Community Stories

I’m often reminded that I have one of the best jobs in the world. Getting to work with districts around the world, I continue to value and appreciate the high quality of people who have dedicated themselves to helping young people. Being able to spend time with these people and hear their stories, encourage them and connect them to others represents a fairly large part of my work. Building and growing community in a variety of ways is pure joy.

Another of the great privileges I have as part of my work at Discovery Education is to pursue my passions. One of those passions is storytelling and videography. Much like my writing and speaking, I recognize I have some ability but also recognize how much I have to learn. Last year I shot and edited 8 videos from educators in Canada, the UK and the US. I had filmed another in April but for a variety of reasons, was not able to get it edited and produced until today.

Zulma Whiteford from Discovery Education on Vimeo.

I continue to be fascinated by stories and how they forge, create and strengthen connections and build community. I hope to share … Read the rest

My Best Work This Year

IMG_1016This was another incredibly satisfying year professionally. My work with Discovery Education continues to evolve and my role as Community Engagement Manager is one where I get to work with so many wonderful people. I spoke to thousands of people in keynotes and workshops. I collaborated with colleagues on many projects and contributed to lots of content online. However this year my best work came in the form of a passion around storytelling.

A few years ago I saw a great series of videos produced for Prudential Insurance called Day One Stories. These were short videos featuring people on their first day of retirement. While that may or may not sound very interesting, they were shot beautifully and told simple but compelling stories.

I immediately considered both how a similar concept could be used within the Discovery Education Community. Having dabbled with video over the years, I relished the opportunity to create something based on these stories. The DEN (Discovery Education Network) began in 2005 so this was our tenth year. We celebrated in various ways and I was given the opportunity to celebrate by creating my own version of the Day One Stories.

Ben Grey, who … Read the rest

What About Snapchat?

Snapchat has been around for years. Educators were quick to file it under “bad social media” as people focused on the ephemeral nature of the tool and essentially thought of as a way for teenagers to share inappropriate images and videos.

I had a conversation a while back with my then 15-year-old about her use of snapchat. She was drawn to it because it enabled private conversations with her friends. I find it ironic that we’ve been telling kids to guard their digital identity and be aware of their privacy and when a tool comes along that supports this, we tell them not to use it. Weird. I get it, images can be screen grabbed and shared without permission, but even snapchat alerts you when this happened. But yes, like all tools, they can be used nefariously. My daughter continued by telling me that in the same way she and her friends talk in her room without adults they want spaces like this online. That doesn’t mean they are doing inappropriate things, but they need ways to share things without adults hovering over them.

A few years ago I found a story format called 5×5. 5 videos, 5 … Read the rest

Those Goofy DENny Awards Videos

IgniteISTE.001

I’ve been a longtime fan of this quote. It’s this premise that gives me permission to try new things. It’s with this quote that I took on the task of promoted the DENny Awards. The DENnys are Discovery Education’s way of recognizing and acknowledge a variety of community members and the great work they’re doing. It’s not an official award so and there’s no voting or lobbying for winners but just a fun way for our team to say thank you to great teachers and leaders in education.

My teammates asked if I could make some videos to get folks attention about the event. Earlier last year I found several apps that allowed you to clone yourself in a photo. I wondered if something like that existed for video. I found Split Lens Pro 2. With it you could place your iPhone or iPad in a stationary position, set the timer and record yourself up to 4 times using a variety of framing options.

It took me a few tries to get all the settings right since I wanted to put them on instagram which meant keeping the videos to under 15 seconds. I recorded the clone part, … Read the rest

An Oscar Type Moment

During any talk or presentation I give I make sure that people can reach out to me to share a story, ask a question and even challenge me. I value the ways in which we don’t need to let a one time presentation but a one time presentation.

Recently, someone shared a great story and I thought I’d pass it along here. It’s a story about gratitude, joy and storytelling, three of my favourite things

I was a PETE&C this year where you were the keynote speaker.  I just wanted to let you know that Joy still exists, at least in my school.

This is one way I used technology in my classroom.  Not a lot of teachers would voluntarily video tape their lesson and post them on YouTube. However the good news is that when Google needed an example of someone teaching a technique for a commercial they were going to air during the Oscars, they scoured the internet and found my classroom.

The following is the email I sent to my friends, and attached is the press release the school sent out.

 As I was watching the Academy Awards last night and was sitting through the long acceptance Read the rest