Wednesday, October 29, 2014

On our way!: My Digital Storytelling Residency with the Palm Springs Unified School District.

Summer professional development season at PSUSD has ended and the school year has started. It was a particularly eventful summer for the DIGICOM family with two major events serving over 120 teachers. 

The summer season ended with the return of Bernajean Porter who delivered a four-day Digital Storytelling intensive workshop and I was honored to work with the District's best and brightest at the Common Core Conference.
What an amazing week of learning and imagination! The teachers I met were an inspiring group of educators and I'm looking forward to hearing more of their stories.This coming school year will be the beginning of DIGICOM's new outreach to PSUSD; the Artist in Residency Program and I'm proud to begin working with district schools, teachers and students alongside Ms. Bernajean Porter.  I think there is no more appropriate example of the promise of what we began this week than this video, a storyboard animatic produced by Ms Trinidad Rios from Palm Spring High School during my workshop at the Common Core Conference. Her rough draft of a story she's developing on artist Salvador Dali' is enchanting!

"My Story is About...." from DIGICOM Productions on Vimeo.

I'm looking forward to a magical year with PSUSD and DIGICOM as we strive to inspire understanding of how to tell compelling stories inside curriculum. If you were at a DIGICOM Learning Institute sponsored PD workshop this Summer, tell us about your experience at

So far after only 2 weeks visiting and coaching students and educators, I'm seeing some amazing things.

  • Matt Riley the Science-Engineering teacher at Cathedral City High School (CCHS)  is preparing to produce a documentary about his class' construction of a solar boat set to compete in the Inland Empire Solar Challenge next year.

  • As part of her unit on George Orwell's 1984 and the modern surveillance state, English teacher Nancy Blair from the CCHS DATA Academy has already storyboarded an example video for her students on how texting language has some of the same dangers to critical thinking that NewsSpeak did in the novel.
  • Mario Cruz' 6th period art class have already used their iPads to begin learning shooting and composition basics ahead of a new project that will incorporate video and green screen effects to bring their art and personal statements to life!
  • Seasoned and accomplished district video teachers like Tom Buck at Cathedral City and Jamie O'Neil at Desert Hot Springs are imagining new ways to enhance their students' learning experiences and new after-school movie clubs are beginning to form at Ramon Alternative & Rancho Mirage High Schools.
Given DIGICOM's theme this year is "On Our Way" then by the looks of things, I'd say we are off to a great start!
After an unprecedented, record breaking and very exciting summer of professional development workshops where DIGICOM delivered multi-faceting training to approximately 120 Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD) teachers reaching over 4,55​0 student​s​​, the real work for​ the DIGICOM Artists-in-Residence program ​began this month.  With critical post-workshop ​follow-up, this year ​DIGICOM teachers are being assisted with ​in-class student support as we all learn to incorporate the new digital literacies into the Common Core and Digital Arts curriculum. ​
As one of the DIGICOM Artists-in-Residence, it was a very busy first week​ for me. I reunited with enthusiastic learners I met over the summer, getting to know some of their students and meeting some wonderfully supportive administrators on-site and in the district office.  It hit me this week how much I am enjoying this opportunity to be able to actually provide follow-up support after training.  This is a luxury I am not usually given.  Being able to help make the goals set in the initial workshop a reality is a special gift.  Thanks to DIGICOM and PSUSD for making this opportunity possilbe and for making me feel so welcome! This is for real folks; we're "On Our Way!​"
Watch this space for more about my year in Palm Springs and DIGICOM....

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Frank, I am so excited to hear what you are doing with DST in PUSD. No better teacher than you to help them "On Their Way"!