BJP's Topic Descriptions

Keynotes, Sessions, Webinars, Interactive Hands-on Workshops, Consulting and In-Residence Programs


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New 2017 Topics - Titles and Descriptions Customized as Requested




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  • Sh-h-h It's a Secret ~ Raising a Generation for Greatness
  • Who Owns the Learning? ~ Voices and Choices Accelerates Engagement, Ownership and Results
  • Brains on Stories: The Power and Impact of Narrative StoryTelling in a Digital Age
  • Applied StoryTelling: Curriculum Connections for Power Learning
  • Visual StoryTelling: Craftsmanship and Creativity with Still Images
  • I-imagine™: Waking Up a Generation for their OWN Greatness
  • I-imagine™: Taking MY Place in the World (In-Residence Program ONLY)
  • Brains On Fire! Hearts on Fire! Learning, Thinking and Communicating in a Digital Age
  • Be an Avatar-Teacher Rock Star! Rezzing into Virtual Learning Online and In World
  • Harnessing the Power of Technology: Seeking Higher Ground for Visions and Results
  • Learners as Information Curators: Mastering InfoWhelm Literacies
  • KaPow! Creativity Abounds with Emerging Mediums for Digital Communication
  • Beyond Words: The Art of Zen-ing for Impact and Influence with Presentations
  • Watched Any Good Books Lately? Book Trailers Rock Literacy Skills
  • Learning Comes ALIVE: The Craftsmanship of Docu-drama Storytelling
  • Transmedia Storytelling and Other Mobile APPS: Reading, Writing and Literacy in a Digital Age
  • Lurk-ification: Problem or Opportunity for Engaging Face-to-Face and Virtual Participation
  • MUVE over Face-to-Face: New Virtual Learning and Collaboration Spaces are Here!
  • Creating Collaborative Cultures: Coaching, Nurturing and Empowering Educators Through Change


GENERAL Audience Topics

  • Brains On Fire - Hearts on Fire: Learning, Thinking and Communication in a Digital Age
  • Sh-h-h It’s a Secret: Raising a Generation for Greatness
  • I-imagine™: Waking Up a Generation for their Own Greatness
  • Harvesting the Power of Technology: Seeking Higher Ground for Visions and Results
  • The Answer to How is . . . Yes
  • Change is Good . . . YOU Go First!
  • Project Headware: 21st Century Thinking with 21st Century Tools
  • WARNING! All Technology Uses are NOT Equal
  • Harnessing the Power of Social Networking: Blogs-Wikis-SecondLife-VoiceThreads-Nings and More! O My!
  • Exploring Virtual Worlds for Professional Learning Communities AND Rigorous CourseWork
  • Be an Avatar-Teacher Rock Star! Rezzing into Virtual Learning

CURRICULUM-BASED Topics

  • Who Owns the Learning? Voices and Choices Accelerate Engagement, Ownership and Results
  • Brains On Fire - Hearts on Fire: Learning, Thinking and Communication in a Digital Age
  • Where’s the Beef? Rigor and Relevance in Learning Tasks and Digital Work
  • Learners as Information Curators: Mastering InfoWhelm Literacies
  • Seeking Higher Ground: Moving Learners From Powerpointlessness into Powerful Producers
  • EX-Treme Make-Overs: H.E.A.T.™-ing UP Information Consumption into Powerful Thinking
  • Cheering-leading Cultures of Curiosity, Creativity, Collaboration and Communication
  • IMPACT: Using the Lens of Student Digital Work as a Body of Evidence
  • Students as Meaning-Makers and Media Makers: Communication Skills in a Digital Age

GRAMMAR AND FLUENCY OF MEDIA-MAKING Topics

  • KaPow! Creativity Abounds with Emerging Mediums for Digital Communication
  • Beyond Words: The Craftsmanship of Digital Communication
  • Beyond Words: Becoming Wizards with 21st Century Communication Skills
  • Beyond Words: The Art of Zen-ing the Impact and Influence of Presentations
  • Voila! The Craftsmanship of Engagingly H.O.T. PodCasts
  • ShaZamm! Creating Engagingly H.O.T. Comics and Graphic Novels
  • The Director’s Chair: The Craftsmanship of Docu-Dramas and Documentaries
  • Watched Any Good Books Lately? Book Trailers ROCK Literacy Skills

THE POWER OF STORY Topics

  • Brains on Stories: The Power and Impact of Narrative StoryTelling in a Digital Age
  • DigiTales: The Art and Soul of Telling Digital Stories
  • I-imagine™: Taking MY Place in the World (In-Residence Program ONLY)
  • Learning Comes ALIVE: The Craftsmanship of Docu-drama Storytelling
  • Transmedia Storytelling: Reading, Writing and Trans-Literacies in a Digital Age
  • The Art and Soul of Digital Storytelling: Making Connections Across the Curriculum
  • Teachers as StoryKeepers: Crafting Celebration Stories of Projects and Lessons Learned
  • Visual Storytelling: Craftsmanship and Creativity with Still Images
  • Applied StoryTelling: Curriculum Connections for Power Learning

