Friday, December 01, 2006

An Amazing Workshop

I am working in the Canby, Oregon school district this week, providing a two-day digital storytelling workshop using Apple tools. The workshop was amazing not because of what I did, but because of what the teachers were able to do in two days, and what they are equipped to do when they return to their schools. Every teacher has an iBook. Every school team represented in the workshop received an iPod with a microphone, a digital still camera, and a digital video camera with tripod. When the participating teachers opened their boxes, it was like Christmas! I was very impressed with the pace of the workshop. During the hands-on time after lunch on the first day, each team took a picture with their digital still camera, and observed how easy it was to upload it to iPhoto; they recorded a short audio clip with their iPods, and saw how easy it was to transfer that audio file to iTunes; then we opened iMovie and imported both of these files onto the timeline. It was so easy! Their assignment then was to finish their scripts and record their voice narration prior to the beginning of the second day of the workshop. In previous workshops, we've had to reserve the whole morning of the second day to schedule people through a single recording station in another quiet room. Using the iPods, they are able to record in their own homes. I am further impressed by the open network in this district, and their commitment to technology.

This afternoon was showtime, with the a total of eleven digital stories completed and shown to the whole group. I am hoping to get permission to showcase a few of them on my website. Every teacher has a blog, so maybe some of these stories will get posted online. It is refreshing to spend time in a district that values creativity and the power of narrative and voice in learning, not just focusing on the mandates of accountability. Of course, it helps that one of their leaders is a fellow Apple Distinguished Educator who is exploring different emerging technologies to enhance student learning! I hope to follow these schools to see the impact of digital storytelling on student learning and engagement.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dr. Barrett, as a visiting administrator from another district, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed being invited to see the Canby teachers share their digital stories. They were funny, heartwarming and powerful expressions of creativity and learning.

The Canby teachers have developed a handy set of skills that can expand the boundaries of what's possible in their classrooms with kids. Great stuff for classrooms! Made me want to be a student again.

Any educator knowledgable of the Apple suite of tools can attest to their ease of use. Canby is fortunate to have forward-looking administrators, teachers, and a commitment to maintain high-quality educational tools.

It was a pleasure meeting you, too, Dr. Barrett. I look forward to working with you on a workshop in my district.

Sincerely,
Steve Beining
District Tech Coordinator
Gresham-Barlow Schools

Barbara Ganley said...

Helen,

It's important to cherish these moments when infrastructure, imagination and understanding come together in such powerful ways! Would all school districts learn from or be inspired by Canby's example.
Of course not all teachers or schools or school districts embrace or value or really understand the role of storytelling in learning--more power to you for going out day after day, to school after school, to community after community, demonstrating the value of stories and the value of the process of storytelling in education just when we need stories most. Bravo!
~Barbara