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).
Originally a communications major, BridgetÂ Floyd worked asÂ a DJ for the local radio station in Morehead, NC.Â 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.Â To inspire.Â Bridget wanted to teach.Â So,Â 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 andÂ even has her own family within the CFCC family.Â Her hubby is Justin Floyd, the talented graphic designer.Â [side note: the story of how these two became one. wicked cute. ask them.]
It quickly becomesÂ clear on your first encounter with Bridget that she has an inner strength and passion for life that most can only hope for.
Tech-NO-logy.Â The technology-infused-instruction spectrum is vastÂ that is for sure.Â On one end you have the “I just–I am justÂ NOTÂ good atÂ technology” attitude toÂ Jimmy Fallon’s Â SNL character Nick Burns: The ComputerÂ Guy. Â Â Watch it.
Yes.Â As quick as technology advances, it becomes outdated.Â Â WeÂ begin to convince ourselves and others that it’s a waste of precious instructionalÂ time to learn the “newest” thing.Â Â Soon it willÂ become just another useless object sitting in the corner ofÂ a classroom, right?Â Â Bridget was brutally honestÂ Â in her write up Reigniting Creative Passion Through Technology when sheÂ 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.Â Bridget felt a need to try something different.Â She signed up for a 60 minute Digital Storytelling Workshop.Â
The crux of the Digital Storytelling workshop was to introduce the participants toÂ the wonderful world of Animoto. This is a lovely place where anyone can create a professional looking slide show simplyÂ by: uploading images, writing 32 or less characters of text, selecting a song, and clicking the ‘Finalize” button.Â Animoto does the production work for you somewhere off in cyberspace and sends you a confirmationÂ email when they’re done.
During the workshop, the participants were askedÂ come up with their own definition ofÂ ‘digital storytelling’ using Animoto as their medium.Â But, Bridget didn’t stop there, she went home that nightÂ and created an Animoto of the English Department’sÂ Welcoming of Spring Celebration. She sharedÂ it with her fellow faculty.Â AndÂ we have lift off.Â Â
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.Â Bridget said that the fast-paced movementÂ and musicÂ inÂ the Animotos haveÂ herÂ Developmental English students begging for more.Â
Bridget also worked withÂ Margo Williams toÂ introduce Animoto toÂ studentsÂ asÂ an option for using itÂ with their creative writingÂ Â projects. When Bridget’s students read The Color of Water novel this fall,Â she has plans to strengthen students critical thinking skills by converting ‘images to text’.Â And how will they doÂ this? You guessed it, Animoto.
Â Can you hear me Major Tom?
Bridget Floyd not only reignitedÂ the spark of passion within herself but me as well.Â While she was at home that nightÂ creating a beautiful slide show of her faculty comrades, I was atÂ homeÂ daydreaming ofÂ co-teaching aÂ free Digital StorytellingÂ WorkshopÂ to the community. ImagineÂ 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.