LEADERSHIP Topics

  • VIP Leadership ~ Vision into Practice or Making "IT" Happen!
  • The Future Has Already Landed ~ A Panoramic View
  • Harnessing the Power of Technology: Seeking Higher Ground for Visions and Results
  • Strategic Conniving: Harvesting Learning Results for ALL Learners
  • Data in a Day: Classroom Walk-throughs Assessing Instructional Uses of Technology
  • Beyond Words: The Art of Zen-ing for Impact and Influence with Presentations
  • Cheering-leading Cultures of Curiosity, Creativity, Collaboration and Communication
  • MUVE over Face-to-Face: New Virtual Learning and Collaboration Spaces are Here!
  • Lurk-ification: Problem or Opportunity for Engaging Face-to-Face and Virtual Participation
  • IQ or EQ: Explore the Neuroscience of Human Success
  • Wagons Ho! Getting EVERYONE into the Land of NEW Possibilities
  • Creating Collaborative Cultures: Coaching, Nurturing and Empowering Educators Through Change


Topic Descriptions*

* Sample agendas provided upon request! MAKE_IT_Happen_3.jpg


• Sh-h-h It’s a Secret: Raising a Generation for Greatness

What are we pretending not to know? Even knowing that the future aches for a new kind of learner, thinker, and problem-solver, all the dollars and time spent on techno gadgets still have changed little more than pockets of classrooms for kids. We need to seek higher ground for our visions and our results. Each generation of young people becomes an investment in the only future we will have - how can we escalate the reshaping of learning NOW!

• Who Owns the Learning? ~ Voices and Choices Accelerates Engagement, Ownership and Results

Perhaps the most important understanding for adults is that students are volunteers, whether we want them to be or not. Their compliance can be insisted on, but their attention, investment, engagement and commitment is under their own control. ~ Schelcty

Here's a BFO [Blinding Flash of the Obvious] - teachers don't drive instruction and learning. Students do! Over and over studies are revealing the same pattern - an estimated 77% of students are disengaged and unmotivated. Compliance learning with standardized "one-size" fits all content, tasks, and assessments, delivers the lowest common denominator of possibility. This loss can be recovered through nurturing a school wide "voices and choices" approach or "learner agency" culture. For educators ready to tap into the power of engagement, ownership and school-wide accelerated results, consider implementing doable strategies that transition teachers from managing learning to unleashing the power of self-managed learning without compromising mastery of essential standards. When we choose for ourselves, we are far more committed to the outcome–by a factor of five to one. ~ Harvard Review. Who doesn't want that!


• I-imagine™: Waking Up a Generation for Their Own Greatness

In life you have two choices. You either create a future for yourself, or adapt to a future created for you by others.~ Larry Quick

Calling all educators to illuminate every learners' sense of identity and purpose through exploring, mining understanding and imagining taking their place in the world. The I-imagine™ project creating 3-4 min vision videos is grounded in new research for inspiring hope, joy and action in learners discovering and activating their own life-goals - living in the truth that their lives and talents matter to the world. Narrative story is one of the oldest and most proven tools for motivating individuals to engage in change, mobilized by inspired hope while activating positive actions NOW. Finding purpose and passion are the hallmarks of a life that matters, a life worth living. They are also the source of joy and happiness. The greatest gift parents and teachers can give their children is to help them discover, nourish and act on this truth NOW. Participants will explore the possibilities, research and process and positive impact when learners create multimedia visions via docudrama stories AS IF their future life is NOW.

• Harvesting the Power of Technology: Seeking Higher Ground for Visions and Results

Technology magnifies and makes visible all that works and all that needs to work better in schools. ~ Bernajean Porter

Technology accelerates something – What is the SOMETHING being targeted in your schools beyond access? Are technology resources organized to deliver high-yielding visible, added-value, worth-the-money and time RESULTS for all learners or . . . NOT! Even knowing that the future aches for a new kind of learner, thinker, and problem-solver, all the dollars and time spent on techno gadgets still have changed little more than pockets of classrooms for kids. After personally leading more than 2300 district technology impact studies, the message is clear ~ it’s not about having the hardware! Participants will leave with strategies for harvesting the highest Return-on-Learning [ROL] uses of technology as pervasive practices delivering benefits for ALL students.

• The Answer to How is . . . Yes

Educators are being bombarded by messages of changing needs of learners along with expectations to increase learning results and accountability. Having only one chance with each child to prepare them for a world none of us can possibly predict – it is time to think of these forces as possibilities NOT compliance. For anything that matters the timing is never quite right, the resources always a little short, and the people less ready than needed to shift gears. Starting with YES affirms commitment and participation in something worthy even when we do not have the mastery or methodology to know HOW to get to where we want to go. It is time for collective invention towards what works using data to guide our way NOT searching for recipe cards. If you have the word ‘yes” written in your heart, you can make almost anything happen! Starting today, our choices make all our students’ chances. Are you ready?

