Day of Discovery

BernajeanGreetings from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin! Nearly 90 Discovery Educators, active unitedstreaming users, and Discovery Education employees are all meeting today at The Abbey Resort and Conference Center. This Wisconsin-Illinois “Day of Discovery” is designed to focus on the important elements of the process of creating digital stories, and the keynote address this morning was presented by Bernajean Porter, author of DigiTales. Bernajean spoke about “The Art of Digital Storytelling,” and the importance of telling stories in which the authors reflect on lessons learned and meaningful events in their lives.

Later today, Bernajean Porter will conduct two breakout sessions for those participants who want to learn more about crafting compelling digital stories. Steve Dembo, the DEN Online Community Manager, will also conduct two sessions on educational podcasting.

Since one of the main goals of the Discovery Educator Network is to share experiences and observations with other DEN members, I encourage all of the participants at today’s Day of Discovery to leave a comment below and share at least one idea they learned today or perhaps one story project that they might assign to students in their classes. This sharing can benefit the many DEN members who were not able to join us today.


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  1. Chastity said:

    Thank you so much to Bernajean for all her wonderful expertise. I have learned so much about how to coach my students on their stories.

  2. Rita A. Mortenson said:

    I thought this day was so awesome. It was such as pleasure to meet Bernajean Porter and have her share her expertise. I learned so many great tips and ideas on how to turn my stories and ideas into effective digital stories.

    I am excited to work on my stories and work with students and staff at my school.

    A special thanks to Jan, Dick and all the unitedstreaming folks for coordinating this event.


  3. Jeff Johnson said:

    EXCELLENT conference. Bernajean is always fabulous. Thanks for offering this – please do it again (and often)!

  4. Lori A said:

    Steve’s edupodcasting 101 was so helpful. I always learn something new and he makes everything so easy to follow. Bernajean’s ideas samples and ideas were very helpful too. Hoping to figure out how to manage this all with classroom teachers. Thanks to all.

  5. Keith said:

    Thanks so much for bringing Bernajean to this conference! She really got me thinking more and also reaffirmed many of the things I’m already doing. One great thing she reaffirmed was the “or not” addition when you are conferencing with a student on their work and you make a few suggestions and add “or not” at the end recognizing that this is the student’s work. . . we can’t see the thought process as to why they are saying or doing things this way and it gives them an out to still keep it “their work.” Thanks again for a great day! I can’t wait for the next one. . . when is it again?

  6. Susy said:

    I enjoyed learning about podcasting from the ever-energetic Steve Dembo. He presented realistic information that I can use. Thank you Steve.

  7. Marci Lanois said:

    This conference was wonderful: great place, great people, awesome presentations with marvelous examples. I learned so much about digital storytelling. Thank you for offering such an exciting “free” event.

  8. Wendy Liska said:

    What a wonderful day! Jan spoke of Bernajean touching our soul…More than that she touched our “Motivation”! Our team spent time thinking about how we can go back and implement in our district. We came away energized and ready to try digital storytelling in our schools! Thank you for a wonderful event!

  9. Malena Koplin said:

    Thank you for the great opportunity. I enjoyed learning about how to take photo essays to a storytelling level. I was very inspired by the concept of the unfolding of lessons learned. That part really seems to enhance the story. I also appreciated that reinforcement that the story writing is such an important part of the process.

  10. Rachel Hoffman said:

    Thank you to Bernajean for all of the examples of digital storytelling that she shared with the group! She clarified the differences between photo essays, digital stories, and digital storytelling for me today. Steve also did an excellent job! I realized that I have all the materials I need to create podcasts and am looking forward to creating some awesome podcasts. I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned with my teaching team and my 7th grade students!

  11. Marjorie Siuta said:

    Friday was definitely a day of discovery for me! So many great ideas and tips to share with teachers about digital storytelling and podcasting.

  12. Pat Hawkenson said:

    I just received an email from my principal commenting on the addition of pod casting to my language web page! He seemed excited about the fun this would add to my 6th graders language class experience. Thanks to the info shared by the DEN in making my classroom come alive!

  13. Melinda Allen said:

    Thanks for the GREAT conference. Bernajean was wonderful! I came home with so many great ideas that I’m anxious to try with the kids at school. Thanks for providing us with a day filled with totally usable information.

  14. Amy Hinrichs said:

    Picked up some wonderful ideas to try in conferencing with students. Not taking the story in paper form from the student is a shocking idea for a Language Arts teacher. The story IS theirs and remains theirs through revisions (or not). It is a powerful technique to ask questions before having the student read their story aloud and to listen for what they ask you to listen for. Stories are all “good” and can be great with coaching in a supportive atmosphere. Thanks for a great day.

