“The stars look very different today”

Re ignition

Have you ever experienced the ignition of a spark behind some one’s eyes during instruction or a lecture? I’m not necessarily referring to the classic “aha!” moment. This spark lies deeper, it’s the moment some one’s eyes say to you, “Yes I get it, and not only that, I can’t wait for other people to get it too.”

To bear witness to moments such as this are rare and beautiful. It is infectious and captivating. While conducting a workshop on Digital Storytelling last month, I saw it. I saw the exact moment of the “reigniting of creative passion” as she so delicately worded it herself in a recent write up for the English Department’s newsletter. It was then I knew I had a partner in my Digital Storytelling pursuit (ahem… obsession).

Major Tom

Originally a communications major, Bridget Floyd worked as a DJ for the local radio station in Morehead, NC. But working in the limelight left Bridget with a desire to reach out and do something more for humankind. She wanted to make a difference in people’s lives.  To inspire. Bridget wanted to teach.  So, Bridget headed back to her Alma mater, East Carolina University, to pursue a Masters in Creative Writing.

Bridget Floyd has worked in the English Department for the last seven years and even has her own family within the CFCC family.  Her hubby is Justin Floyd, the talented graphic designer.  [side note: the story of how these two became one. wicked cute. ask them.]

It quickly becomes clear on your first encounter with Bridget that she has an inner strength and passion for life that most can only hope for.

Commencing Countdown

Tech-NO-logy.  The technology-infused-instruction spectrum is vast  that is for sure.  On one end you have the “I just–I am just NOT good at technology” attitude to Jimmy Fallon’s  SNL character Nick Burns: The Computer Guy.   Watch it.

Yes. As quick as technology advances, it becomes outdated.  We begin to convince ourselves and others that it’s a waste of precious instructional time to learn the “newest” thing.  Soon it will become just another useless object sitting in the corner of a classroom, right?  Bridget was brutally honest  in her write up Reigniting Creative Passion Through Technology when she stated, “Our students are the generation devoted to fast paced technology, and some of us, mostly me, are still stuck in the year 2000.”

No. This admission does not make Bridget Floyd an ineffective teacher. Quite the contrary.  Bridget felt a need to try something different.  She signed up for a 60 minute Digital Storytelling Workshop. 

3…2…1…blast off…

The crux of the Digital Storytelling workshop was to introduce the participants to the wonderful world of Animoto. This is a lovely place where anyone can create a professional looking slide show simply by: uploading images, writing 32 or less characters of text, selecting a song, and clicking the ‘Finalize” button.  Animoto does the production work for you somewhere off in cyberspace and sends you a confirmation email when they’re done.

During the workshop, the participants were asked come up with their own definition of  ‘digital storytelling’ using Animoto as their medium.  But, Bridget didn’t stop there, she went home that night and created an Animoto of the English Department’s Welcoming of Spring Celebration. She shared it with her fellow faculty.  And we have lift off.  

Ground control to Major Tom

In less than a month, Bridget has successfully created and implemented two new Animotos on rhetorical modes (check out her one on ‘Argument’ below) and has plans to complete the other three this summer.  Bridget said that the fast-paced movement  and music in the Animotos have her Developmental English students begging for more. 

Bridget also worked with Margo Williams to introduce Animoto to students as an option for using it with their creative writing  projects. When Bridget’s students read The Color of Water novel this fall,  she has plans to strengthen students critical thinking skills by converting ‘images to text’.  And how will they do this? You guessed it, Animoto.

 Can you hear me Major Tom?

Bridget Floyd not only reignited the spark of passion within herself but me as well.  While she was at home that night  creating a beautiful slide show of her faculty comrades, I was at home  daydreaming of co-teaching a free Digital Storytelling Workshop to the community. Imagine the many magnificent life stories our residents could tell if only they had a means…

Thank you Bridget for reminding me of why I became an instructional technologist, and thank you for agreeing to be my Digital Storytelling partner-in-crime. 🙂

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