And Sometimes, It Takes Serious Determination To Be a Digital Teacher
To conquer frustration, one must remain intensely focused on the outcome, not the obstacles.” ― T.F. Hodge, From Within I Rise: Spiritual Triumph Over Death and Conscious Encounters with “The Divine Presence
The past 72 hours have been a test of my patience and a tribute to my determination and belief in resiliency. One of the things I need to do is get a video prepared to share on Digital Learning Day. Now I have used iMovie successfully in the past. I met with my friends Holly and Ruth on Sunday and we recorded the script and planned the movie. I went home to finish up. Well that led to a 2:30 am bed time between Sunday and Monday, an afternoon of recreating the movie several versions, and then an early morning session again with Ruth this morning to create a video clip that was less than two minutes long.
It isn’t that the content is extremely challenging, or there were any unique bells and whistles added to the presentation. The end product is an iMovie, plain and simple. The process however, was anything but simple. I think that’s why some teachers “don’t do tech.” It can be messy and time consuming and frustrating. But it also brings you to places you could never travel on your own.
I was thinking about my journey as a digital teacher. I am in my twenty-fifth year of teaching and I had the original apple computer with the huge floppy disks. I remember the green screen, paper that was perforated and would get tangled in huge printer wheels. And year after year I got more computers, went to labs, used programs, and was a consumer, not a creator of digital media. I am just now stepping into the role of digital creator with my students, and I am definitely a novice.
That’s the thing about the digital world, there are constantly newer and better programs and hardware out there. But the bottom line for me isn’t about the stuff, it’s how to communicate better, inspire people to share their stories as widely as possible without losing that side of being human. I am pretty nervous about speaking and presenting a lesson at Digital Learning Day. I don’t consider myself an expert. I keep asking myself if I truly represent what it means to be a digital learning teacher? I am not a tech expert. My tweets at midnight out into the world asking for help with the movie prove however, that I am a person who knows how to get the help I need. When I was on the 7th or 8th version of the movie, I began watching 3 or 4 Youtube videos on dividing the video from the audio from a video clip. This proves I am determined and resilient, and that search led me to people beyond my immediate circle to come and help.
I guess these past few days remind me that although tech can be painstakingly challenging, in the end it brings you closer to people. My midnight tweet of frustration was answered by someone who I know predominately on line. “I follow them”, and they heard my cry and responded. And when that human contact didn’t solve it, I went to Youtube. Who knew that among the crazy animal videos and musical pieces, there lies a movie on how to do just about anything. I found 4 alternative solutions there to help me in my hour of need.
I’d love to say it all came together on my laptop. But in the end, there was something unexplainable going on with the iMovie program. Ruth our tech teacher finally saved the day by downloading the movie audio into Garageband, saving it to iTunes, and then putting it as a stand alone soundtrack back into iMovie. It was version 11 or 12 this morning before it finally came together. But it did, and I’m happy. Notice it took human interaction with the digital tool to make it come together.
When I was asked to share my journey to Digital Learning Day, I knew there would be days like these. Those times anyone who works with technology wishes for a simple pencil and paper. I could have glossed it over and just turned in the final product. No one would be the wiser. But funny, there is this sense of audience now that I have been blogging my world for a few years. There is this accountability to those who read this to be honest, and so I am. I will post the video in a few days, right now honestly I am sick of hearing my voice, and I am in desperate need to get to the gym since watching myself on video reminds me that time marches on… hmmmm such is life. Thanks to Ruth and Holly for being there through my temper tantrums and stubbornness.
Thanks to my family for just laying low and not asking too many questions until you knew it was finished. Tomorrow I will share the lesson I am presenting in D.C. For now I am going to celebrate finishing that damn movie with some puppy couch time and hanging with my family who have been laying low the past couple days. A piece of history…..