• Change is Good . . . YOU Go First!

The fast pace of change is disturbing to many people. But it has become a pervasive aspect of our lives and almost a necessity for economic survival. Having only one chance with each child to prepare them for a world none of us can possibly predict – it is time to think of these forces as possibilities NOT compliance. For anything that matters the timing is never quite right, the resources always a little short, and the people less ready than needed to shift gears. Enjoy a whimsical look at simple but effective strategies to build personal and professional “change hardiness” in dealing with technology’s perturbations in schools. It is possible for EVERYONE to buy into change and thrive happily ever after.

• Project Headware: 21st Century Thinking with 21st Century Tools

Technology accelerates something! What is the SOMETHING being targeted in your schools? It takes more than purchase orders like 1:1 or white board technology initiatives to delivery specific results for ALL learners! Enjoy a whimsical look at simple but effective strategies that focus technology’s possibilities towards shifting schools into extra H.O.T. 21st Century practices that will power up your learners' future today.

• WARNING! All Technology Uses are NOT Equal

Technology accelerates something – What is the SOMETHING being targeted in your schools beyond access? Are technology resources organized to deliver high-yielding visible, added-value, worth-the-money and time RESULTS for all learners or . . . NOT! Even knowing that the future aches for a new kind of learner, thinker, and problem-solver, all the dollars and time spent on techno gadgets still have changed little more than pockets of classrooms for kids. After personally leading more than 2300 district technology impact studies, the message is clear ~ it’s not about having the hardware! Let’s turn up the H.E.A.T.™ for rigor and relevance while seeking higher ground for our visions and results in every learning environment! Participants will walk away with tools to evaluate learning three categories of technology uses (L-A-T)
for shaping goals, staff development, curriculum uses, and focusing student achievement on PERVASIVE Return-On-Learning (ROL).

• Harnessing the Power of Social Networking: Blogs-Wikis-SecondLife-VoiceThreads and More! O My!*

Print and T.V. are so-o-o last century! How often are you blogging, You Tube-ing, chatting online, tweeting, Flickr-ing, IM-ing, VoiceThreading, webbing or authoring wikis? Can YOU send images, voice or video from your phone to email, blogs, websites, or other phones? New things are scary - we are unsure whether to embrace it or put up emergency defenses. An explosion of social networking (SN) tasks is now so deeply embedded in the lifestyles of tweens and teens that it rivals television for their attention. Seventy-one percent say they use social networking tools at least weekly. Who are these learners and what are they really doing? Do we really need to urgently lock down all uses to protect students? Is raising them in captivity going to serve them well overtime? Or can educators engage SN tools as powerful learning tools that accelerate community, collaboration and communication? Participants will be introduced to research, vocabulary, curriculum (OR professional) uses of SN tools in schools, policy initiatives while navigating safety for everyone! * Perspectives and examples will be customized for learners OR educators – your choice!

• Exploring Virtual Worlds for Professional Learning Communities and Rigorous CourseWork

According to Gartner Inc., by the end of 2012, 80 percent of active Internet users (and Fortune 500 enterprises) will have an avatar in at least one virtual world platform. Consider creating a cost-effective, innovative and fearlessly engaging opportunity for real-time meetings, collaboration tasks and participation in rigorous coursework using 3-D immersive worlds with educators. Unlike most online text-heavy courses, immersive worlds are sensory-rich learning landscapes providing both synchronous learning (interactive and real-time) as well on-your-own asynchronous learning (any time any where). 3D virtual environments are also being found to increase participation and improve content retention. How can virtual worlds be a viable teaching and learning environment for adults? Participants will explore new horizons that let educators and administrators leverage their own benefits of learning in a virtual world as well as preparing them to assist learners using today’s educational frontiers.

• Be an Avatar-Teacher Rock Star! Rezzing into Virtual Learning

Are virtual worlds a viable teaching and learning environment? How do you ensure that the new spaces in Second Life are used for innovative practices that establish new learning cultures rather than decorating the status quo? Second Life can increase the speed of creating learning spaces where you and your students can break out-of-the-box called school to foster creativity and experiences that would be prohibitively expensive or difficult in real life. Collect experiences, tools, ideas and strategies that will warp the past traditional online learning into mind-twizzling successes with students.

Curriculum-based Topics


• Brains on Fire ~ Hearts on Fire! Learning, Thinking and Communicating in a Digital Age

Perhaps the most important understanding for adults is that students are volunteers, whether we want them to be or not. Their attendance can be commanded, but their attention must be earned. Their compliance can be insisted on, but their commitment is under their own control. ~ Schelcty

Going to school is not the same as getting an education or becoming a fearless, joyful lover of learning. Students are volunteers–educators may be able to muster general compliance but a learner’s attention and commitment has always been under their own control. Igniting a passion for learning cannot be done without engaging students as active partners in meeting academic challenges inspired by personalized choices [agency] that deliver rigorous and relevant experiences. Explore “Turning UP the H.E.A.T.™” (Higher Order Thinking - Engaged Learners - Authentic Tasks and added-value Technology Uses) as high-yielding instructional strategies for growing individualized cultures of curiosity, thinking and mastery of curriculum. Participants will leave inspired to incorporate H.E.A.T.™ strategies, harnessing technology’s capacity for unleashing every student's inner fire for owning learning, thinking, and communicating in a digital age.


