Moving at the Speed of Creativity By Wesley Fryer, Ph.D.
Hands-on, BYOL (bring your own laptop) workshops with Wesley Fryer provide one of the best ways to not only gain a better understanding of technology integration possibilities, but also gain practical skills utilizing technology tools and strategies in the classroom.
Welcome to Episode 462 of Moving at the Speed of Creativity podcasts, a now-wildly irregular podcast by Dr. Wesley Fryer (@wfryer) focusing on digital creativity, media literacy, digital literacy and instructional technology. This episode includes two segments. The first is an interview with Megan Thompson (@seeingnewshapes), our elementary art teacher at Casady School in Oklahoma City. This past spring, Megan had an opportunity to travel to the Chicago area and spend part of a day with Tricia Fuglestad (@fuglefun). Tricia is an amazing elementary art teacher and utilizes a wide variety of technologies in her classroom to encourage creativity and empower student expression. Shelly Fryer (@sfryer) and Wes interviewed Megan about her experiences, observations and takeaways from her time with Tricia in early June, 2018. The second segment of this podcast is a conversation between Shelly and Wes about their two recent Make Media Camp workshops (@MakeMediaCamp) with teachers in Kansas City and Oklahoma City. They highlight a variety of lessons learned and changes they’ve made to this one day media experience which introduces teachers to six different media projects and classroom activities: narrated images, photo collages, class radio shows / podcasts, paper-slide videos, Goose Chase mobile media scavenger hunts, and multimedia eBooks. Learn more about Make Media Camps on www.MakeMediaCamp.com, and access all workshop curricula from these workshops on the Archives link under Resources. Check out the shownotes for this podcast for links to additionally referenced resources.
I’m excited to announce the availability of three upcoming “Make Media Camps” for PK-12 teachers and university faculty in July 2018 in Kansas City, Oklahoma City, and Dallas. The past five summers, I have led and co-led 3 day iPad Media Camp workshops with my wife, Shelly Fryer. This summer, we are continuing to iterate with this professional development model by offering one day workshops focused on making media with iPads as well as Chromebooks. The Kansas City workshop will be Friday, July 6th, the Oklahoma City workshop will be Friday, July 13th, and the Dallas workshop will be Friday, July 27th. More details, including the workshop agenda and registration links via EventBrite, are available on MakeMediaCamp.com. You can also follow @MakeMediaCamp on Twitter for updates.
Make Media Camp (@MakeMediaCamp) is a one day, hands-on workshop designed to inspire and equip educators to facilitate student media projects using iPads and/or Chromebooks for enriched assessment. Make Media Camps are led by Dr. Wesley Fryer (@wfryer) and Shelly Fryer (@sfryer). Participants should BYOD (bring your own device) to camp and install required apps / extensions / programs in advance. Participating teachers are students in a fully technology integrated classroom during the workshop, and collaborate with others to create different media projects. A Seesaw classroom of student digital learning journals is used by participants throughout Make Media Camp to share media products and support classmates in their learning.
The agenda for Make Media Camp includes learning to create and facilitate student creation of multiple media projects and media activities. These include:
This summer’s LearnFest event was “the beta” of the new model, which included several new elements like teacher “Shark Tank pitches” for fundable proposals to improve school and learning for students. The winning team won up to $1000 to implement their proposal, which they had brainstormed and developed in a few hours the day before.
The learning highlight of yesterday for me took place in the closing, which featured four TED-style presentations by different brave (and perhaps crazy!) speakers. Carl titled this segment of the closing event, “What’s HOT in Ed Tech,” and each volunteer presenter had to spin a virtual wheel (on an iPad app, of course) to select a type of hot pepper they had to eat first, before giving their presentation. This was the brainchild of Chris Miller (@EdTechChris), who was one of the four speakers along with Carl.
Each of the presentations were excellent (hot peppers aside) and included a great mix of thought provoking trends as well as new tools and technologies to try out in the weeks ahead. Carl’s presentation about artificial intelligence echoed (coincidentally) much of my own thinking about AI: We need to be grappling together with peer teachers and students about what teaching, learning, life and work can and should look like as powerful AI bots are increasingly available to “do our bidding” and augment our capacities to do productive as well as creative work.
Chris Miller (@EdTechChris) presented last, and shared about Cisco Spark Board. I’ve heard a little about the Sparkboard, but Chris’ presentation made me realize I really need to check out this tool and learn about it in depth.
