Digital Doors was created as a place for me to blog and share resources that I think would be helpful for teachers integrating technology in meaningful ways in their classroom. My goal would be to write a blog post a week, but with my busy schedule, that doesn't happen. I write when I can and rely on nifty tools to help me share what I am finding when I don't have time to write.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Marco Torres: Focus on the Verbs
Back from a great week of learning and finally finding time to do some much needed reflection and sharing. It is funny how a week can take on a theme even when it wasn't planned that way. The theme of this week was definitely focusing on the verbs, not the nouns. This was a phrase I first heard Marco Torres say on Tuesday during my "Tuesday with Marco" day. I think that for me, it set my focus and kept me on the look out for that theme in conversations, sessions and reading throughout the week. I hadn't originally planned to go to the ITSC conference in Portland, but when I learned that Marco Torres would be presenting on Tuesday and I was planning on being in Portland a day later anyway for NCCE, I jumped at the chance to add a day to my agenda. I am so glad that I did. I have been inspired by Marco Torres' work for years as he has been a great model of teaching, expecting nothing but the best from students that most people would just write off due to their lack of resources and socio-economic conditions. He takes these bright minds and shows them that there is a way to be successful, creative and love what you do. I was most impressed with his assistant Rosa Ruvalcaba. She is a former student of his who has gone on to get a Master's degree and partner with other past graduates to start their own video and web production company. Not only was she very bright and well educated, she has had the opportunities that allow her to make choices to do what she really loves.
The first session I attended was on taking photos to tell amazing stories. One big idea I learned is when taking photos to tell a story, be sure to take Wide/Where shots, Mid/Verb shots and close up/ tight shots that explain and give detail. There is a grammar to photography. These same ideas work with telling a story with video. Torres stressed the importance of leading kids to be metacognative thinking through product and process. We then got in the technical stuff about taking good photos, talking about light, composition, aperture, shutter speed, etc. I just had my little point and shoot with me and it was interesting to spend time exploring the different settings and pushing that little camera to its limits.
Torres rushed from that 3 hour session to a keynote. Again, his keynote did not fail to inspire. His main message was that you are not alone. Working as a team, you can accomplish great things. You can have an idea that you don't know how to execute, but someone does know how to do it. Build your network, find your experts and then create amazing things. You don't have to know everything, just find some one who does. Marco and Rosa demonstrated this by sharing their desktop with Rosa's sister Eli in Los Angeles. Together, the two used their different talents to create and edit a video. Marco says that distance is now measured in bandwidth, not in actual distance. Fear equals being alone. What a great example of the skills we need to be teaching our students to help them prepare for this world of collaboration, collage and creativity. Marco shared that his classroom is called the Community Inspiration Studio. Students are creating and collaborating, before, during and after school and during holidays. Some kids are enrolled in a class with Torres, and others just come to learn and create. They work as a community to create. They also work as a community of students to tell the story of their own neighborhood. Marco relates that Movie Making equals great teachers. Students are involved in both the product and the process.
Torres had so many great ideas and quotes to get us thinking. Again, the theme continues.
"It is not what it is, it is what we do with it."
"The Thing versus the purpose of the Thing. Nouns vs. Verbs."
"If we see the student as recipient, it won't change, if we see the student as producer, it will change."
"It is not just what type of learner are you, but what type of producer are you."
Torres shares what an ideal learning environment includes.
Studio: An environment where you can choose which instrument you want.
Stage: A place to showcase our learning
Community: A way to share.
Wow! What a great way to think about learning environments. Are we providing these types of learning environments for our students. What I love about all of this, is that it is not about film and media, it is not about technology, it is about teaching and learning. Again, not about the nouns, but the verbs.
Learning should be active, not passive. Move from logical to creative, individual to community, functional to meaningful, facts to the story.
And even more Marco! The last session of the day was really laid back as we looked at making learning relevant and applicable. Marco and Rosa showed the process of story boarding, outlining using Inspiration and creating great stories. Again, Torres emphasises the product, not the process. Students have to be aware of the product and the process. What is it that you want to showcase and communicate and then how are you going to showcase and communicate. Good film production is actually good business planning. Good storytelling creates more questions than answers. It's the story not the technology.
Marco shared several fun videos to emphasise points about process. He said that documentaries and public service announcements are a great genre, because you don't have to worry about acting. He also shared that when creating a video, you should think of how others would do it, and then do something else.
What a great and inspiring day of learning and a great way to start my week of focusing on the verbs instead of the nouns.
Here are a few of the video examples Marco shared.
Time to Log Off!
Fun Two Guitar
Here are some great resources shared by Marco Torres.
My rough notes from the day. Pin It Now!