• Where’s the Beef? Rigor and Relevance in Student Learning Tasks and Digital Work

Effective communication skills start with an author’s capacity to develop content that is worthy of sharing first! Since “Where’s the Beef?” expression was first used in 1984 as a Wendy’s advertising slogan, it has become an all-purpose phrase questioning the substance of an idea, event, or product. So when reflecting on learning tasks or products using technology in your classrooms or seeing student digital work created with technology tools at websites or conferences, let’s start peering past the technology glitz and begin asking questions about rigor. Does the content have substance worth sharing? Are your students’ digital products demonstrating what they know and deeply understand about the topic or standards beyond existing facts? Or are their digital products primarily demonstrating the exploration and acquisition of technology skills? Let’s activate RIGOROUS content first with students as meaning makers before being media makers!


• Learners as Information Curators: Mastering InfoWhelm Literacies

Getting information off the internet is like drinking from a fire hydrant hose. ~ Anonymous

A growing ocean of facts, opinions and ideas in all formats introduces students to more information than previously conveyed by teachers and textbooks. Not all information is equal. With 77% of students taking the ICT test not being able to identify credible, reliable sources, it is mission critical for all citizens to be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to use curation literacies, tools and processes to locate, verify, capture, and annotate while effectively using and socializing information to communicate with others. Curation requires the ability to organize, categorize, tag and know how to make the content available to others while managing it for effective communication. “Quality” curation takes higher level thinking skills. Just like a museum curator cannot include every piece of art created this has criteria for filtering most valuable, an information curator continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the BEST and most RELEVANT content on a specific issue. Let's prepare our students and ourselves to be high-yielding, credible meaning-makers with well-rehearsed skills and tools for separating "art" from junk online.


• Seeking Higher Ground: Moving Students From Powerpointlessness into Powerful Producers

Building and communicating understanding isn’t improved by using the infamous bells and whistle features in products like PowerPoint but by structuring our lessons to engage students in rigorous thinking that builds deeper understanding of core curriculum concepts. Participants will experience the journey of moving students from plagiarism and factually driven presentations that regurgitate information to communicating powerfully about new understandings as meaning makers and media makers.


EX-Treme Make-Overs: H.E.A.T.™-ing Up Information Consumption into Powerful Thinking

Let's take traditional lesson ideas to higher ground delivering engagingly H.O.T. student tasks, products and increased learning results. Move from topical to inquiry-based research; create reasoning-thinking questions that power up tasks; and coach students from information consumers to knowledge producers, expect meaning-making beyond existing information and delivering digital products useful and beneficial to others. The goal is not to use technology but to rehearse the talents and skills needed to be meaning-makers FIRST and then media-makers. Using high-yielding instructional strategies called H.E.A.T.™, come play a modern day “Extreme MakeOver" game developing engagingly HOT HOT HOT technology uses with kids as the winners!


• Nourishing Cultures of Curiosity, Creativity, Collaboration and Communication

Boredom for kids (and maybe adults) in our schools has reached pandemic proportions. Participants will take away strategies for cheer-leading joyful AND twenty-first century fearless learners. By using the timeless technology of questions, nurturing curiosity with meaningful complex tasks, and shifing to student-driven inquiry tasks, educators will harness the mastery of BOTH basic skills and higher-order thinking capacities thereby altering the neural networks of learners. Challenging tasks are better for brains than easy ones. Interaction with others creates more brain power than isolation. Enriched and challenging environments produce more neural connections, while boring and sterile ones cause these connections to whither and die. (Diamond & Hobson, 1998) IQ Scores can be increased with lasting effects when learners are engaged with mentally stimulating tasks, creating not only better dendrites but NEW cells – human neurogenesis is possible! (Erickson et al 1998)


• IMPACT: Using the Lens of Student Digital Work as a Body of Evidence

The day of the written word as the sole communication style is long gone as students use a variety of media to express their deep understanding of topics across the curriculum. Like assessing student writing, using student digital products is a natural vehicle for measuring a student's ability to communicate what was learned in effective ways that benefit others as well. So many initiatives begin with teaching technology skills with an assumption that the art of designing value-added lessons for higher order thinking and communication will naturally follow. Using the lens of student work focuses teachers on reflecting and developing rigorous content tasks FIRST while developing skills in using research-based assessment tools for scoring digital products. Experience data-driven, rigorous results for large grants or other school initiatives when student digital products are used as tangible artifacts and evidence of successes. These digital products provide a wealth of instructional evidence documenting individual learning skills as well as developing a system analysis of the impact of technology on student achievement, organizing staff development and accelerating school-wide goals.