You did a great job presenting about this today! ?????? I have heard about the @cisco Sparkboard before but your preso really inspired me to check it out in earnest and learn more! ? #LearnFestATX
Jennifer reminded all of us in the audience yesterday at Westlake High School how important student-centered pedagogy and learning theories are in schools and classrooms. She quoted four of my favorite educational luminaries: John Dewey, Maria Montessori, Seymour Papert, and Jean Piaget.
Here’s why I found Jennifer’s words so inspiring and personally meaningful.
Our family has lived in Oklahoma since 2006, and as a state we have pitifully low expectations for our public schools and public school teachers. The majority of our elected officials in the Oklahoma State Legislature simply don’t care about the quality (or lack of quality) of education in our public schools. This was dramatically highlighted this past spring, in the prolonged Oklahoma teacher walkout, which resulted in minimal legislative changes. The threat of the walkout prompted the legislature to pass a teacher payraise before the walkout started, but that law lost some of its funding mechanisms and is now threatened by a November ballot initiative. That teacher pay raise was the first tax increase in Oklahoma in the past 26 years, since the state voted to require a 3/4ths “supermajority” to raise any new revenue. Because of that supermajority requirement for revenue bills, our Oklahoma legislature has effectively lost its ability to meaningfully govern our state.
From '79-'13 OK corrections spending has increased 272% more than education spending during the same period. Chew on that. #oklaed#okleg
Combined with the urban/rural divide which holds political compromise and progress hostage on many other issues, our state is “stuck in a pit” where we can’t find the political will or leadership to adequately fund pubic education as required by state law.
"Urban and Rural divide could be a big issue next week with the #OklaEd teacher walkout. It's a big issue when it comes to local control issues like min wage & property taxes" by @jdunnington#OklaEd#OkLeg
How do these Oklahoma political realities relate to Jennifer Flood’s presentation yesterday at the LearningFest in Austin?
Almost all the requirements to become a classroom teacher in Oklahoma have been effectively abandoned because of our teacher shortage and funding crisis. We’ve seen a dramatic spike in the number of issued emergency teaching certificates in our state, from 32 in 2011 to over 2000 in 2018.
The political, economic, and educational culture in Oklahoma today preaches the following fiction to all stakeholders:
You don’t need any special educational preparation, experience, or background to be a K-12 teacher in Oklahoma. Pedagogy, learning theories, classroom management experiences, student teaching, mentorship, or any other type of teacher preparation are unnecessary and not of value. If you’re breathing, not a convicted felon, and have a college degree, you’re ready to teach in an Oklahoma public school classroom today.
This educational culture is beyond distressing.
Seeing the photographs and words of John Dewey, Maria Montessori, Seymour Papert, and Jean Piaget yesterday reminded me about why I became a teacher in the first place, and why I studied Curriculum and Instruction to earn my Ph.D. Authentic learning is so much more than “the delivery of information” into the ears, eyes, and minds of others. It’s about experiences, reflection, collaboration, and making meaning which is attached to previously built schemas in our brains. Technology tools are most effective, empowering, transformative, and amazing when we view computers not simply as delivery platforms but rather as “imagination machines” and “bridges to creativity.”
Through all our discussions of technologies, apps, websites and AI-powered automation, however, it’s vital that we remember the importance and value of the teacher, and specifically the pedagogies embraced by teachers. Jennifer reminded all of us of this in her presentation yesterday. Despite the distraction (and visible pain) of having to eat an habenero first, these messages come through to me from Jennifer loud and clear, and I was moved.
Pedagogy and beliefs about learning can sometimes be glimpsed through Twitter profiles. In her current Twitter profile, Jennifer Flood shares with us an important element of her educational philosophy and pedagogy:
Building a better world by designing experiences that empower students to make choices.
It was inspiring and invigorating to make multiple connections with different friends and educators down at the Learning Festival yesterday, but it was also important for me personally to be reminded of the power of pedagogy.
As human beings, the words we say to others make a difference. As teachers, the philosophy of learning which shapes the experiences we design and facilitate for and with students makes a difference too. If you haven’t read directly (as Jennifer exhorted us yesterday) the words of Dewey, Montessori, Papert, and Piaget, add them to your reading list now and start reading them soon. Add John Holt to that list, along with Frank Smith. And Angelo Patri.
Pedagogy and learning theories matter, because they shape the teachers we are and the experiences we craft together for children. Thank you Jennifer Flood. You reminded me about what is most important in education and schools, and inspired me to consider again the roles I have to play in teacher education.
