JASON OHLER – MLTI KEYNOTE

THIS IS REPOSTED FROM (resource220.com)

Jason Ohler – provided the MLTI Keynote presentation last night, he provided an introduction (from me at least) to Digital Story telling. I have seen the sites and even downloaded some PDF things on Digital Story telling, but I have not taken the time before, to see what it actually is about.
Ohler’s keynote really made me think about what I have missed AND what I could be doing. He started with a couple of stories about two of his teachers that “knew” each student had different ways to learn and show what they had learned. That these teachers used the right keys and opened doors for him to learn or show what he had learned.
He challenged us to think about what we would think as being more important: “gee I wish I had said more at meetings” or “did I open all the doors that I could as a teacher for my students?” As teachers we hold the key to the doors and if we don’t use them to open or unlock the right door for our students – they can’t get in through the door to learn or show what they have learned. Our students do want to be let in we just have to find the right key and the door it fits to bring our students in.
Ohler discussed that our students live 2 lives not 1. The one outside of school and the one where they power down while in most schools. He asked do we want them to live 1 life or 2? “They unplug when they show up to school and then get back on when they leave.” A majority of teachers or schools either do not, are not able or will not interact with these students at this level for whatever the reason.  If we want to stay relevant we have to engage these students, not force them to power down.
No matter how much students can use technology, they will always need us (teachers) to set and maintain standards that they may be too lax with for themselves.
Ohler stated that the baseline to show literacy – was the ability to use words, now literacy can defined as a media collage that includes words. We now only test for the words part of the media collage.  While we are starting to teach pieces and parts of the media collage, we hope that what we teach in the collage covers it covers what will be on the test so our students will show what they learn there as well. It is now part of the Teaching Art (because teaching is an art) to know how to choose which part of the media collage to use (my addition here: and that is very scary to many teachers).
It has gotten to the point that talking about digital/media issues are like talking about sex in the 60’s, it’s just not done in “mixed” company (in this case students or teachers).
When students say “It’s too hard, I’m bored”, they are looking for the story in what we are teaching…how they can relate to what a teacher is teaching when the teacher is just presenting facts and figures.  No matter what subject you teach there is a story that you can use to teach it.
The 80/20 rule, media does not always need to be perfect.  For most people and students the first 20% of time gets 80% of the work done, then the remaining 80% of the time, is used to finish the last 20%.
Teachers have to be “tough” when assessing students digital work, if it doesn’t make sense or isn’t good, it means it doesn’t makes sense or isn’t good enough. Maintain the standards and evaluate all of a student’s work, not just the glitzy technology piece.  Don’t be swayed because a student is able to use technology, is the story a good story?  Good stories lodge in our memory when graphs, etc. may not. Stories without transformation or growth are not memorable and THERE NEEDS TO BE A PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED.
In meetings when a peer has a concern about using technology turn that concern into a goal, all a concern is, is a negatively stated goal.
Overall the Keynote speech by Jason Ohler was one of the better ones that I have listened to. I really liked that he encouraged listeners to Tweet, Blog or whatever while he was speaking. He was sure enough of his ability to engage his audience that people doing other things did not bother him. I tweeted and wrote notes for this blog entry during his presentation, but at the same time I was engaged in what he was presenting and noted that most of the other listeners were as well.
This Keynote piqued my interest in Digital Storytelling enough that I want to learn more. That is al you can ask of a Keynote speech.