• Students as Meaning-Makers and Media-Makers: Communication Skills in a Digital Age


It's not about making digital products but rehearsing influence and impact power. Using digital products as tangible artifacts and metrics for success provides a wealth of instructional evidence documenting individual skill mastery useful for learning portfolios - as well as developing a system analysis of the impact of technology on student achievement, organizing staff development and accelerating school-wide goals. A set of research-based, field-tested scoring guides for digital products will be introduced and practiced along with processes documented to deliver quality student work. Having these skills, educators begin building capacity for designing and elevating more rigorous student uses of technology resources. Like assessing student writing, using student digital products is a natural, visible vehicle for measuring a student's ability to communicate what was learned in effective ways that benefit others as well. Seeing achievement through the lens of student work is informative, eye-opening, and fun!


• KaPow! Creativity Abounds with Emerging Mediums for Digital Communication

Today we are beginning to notice that the new medias are not just mechanical gimmicks for creating worlds of illusion, but new languages [Trans-literacies] with new and unique powers of expression. ~ Marshall McLuhan

Literacy in an information age can no longer be limited to JUST text-based communication. While words are considered an important foundation literacy, learners will find themselves handicapped in this digital age if text-based communication is the sole “mode” mastered to represent and express their thinking and ideas. How literate can students really be if they only know ONE medium of communication? Just because one becomes digital literate does not mean they have ecome "transliterate." Every medium has a grammar and a fluency requiring rehearsal and mastery ~ it’s not JUST about learning the technical tools! In spite of the breadth and dazzle of new media technologies, media-making should always be in higher service of a higher goal: learning, thinking and communicating ~ rehearsing and mastering “the science of attention” to persuade, motivate, inform, excite and incite others to engage in life together. Explore the myriad of creativity using emerging mediums that will grow impact and influence power with digital communication.


• Beyond Words: The Craftsmanship of Digital Communication

When a digital story is finished it should be remembered for its soul, not the bells and whistles of the technology tools. (Bernajean Porter, 2004)
There is increasing urgency today to develop communication skills that translate raw information into valuable knowledge for ourselves as well as others. Using dynamic multi-media tools that enable new forms of communication beyond words are calling for new literacies. The new communication is less about mastering technical skills than about being able to design information by artfully using sound, images, transitions and special effects in ways that dance ideas together into illuminated understandings.

• Beyond Words: Becoming Wizards with 21st Century Communication Skills

Urgent! Human beings needed with effective communication skills in order to translate inert, raw information into valuable knowledge useful and beneficial to others. No paper allowed!
For learners to be effective communicators in the 21st century, sophisticated skills in expressing ideas with multiple communication technologies will be needed. Even though writing skills still form a crucial foundation in developing digital media, printed text has lost its monopoly to multimedia in the information age. So how do paper-trained educators transform themselves into wizards at organizing and coaching content-based, learner digital products that grab attention, mesmerize audiences with engagingly, rigorous content and purposefully impacts others long after? Using any of the dynamic media tools enabling new forms of communication beyond words will require practicing new literacies that master the grammar of reading/writing of images and sound as well as crafting information for impact. Building and communicating understanding isn’t improved by using the fancy, infamous bells and whistle features in myopic tools like PowerPoint. The new communication needs are less about mastering technical skills of technology than about being able to design information by artfully using sound, images, transitions and special effects in ways that dance ideas together into illuminated understandings.


• Beyond Words: The Art of Zen-ing for Impact and Influence with Presentations

Urgent! Human beings needed with effective communication skills in order to translate inert, raw information into valuable knowledge useful and beneficial to others. No paper allowed!

What would be your presentation's influence ratings using the new science of measuring "attention power" via neuromarketing research? How are you doing with reaching and influencing critical audiences using slide presentations? New communication literacies are less about mastering technical skills of digital tools than about being able to artfully design information in ways that increase engagement and "sticking" power of content along with ensuring high impact on audiences living with a saturated world of information. Research shows "You've got seconds to grab someone's attention and only 10 minutes to keep it." Audience boredom, disconnects or mis-understandings usually stems from a failure with content and delivery designs, not the lack of skill with the digital tool itself. Every medium has its own grammar and fluency aka craftsmanship needing mastery in order to tap into the full communication power of that medium. As a focused example for understanding the craftsmanship of communication, participants will practice three basic rules-of-thumb for designing slide presentations with influence power. Concepts adapted from Presentation of Zen by Garr Reynolds. The grammar/fluency for memorable, high impact presentations will transform personal communication skills, yielding higher "attention power" and gaining more results that matter.


• Voila! The Craftsmanship of Engagingly H.O.T. PodCasts

Become wizards at organizing and coaching content-based, learner created podcasts that grab attention, mesmerize audiences with engagingly H.O.T. content, and then make them very, very sorry that it ended. Enjoy learning the principals, grammar and fluency of the medium of podcasting. Participants will experience designing rigorous content and hands-on practicing high-performance voice recordings with sound and image mixing. Assessment tools for digital products provided.