Unfortunately, those needed elements of the political puzzle were not in place for Puerto Rico in the 1990s and 2000s, and combined with other factors to bring the island to third-world conditions in its power grid and infrastructure by the time Maria came knocking in 2017.
Colonial Heritage is Grim
Many citizens of the United States may not be comfortable with this reality, but Puerto Rico’s continuing status as a U.S. territory is a legacy of our own history as an empire and a colonizing nation. Like many of the American colonists of 1776, Puerto Ricans are citizens without representation in our national government. We should either bring Puerto Rico into the United States as a state with full rights, or cut it loose as an independent nation to go their way in the community of nations. The PBS Frontline special paints a grim picture of this future, where Puerto Rico is unlikely to receive the investment and financial assistance it would need to grow out of its financial and economic morass. As conditions around the island continue to be poor, even with restored power in most areas, there is an ongoing “brain drain” of talent from the island. Younger families are thinking about their own children and their prospects for the future. Those look MUCH brighter (literally and figuratively) on the mainland of the United States than on Puerto Rico. No one knows what this hurricane season will hold, but there will doubtless be more strong storms in the years ahead. By its mandate, FEMA was only able to restore capacity, officially not build capacity and infrastructure beyond that which existed pre-Hurricane Maria. The history here is grim, and so is the outlook for the future.
Bureaucratic Processes Can Be Stupid
We need regulations to keep greed in check, but we also need rules which don’t hamstring government officials into making stupid decisions. The Puerto Rican head of FEMA operations is interviewed in this Frontline special, and explains why two different companies were awarded $25 million and $30 million federal contracts to provide tarps to the island, but neither had any track record or experience in providing these types of products or services to others in the past. Incredibly, a third company finally got tarps from China to Puerto Rico, even though that evidently violates U.S. import laws, whose previous product specialization was hookah tobacco. The FEMA administrator’s defense of this ridiculous series of bureaucratic blunders was, “we followed all our federal acquisitions policies.” Obviously in this case, some exceptions of the rules were called for.
Good Leadership Essential
It seems pretty clear, viewing this Frontline special, that the lead FEMA administrator in Puerto Rico wasn’t and isn’t “the sharpest tool in the shed.” Out of desperation and apparently not having other options, the US government eventually tasked the US Army’s Corps of Engineers with the mission of restoring the power grid in Puerto Rico. They did this over the course of 7 months with the help of contractors which (yes, I know it’s amazing) did have some experience with electricity contracts, but not specifically with restoring power grids.
As is the case in every organization and with every challenge, good leadership is essential. It’s crazy to learn from this PBS Frontline documentary how much faster the emergency response for things like tarps to cover homes were in places like the Philipines following Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, than they were in Puerto Rico in 2017. It does seem that FEMA was much better in responding to hurricane damage in the Houston area last fall, than they were during Katrina in 2005. Some lessons have been learned and applied, but there is so much more to do when it comes to increasing the efficiency and rationality of our government agencies.
I highly recommend all PBS Frontline specials, including this one on “Blackout in Puerto Rico.” I always feel like I am a better educated citizen when I watch a Frontline special and discuss it with others. Climate change is a reality, and we’re going to keep seeing severe weather in the Caribbean and in other parts of our amazing planet. I am very thankful to the journalists at PBS Frontline and for the funders which make their journalism possible. I hope we can continue to apply lessons learned to the inadequate disaster response in Puerto Rico following Maria not only in improving government services on the island, but elsewhere as well.
The work of our first responders, disaster relief agencies, and government representatives as well as contractors is so important in times of need. Let’s continue to educate our students and our fellow citizens about these historical events, as well as the importance of efficient and humane responses to them so we can do better in the future.
Welcome to episode 461 of Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer, from March 18, 2018. This podcast features an introductory overview about instructional coaching and technology integration coaching specifically, drawing on the author’s experiences in this role with teachers since the late 1990s. In addition to defining instructional coaching, keys to successful instructional coaching experiences for mentor teachers as well as coaches are highlighted, as well as “lessons learned.” The second part of the podcast features an interview with middle school French teacher Blake Pardue, who has been connecting his students to “pen pal” classrooms of French speaking students in Europe and in Africa for several years. The past two years, Blake’s students have used the iPad app “Explain Everything” to create media-rich introductions of themselves and practice their French skills with their pen pals. This interview was a reflection with Blake Pardue and Wes Fryer about this year’s iteration of the Explain Everything project, which utilized the new “cloud based” and collaborative version. They discuss project procedures and lessons learned. Refer to the podcast shownotes for links to referenced apps and resources from the show.
