Verona Educators Spin Digital Tales

Have you ever spent a day with a group of educators who inspire and energize each other so much that you want to capture the energy and take it with you? I have!


It was an honor to spend March 23  with teams of educators from the Verona Area School District.   Twenty educators and support team members came together to share their skills,  digital storytelling ideas, creative talents, and to support one another in their ultimate goal of developing a powerful story to share with their students! 

Cimg1836Frank Devereaux, 6th Grade Teacher –Savanna Oaks Middle School, works hard to find just the right unitedstreaming video clip for his digital storytelling project.  This former pilot has found his niche as a beloved Verona MS teacher and Wisconsin DEN member. Frank has been sharing amazing projects such as his very cool plate tectonics slide show which will soon be uploaded to the DEN site in the Educator Resources area.

These exceptional Wisconsin DEN educatorsCimg1837 and colleagues are developing amazing stories relating in almost every imaginable curriculum area… from Tong Xiong’s story about the Peaceful Nation of Laos and the impact of the Vietnam War to Patty Werner’s powerful language development project using unitedstreaming clips and multi-lingual word and phrase building skills for language learners. Deb Donley, Educational Technology Coach (ETC) and her colleague, Nancy, share thoughts on a project under development.  

Cimg1841Technology Director, Betty Wottreng, assists Patty Werner while Tong Xiong explores MovieMaker’s sound tools.

Kurt Knueve’s wildlife ecology project will be told through the eyes of a wild animal while Deb Breunig’s Chinese folklore study of the ancient poem, Mulan… will incorporate authentic narration and interpretive imagery. 

Here Kurt and Bill Lemberg (DEN member and ETC) work on some ideas for Kurt’s imaginative project.

The power of global collaborations and students sharing their culture and day-to-day life at New Century School with students at the American School in Valencia, Spain provides the setting for Larry Gundlach and Tyler Rivera.  Cimg1835

Paula Wick hard at work on her digital storytelling project.

Creativity is alive and well in Verona! Everyone was ready to dig in and work on their projects in iMovie, MovieMaker, or PowerPoint.  Prior to our day’s workshop the Verona ETC’s helped guide their colleagues in the pre-production tasks.  Each educator identified their project goals, gathered raw assets (images, unitedstreaming video clips, their own video clips, and sounds, music, artifacts to scan, etc.) and came prepared to learn more about Digital Storytelling and develop their stories through a full afternoon of hands-on time.

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Successful Digital Storytelling workshops require teamwork and Verona’s Technology Director, Betty Wottreng, has provided the visionary leadership needed to support educators. From Karen and Zach, technical support team at Verona High School to each Educational Technology Coach (all Wisconsin DEN members) it is clear that Verona’s educational technology program is uniquely empowering.   Everyone works towards common goals… empowering teachers so that they can, in turn, enrich and empower student learning!

Challenges always arise in digital storytelling workshops… how do we get around issues of dealing with multiple sound tracks when MovieMaker can support onlay a limited number of these tracks?  What tool should we use to convert video files to the needed format?  (Try Rad Tools or Quick Time Pro!)  How should we save our files while working on these video projects if we want to move them to another location?  Do we have fair use rights to utilize a particular video clip found or sound file?    What are the best search engines to find sound files?   

Cimg1847Laura Lindquist. Verona ETC and DEN member, discusses her elementary school’s team challenges with Rita and Sheila Stenseth. Rita (HS ETC) and Sheila are Verona High School educators and DEN Members.

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Betty Wottreng and HS ETC Rita Mortenson (who played a major role in facilitating the workshop- thank you, Rita!!) share thoughts during a break in the action.

We all enjoyed a delicious Panera Bread lunch and time to share stories, our hurdles, and how we manage resolving issues.Cimg1850Cimg1853

It was a day of hard work AND a day that gave these educators a chance to grow their digital storytelling skills and share their successes and the challenges! Congrats to these amazing educators who know the power of sharing and helping each other!


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