• ShaZamm! Creating Engagingly H.O.T. Comics and Graphic Novels

Take a fun-packed walk through the land of comics and graphic novels as learning tools! Discover how they communicate in-depth understandings across content areas for all ages through the artful use of text and images. Enjoy learning the principals, grammar and fluency of visual storytelling via comics and graphic novels. Participants will experience designing rigorous, standards-based tasks and exploring hands-on use of Comic Life software. Assessment tools for digital work provided.


• The Director’s Chair: The Craftsmanship of Docu-Dramas and Documentaries

Let’s make nonfiction that is more thrilling than fiction. Let’s use the best of what fiction has to offer and make it more exciting because what happened was real. - Ellen Windemuth from Off the Fence

Prepare to know the difference! Creative invention develops short stories, expressing just the facts provides for summary reports while the creative arranging of actual facts, authentic images, interviews, art and music of the times along with other archival media elements develops documentaries and docudramas. While documentaries and docudramas are certainly different types of communication, they are still both considered to come from in-depth, non-fictional research expressing life, events, or issues NOT imagination. Participants will explore the art of designing learning tasks across-the- curriculum, organizing the tools and processes along with coaching learner mastery of these two dynamic types of communication. Assessment tools for student work provided.


• Watched Any Good Books Lately? Book Trailers ROCK Literacy Skills


Books are the compasses and telescopes and sextants and charts which others have prepared to help us navigate the ever-changing, great sea of time.~Jesse Lee Bennett

Book trailers are NOT book reports. Similar to movie trailers, video book trailers are short, minute and a half to two-minute videos that introduce the basic storyline that arouses audiences' interest to read THAT book. Consider starting your own book club theater this year! Engage learners in the artful video advertisement or PSA of a book with techniques and creative decisions being made by the director that tells enough to interest but not to spoil the plot. Merging the traditional word-based literacy skills with digital tools that focuses on demonstrating deep understanding of books makes for engaging adventures with learners. Participants will explore other "NOT-a-Book-Report" ideas; discover a myriad of communication modes; learn digital tools; access resources and leave understanding media-making processes while making their OWN book trailer!


The Power of Story Topics


Brains on Stories: The Science and Impact of Narrative StoryTelling in a Digital Age

"The idea of combining data, emotion and empathy as part of a narrative is something every leader and organization has to internalize. If they don’t, they will find themselves on the wrong side of history.” ~ Om Malik

In a world where organizations and individuals are suffering from information overload and multiple demands on their attention, the art of narrative [digital] storytelling is a powerful competency that we can not afford to ignore. With the endless stream of facts, there is a yearning for intelligence PLUS meaning, context, and emotional understanding of the multitude of factoids. The more people are buried in the mind-numbing avalanche of today’s information, the greater the importance of stories in making sense of the endless pieces of data. Science backs up the long held belief that storytelling is the most enduring, powerful means for learning and communicating in our fast-learning, fast-changing world.

Brains-on-stories presents a science-based understanding of the power in narrative intelligence achieving practical outcomes for business as well as schools that accelerates learning, thinking, decision making, the influencing of others as well as igniting action and “sticki” communication. Stories shape us – shape our world, our thinking, our way of life and our possibilities. Preparing our youth to activate and master the art of [digital] storytelling for “good in the world” is an urgent mission calling ALL educators in ANY content and grade area to ensure our youth will have a communication “edge" in a VERY competitive world.


• DigiTales: The Art of Digital Storytelling

After a story is finished, it should be remembered for its soul, not the bells and whistles of technology. Bernajean Porter, DigiTales: The Art of Telling Digital Stories.

Gather round the campfires as the ancient art of storytelling is being revived into an emerging communication mode called digital storytelling! Stories are as old as humans and more important than ever for our minds, spirits and human progress. Telling stories together about things that really matter has an extraordinary effect on people even more so when their digital storytelling is distributed quite literally to a world community through the World Wide Web. What an experience to guide a new generation into becoming 21st Century StoryKeepers™ knowing their personal narratives will endure for others long after the fires die down! By telling thoughtful stories, we clarify our own thinking, experiences and understandings in order to share it with others. Digital Storytelling has become a vehicle for mastering multiple 21st century skills considered essential for the modern workplace. Participants will be introduced to the joy, processes, elements of good storytelling, and technical tools, along with viewing memorable examples from kids of all ages creating digital storytelling of bringing together voice, graphics, animation, and sound in artful ways.


• Applied StoryTelling ~ Curriculum Connections for Power Learning

Storytelling has never been JUST a literature skill – it can be acquired, mastered and applied as an enduring, art form useful across the curriculum. Applied storytelling [fiction and non-diction] achieves practical outcomes including making sense and meaning out of facts; increasing the depth and speed of learning; synthesizing complex concepts; clarifying our thinking; enhancing the “sticking power” of new concepts; influencing others; igniting action; inspiring understanding of ourselves and our world as well as crafting blueprints that build futures for individuals and cultures.