Creeping lava, toxic gas: Why Hawaii volcano is a unique disaster - YouTube
The 57 second video from the US Geologic Survey (@usgs) “Repeated overflows onto the Halema‘uma‘u crater floor” from April 27, 2018, is dramatic, especially when you consider how rare it’s been in the past three decades to see lava almost completely fill the entire K?lauea summit crater. USGS is posting frequent updates from the Kilauea summit observatory as well, and these are good to share even more current volcano activity videos with your students. They are mostly “talking head” volcanologist videos, and don’t include dramatic lava footage or detailed visualizations, but are short and still excellent to share. These are posted to the USGS YouTube channel.
The 10 minute video “Crazy Lava Flows Captured in Hawaii” from May 9, 2018, has 2.1 million views as of this writing, and includes footage which had to be very dangerous to capture. It’s “citizen journalist” footage, and can provide a segue with your students to not only discuss and marvel at the power of the earth’s geothermal core, but also the practical safety hazards of capturing and posting video footage to social media during a natural disaster.
Two final videos I recommend are a little older but provide excellent historical as well as scientific background on K?lauea and what makes Hawaii volcanos so unique in the world. The 24 minute USGS video from October 2017, “K?lauea Summit Eruption | Lava Returns to Halema?uma?u,” is outstanding and provides both excellent scientific commentary as well as dramatic footage. I especially enjoyed learning about “Pele’s Hair,” which is a volcanic phenomenon I hadn’t heard of previously.
Kīlauea Summit Eruption | Lava Returns to Halemaʻumaʻu - YouTube
I have added these videos to my STEM Curiosity Links page. Although I’m not currently teaching a STEM class, sharing short videos like these (or portions of these videos using a tool like SafeYouTube) are one of my favorite ways to start class. It’s awesome to encourage student curiosity about our natural world, activate interest in current events, and provide them with safe links and places to go online to learn more.
If you use any of these links with your own students, please let me know!
This week my daughter and I had an opportunity to spend several hours at the new Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. Wow were we ever impressed! I can’t wait to go back with other members of our family and spend a LOT more time taking in the exhibits as well as the special events and media “extras.” In this post I’ll share a few highlights.
There were many standouts from our visit, but the biggest one was an experience which we couldn’t video or document. It’s the “Hebrew Bible Experience.” This was, without a doubt, the most media-intensive museum experience I’ve ever had. It reminded me of the initial modules of “The Bethel Series” Bible study which we took a number of years ago at our church in Lubbock, Texas, except it was exceptionally media intense. The Pentateuch is the collection of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible in the Torah, and is featured in this 30 minute museum experience taking visitors from the first chapter of Genesis through the reign of King David and King Solomon. The creation, Adam and Eve in the garden, Noah and the Flood, the story of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz, Abraham and Sarah, Jacob/Israel and his sons, Joseph in Egypt, David and Goliath, David and Bathsheba, the reign of Solomon, the fall of the temple, the division of Israel into the northern and southern kingdoms, the exile of the Jews to Babylon and the return to Israel… All of these events are portrayed with a stunning combination of videos, lights, sculptures, and multiple rooms which visitors journey through in different segments. A room of white filled with rainbows after the flood, a dramatic burning bush and the voice of the Lord speaking to Moses, a room surrounded with blue water as visitors metaphorically pass through the waters of the Red Sea escaping Egypt… all of these are masterfully stitched together in a powerful experience that was both engaging and emotional (for me) to experience. Wow. This history and these stories are incredibly powerful without any media, but it was even more inspiring to experience them again through the media of cutting-edge digital storytellers in 2018. This is an experience at the Museum of the Bible which should not be missed!
Backing up a little bit, the entrance doors to the museum are really impressive. The main idea and focus of the Museum of the Bible is to encourage and support members of the public to interact with and experience the Bible, and this is obvious as soon as you walk into the building.
I really loved the way the museum’s digital storytellers creatively employed media to tell the story of “the Great Awakening” in the United States, in the second floor exhibit “The Bible in America.” The screen in one area is a wrap-around design, and has black outlines of colonial village buildings and trees. On top of that background, images of people and scenes are displayed with voice narration, creating an extremely unique interactive experience. Photos of that era are not available, but these techniques overlaying silhouette images with music and voice narration was extremely immersive and effective in telling the story of this time.