  15. Sue Baez said:

    the conference was fabulous, the site was gorgeous! lake geneva in the fall, there is nothing like it. thanks for the inspiration from Bernajean, teaching from the heart is the only way to go. and podcasting, WOW! i can’t wait to start that wave at my junior high! Yay for Steve the Geek Meister!

  16. cathy said:

    Thanks to everyone for the wonderful day. Steve’s sessions on Podcasting really encouraged me to jump right in and get busy. I know it was alot of work to set all this up and it was appreciated.

  17. Erica Roberts said:

    Bernajean was so knowledgeable! I bought a copy of her book and instead of waiting until I got home to read it, I brought it with me to my “girls’ weekend away” on the other side of the lake and read it while I was sitting next to the pool. She definitely gave me some goals for my students and my district!
    Thanks for the oppportunity to hear her.

  18. Gail Soriano said:

    Thanks for the wonderful opportunity! I am now ready to get my school up and podcasting! Steve gave great suggestions for podcasting use. I love the idea of a StudyCast, as well as newsletter type podcasts. Podcasting can be a powerful learning tool. Many thanks!

  19. Jeri said:

    I’m excited to use podcasting in our school. There are still a few things I’m not sure of, but I feel comfortable contacting Steve Dembo for any help. Thanks for a great day.

  20. Laura L. Brown said:

    I found the conference encouraging.It is wonderful to have a chance to learn from other teachers and share experiences. Bernajean’s reminder that the story must be primary and the technology secondary helped me to refocus some of the things I am doing in my classroom. Her samples show what’s possible when students work more on the writing of the story. The technology can help to tell a great story, but no amount of technology can turn a poor story into a great finished product.Her model of a student conference was also a great help to me. I have a “template” to use with my own students. Thanks! Please do this again.

  21. Karie Huttner said:

    Mrs. Porter was excellent. I purchased her book Digitales and it really provides even more insight into why and how to use digital storytelling.

  22. Crystal Nelson said:

    Wonderful conference. Mrs. Porter stessed that digital stories need to have a lesson. I enjoyed the chance to see other DEN members again.

  23. Joe Brennan said:

    I liked Bernajean’s quick way to gauge (and self-guage) the quality and depth of a story. Ask yourself if the student’s work is “decorating, illustrating or illuminating” the subject matter. And along those same lines, is the voice “simply reading, reciting or performing the text?” And, yes, it was a wonderful day and location! Went right along with the quality of the program and the people in attendance.

  24. Beth Clarke said:

    Fabulous Day of Discovery in Fontana! I loved how Bernajean stepped out the Digital Storytelling process. I really feel fortunate to be apart of the DEN, where educators learn and share together for the success of students! Thank you so much for a great day of discovery!

  25. Ann Meyer said:

    The entire day was awesome and so very relevant for current projects. I am working with a group of 8th grade students on doing a documentary type production in respone to issues at our school. I hope to help them think deeper about concerns rather than the flip answer so prevalent with this age group. digital storytelling here we come.
    I am also experimenting with using the podcast medium as a way to get some professional development ideas to my staff. I have 5 published at this point, but with Steve’s hints and help, the quality shall improve. I will be in touch with Steve for answers to a couple of questions that are bothering me.
    Thank you for this day of opportunities.

  26. Charlene Chausis said:

    Terrific Discovery Day for all who attended! I have followed Bernajean’s work for years, and having the opportunity to meet her “in person” was such a treat! I learned to approach Digital Storytelling from a new angle — telling a story from the heart, rather than the head. I also appreciated her rubric ideas for assessing student work based on “craftsmanship, decorating, illustrating, or illuminating.” My ah-hah moment was learning about the incredibly easy tools for edu-podcasting from…. thanks Steve!!

    Thanks too to the Discovery Education team for providing this day! I appreciate the opportunity to reconnect with colleagues from Wisconsin (“shout out” to Jan, Rita, Jeff, Keith!!) and also those I met during the summer workshop in Chicago! It was also great to meet Brad Fountain, broadcaster of the DEN podcasts!! Be sure you subscribe… Brad will be posting an interview with Bernajean soon! To subscribe via iTunes search for Discovery Educator Network and select the Discovery Educator Network Podcast. By clicking subscribe each future podcast will be automatically downloaded the next time you open iTunes. Thanks again!!

  27. Helen L said:

    Bernajean’s energy and enthusiasm made the day just fly by. What’s your “lesson learned” gave me the link that was missing in getting students to develop their stories. The coaching of a story also provided a hands on experience that will be used in our digital story classes. I am so pumped up and ready to try everything in Bernajean’s book. Thanks for the hands on opportunity and keep these sessions going.

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