The story making process helps synthesize data bits into an essence of understanding that can be compelling as well as convincing. Green and Brock at Ohio State University have empirically shown that people’s beliefs can be swayed more effectively through storytelling than through logical arguments. Science backs up the long held belief that story is the most enduring powerful means for learning and communicating in our fast-learning, fast-changing world. (Jonathan Gottschall, author of The Storytelling Animal.) Participants will explore and create at least one of fourteen [14] applications of storytelling for learning including docu-dramas, public-service announcements, vision videos and infographics. Project ideas, processes and tools will be combined into participants' creating personal media expressions that taps into storytelling KLOUT!

• Visual StoryTelling ~ Craftsmanship and Creativity with Still Images


From drawing on cave walls to cameras along with other emerging digital mediums, images continue to shape and influence our communication across time. Experience the art of visual storytelling, enthralling and captivating audiences through stand alone images as well as dynamic sequencing of images without words. Visuals are the ultimate “showing NOT telling” ensuring images chosen delivers illuminating messages and deep understanding for meaning making. Visual communication taps into creativity, engagement, and deep introspection while delivering powerful “sticki learning” that builds individual influence skills with audiences.

Crafting any visual storytelling project will guide the learning curves for the grammar and fluency of communicating with images as students and other curriculum teachers master their own art of expressing and representing understanding beyond words. Project ideas, processes and tools will be combined into participants' creating personal media expressions that deliver visual KLOUT!


• I-imagine™: Taking MY Place in the World (In-Residence Program)

The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created--created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. ~ Anonymous

The I-imagine™ project is grounded in new research for inspiring hope, joy and action in learners discovering and activating their own life-goals - living in the truth that their lives and talents matter to the world. Learners create docudramas role-playing a self-produced vision video AS IF it were 20 years from now and they are already shining their light, activating their talents and using their unique strengths for good in the world ~ living their BEST life NOW! Narrative story is one of the oldest and most proven tools for motivating individuals to engage in change, mobilized by inspired hope while activating positive actions NOW. Boredom in schools has reached pandemic proportions – working against our goals of preparing learners for their futures. Enter the power of story based on new research as ONE positive strategy that activates learner affinity and agency in owning their own learning. Finding purpose and passion are the hallmarks of a life that matters, a life worth living. They are also the source of joy and happiness. The greatest gift parents and teachers can give their children is to help them discover, nourish and act on this truth NOW. Our inner stories exert tremendous influence on us, driving us and limiting -- or enlarging -- our sense of reality and possibility. More details @ http://i-imagine.wikispaces.com/I-imagine+Project

• Learning Comes ALIVE: The Craftsmanship of Docu-Drama Storytelling

Let’s make nonfiction that is more thrilling than fiction. Let’s use the best of what fiction has to offer and make it more exciting because what happened was real. - Ellen Windemuth from Off the Fence

Docu-dramas are non-fiction, personal narrative stories with rich and thick facts woven into a memorable plot, setting, characters, and denouement AS IF you lived in the time or experience yourself. Expressing JUST the facts develops summary reports about topics while the creative arranging of actual facts, authentic images, interviews, art and music of the times along with other archival media elements unfolds an emotional experience with information called docudramas. Docudramas are story-based but come from in-depth, non-fictional research expressing life, events, or issues NOT imagination. This personalize narrative style is meant to bring facts and experiences ALIVE into illuminated understandings delivering an explicit reflective connection (lesson learned) of self, community or humanity that reveals WHY the topic matters. Participants will explore the art of designing learning tasks across-the- curriculum, organizing the tools and processes along with coaching learners’ mastery of these two dynamic types of communication. Assessment tools for digital work provided.

• Transmedia Storytelling: Reading, Writing and Trans-Literacies in a Digital Age

Today we are beginning to notice that the new media are not just mechanical gimmicks for creating worlds of illusion, but new languages [Trans-literacies]with new and unique powers of expression. ~ Marshall McLuhan

Transmedia storytelling is the ultimate mash-up of ancient traditions and new communications models. Media technologies have come a long way since cave painting and have so many new capabilities. The clash between words and images has recently been tipped by the immersive, interactive reading and learning environments enabled by media technologies. Transmedia storytelling engages, informs and inspires participants - who are more than mere ‘readers’ or consumers of organized concepts – to become immersed in participatory experiences across media genres by connecting with and collaborating over content meaning-making. In spite of the breadth and dazzle of media technologies, transmedia storytelling is really about using a multitude of technologies mixed together in the service of a higher goal: learning, thinking and communicating through storytelling ~ rehearsing and mastering narrative intelligence to persuade, motivate, inform, excite and incite others to engage in life together.