I also loved how, in this section of the museum, different actors interactively read letters between different founding luminaries of the United States, bringing their ideas and contrasting views to life. Subtitles on the videos show who the actor was portraying, and subtitles help emphasize the words and message of the letters being read. This is masterful museum storytelling! So engaging, and much more inviting than simply printing the words of these letters on displays to be read by visitors.
Live museum docents narrate and bring to life other elements of the Bible’s story, like the section about Gutenberg’s printing press and moveable type. Although we saw the traveling Bible artifact display in Oklahoma City several years ago which included elements that have become part of the Museum of the Bible collection in Washington D.C., it was great to see some of these elements again and experience the ways museum creators encourage visitors to interact with the. One small story which I don’t remember learning about previously was how Gutenberg was unable to pay back the financial loans which had permitted him to build his printing press, and as a result his press and all the materials he’d created were repossessed in a bankruptcy legal proceeding. A sad footnote to the man who had ushered in a huge revolution in communication and information sharing on our planet.
In the museum’s third floor exhibit, “World of Jesus of Nazareth,” realistic homes and village areas are re-created. In the synagogue area, a docent shared about how the village synagogue was a place of gathering and teaching, but not of worship: Worship happened several times a year in the Temple in Jerusalem. This was a clarification which was also new to me. I thought of the village synagogue during Jesus’ time as a place of worship, but I learned that was not the case. Overall, this was a very immersive, powerful way to get a better understanding of the world, rituals, customs, and life experiences of Jesus and those with whom he lived 2000+ years ago.
The elevators at the Museum of the Bible is remarkable because they include video LCD screens on three sides, showing vistas of Jerusalem and other parts of Israel. The projected stained glass and paintings on the ceilings of the museum, and these elevator video experiences, serve to further immerse visitors in the world of the Bible and Holy Land where the Bible has its origins.
The food on the sixth floor of the museum is also exceptional. We had two different plates which included various types of Middle Eastern food, with lots of vegetables as well as meats. Sarah had chicken and I had lamb. Yum! Definitely plan to eat at the museum when you visit. The view of the U.S. Capitol and other areas on the mall from the 6th floor of the museum is also impressive.
I loved the section of the museum which included short video clip testimonies from a wide variety of people, both celebrities and “regular folks.” People shared how they came to know God, how the Bible is a vital part of their daily routine and walk with the Lord, and how God has supported them during difficult times of their lives. Of course, this made me think of my book and project, “Pocket Share Jesus: Be a Digital Witness for Christ.” As Christians we are each called to tell our story, and it was inspiring to see digital storytelling used in such effective and inspiring ways at the Museum of the Bible to share the Good News of the Gospel.
I could write more about the exhibits and experience, but I think I’ll close for now so I can share this before we board our Southwest Airlines flight back to Oklahoma City tonight. Most of my photos from our trip this week, including many from the Museum of the Bible, are included in this Flickr set.
If your travels take you to the Washington D.C. area, I strongly encourage you to make plans to spend several hours or several days at the Museum of the Bible! You will be so glad you did! The story of God’s continuing love and relationship with humankind is the most important of all stories… and it’s wonderful to experience it in new ways with rich multimedia as well as a wealth of artifacts from the Bible’s history.
Accelerated change is the forecast for the next decade. From Artificial General Intelligence to digital platforms, emerging technologies are altering the context in which independent schools have traditionally operated. At the same time, we are experience a blurring of boundaries as traditional service providers are disrupted by new entrants. Technology leaders can play a key strategic role in partnering with heads of school to navigate change and seize new opportunities. We’ll examine the trends and call out the possibilities.
How are workforce changes going to affect our educational system
– The Gig Economy
– The Sharing Economy
– cutting out ‘the core institutions’ that used to link us (me: disintermediation)
– Uber, AirBnB
Live tweeting #ATLISac keynote- third educational revolution as continuous can be utopic, not quite there, especially in underprivileged districts. Agree that universities will start to strive for “open loop” approach though
Social and emotional aspects of the value proposition of independent schools will continue to be more important to share with parents
How can we teach students to partner with machines instead of be replaced by machines in regards to AI. We need a better understanding not only of the digital “nuts and bolts” but also the ethics #ATLISac
I agree completely. We've been regularly discussing the march of #AI and it's implications for schools / classrooms on @edtechSR for awhile now. So important to TRY and be proactive on this front… Even though in most cases, we likely will choose to be reactive#ATLISac