Friday, June 23, 2006

DEN SE Institute Days 2, 3, 4

I had good intentions to blog about the events at the Discovery Educator's SE Regional Institute in Atlanta this week, but Brad, Danielle and Katherine did a great job of keeping us busy. Even though the days were action packed and over 15 hours each, I not only really enjoyed it but came away with some great ideas and new friends. Here's a few things I learned:

  1. It's ok to be "ish" about some things. Reading us the book, "Ish" by Peter Reynolds was a GREAT icebreaker. The simple story is about Ramon. After his older brother teases him about his artwork, Ramon loses his love for drawing, until his younger sister teaches him an important lesson. She shows him that art does not have to be perfect, and even when a drawing of a vase doesn't look like a vase, it still looks "vase-ish." This book is wonderful for teaching students that not everything needs to be perfect, and that even imperfect things can still be enjoyed. The pressure to turn out a perfect product every time, sometimes causes me to choose my projects too carefully and limit my exposure to trying new things. I learned to loosen up (just a bit).
  2. Digital Storytelling and good teaching is not about platform but creativity and willingness to try new things. It was refreshing to see how well everyone worked together and helped each other out. Everyone was equally enthusiastic about wanting to learn and being willing to share.
  3. Daniel and Jeff should take their show on the road. They are UburGeniuses. Their wealth of knowledge and willingness to share is just amazing. Both are quiet but extremely funny (it's always the quiet ones, you know). Together, they created a digital story project that left us in tears (because we were laughing so hard). What an amazing amount of creativity between the two of them!
  4. There is something called an "unconference" which is a conference where the content of the meeting is driven and created by the participants rather than by a single organizer. I really like this idea as it moves teachers in the same direction we've been trying to move their teaching.
  5. A search for "Coconut MonkeyRocket" turns out some really good music licensed by Creative Commons
Those are just a few things I can think of off the top of my head, but there's so much that I have to process it all. Take a listen to Scott Kinney's podcast about the whole event.

All in all the DEN RI was awesome with great people, great food, and great ideas to share!

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