepare to enter the world of one to one learning.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Student Livescribe Pen Review

I've written about the Livescribe Pen before here, but I was glad to have the chance to sit down with one of our students who has been actively utilizing the pen to support her learning over the past few months and have a conversation about her take on the device.

A special shout out and thank you goes to Paula for taking the time out to record this podcast. The podcast is about 9 minutes long...enjoy.

Click here to listen to the audio recording of our conversation or try the media player below.