• The Art and Soul of Digital Storytelling: Classroom Literacy Connections

We need to tell someone else a story that describes our experience because the process of creating the story also creates the memory structure that contains the gist of the story for the rest of our lives. Roger Shank, Tell Me a Story

The more people are buried in the mind-numbing avalanche of today’s information, the greater the importance of stories in making sense of the endless pieces of data. It is the act of telling our personal story of what we know and understand from an event or topic that provides a "sense-making" process enabling our brains to organize a myriad of factoids while also increasing “sticking power.” Designing and communicating information across the curriculum requires learners to deepen their understanding of content while increasing visual, sound, oral language, creativity and thinking skills. It also provides a highly engaging mode of communication for nourishing the spirits and giving voice to our young people as they dance images, sound, music, transitions and special effects into illuminated understandings. Participants will explore learners’ examples and ideas across the curriculum.

• Teachers as StoryKeepers: Crafting Celebration Stories of Projects and Lessons Learned

Where passion meets practice and experience thereby lies a story that needs to be told. (Bernajean Porter, 2004)

Celebrate the obvious - teachers make THE difference! The power of our work as educators is much greater than numbers. Digital stories combining images, sound, music and voiceovers into 3-5 minute movies are able to compliment quantitative data by conveying the emotional, inspiring and qualitative value of experience while also honoring personal experiences that share understandings and lessons learned as inspiration for others. Each digital story showcases personal lessons learned through grants, initiatives and special projects; enables participants to reflect on their experiences and successes; enriches understandings for personal portfolios; or adds compelling human experience to text/numeric evaluations or research projects. These digital stories not only document project impact for communities but also become a vehicle for teachers to master multiple 21st century skills and understandings needed to coach their own learners in creating exemplar communication products.



Leadership Topics and Training Seminars

These seminars can be presented as session topics or delivered as multi-day leadership training virtually or onsite to empower leaders to deepen their impact power through effective, innovative group engagement.

VIP Leadership ~ Visions into Practice

Calling all Leaders! What's new on the horizon? How might emerging technologies be used to accelerate higher return-on-learning [ROL]? The technology-driven destabilization of the modern workplace is simultaneously bringing great challenges, threats, and opportunities to our schools. Are your schools ready? An overview of emerging technologies on the horizon along with organizing concepts will be shared for powerful implementations that take visions into practices for all students. The goal is to increase your district’s visible accountability of student results with technology and professional development investments.

Future Searches with School Communities ~ Creating Living Visions with Large Groups of Stakeholders

Future Searches co-create new stories for new times. It is a results-based process facilitated as a strategic community events engaging the whole system of stakeholders to be widely prepared in taking action on new initiatives, visions or re-culturing organizations. A Future Search process builds understanding, commitment and ownership along with energizing large-scale commitment towards collaboratively re-setting cultures to align with new stories of possibilities.For anything that matters the timing is never quite right, the resources always a little short, and the people less ready than needed to shift gears. Starting with a compelling, widely, co-created vision resets the culture while affirming commitment and participation in something worthy even when we do not know HOW to get to where we want to go – YET!

Moral of the Story: By applying basic principles of participant-driven processes, people can decide and do in a short amount of time what once took months, years or was simply unthinkable.

• Strategic Conniving: Harvesting Learning Results for ALL Learners

Now that you've documented technology uses delivering learning results, what strategies and structures will you need to roll out these pockets of change for ALL kids? Enjoy an energetic discussion of pitfalls, strategies and successes in expanding the seeds of success from pilots and research-based programs into pervasive practices for ALL learners.

• Data in a Day: Classroom Walk-throughs Assessing Instructional Uses of Technology

Technology uses magnifies and makes visible all that is working about schools and all that needs to work better for all learners. Bernajean Porter, 1997

Using blink-like observations, school leaders learn how to observe, code, and record “cognitive” snapshots of technology uses onto hand-held devices. These snapshots create a “mosaic-like” pattern of strengths and weakness of instructional practices and learning values that forms the school’s pedagogical culture. The data validates or redirects the use of technology resources in supporting school-wide goals. Participating in the process along with reflecting on the findings ensures new initiatives are rolled out with more success; existing curriculum and pedagogy is refined and revised; staff development goals are targeted; and a continuous dialogue is sustained on expectations for technology resources to directly support learning results.

MUVE over Face-to-Face: Virtual Learning and Collaboration Spaces are Here!

Distance learning is quickly moving into virtual classroom spaces. Scores of colleges and universities (Ohio State, Pepperdine, Harvard, and Vassar) have set up campuses where learners participate in real-time MUVES like QuestAtlantis, Second Life or VenueGen, immersing learners in rigorous content experiences. Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVE) offer 3D visually rich sensory experiences. Avatars (virtual personas) have sophisticated control of their learning as they engage in tasks using live voice (language translation devices possible), chat rooms, web links, visual exhibits, simulations, live video and sound streaming, or “teleporting” to other landmarks within the MUVE. Avatars are able to hold their own “after-class” chats about assignments while their avatars practice dance moves at the island tiki bar, pirate ship or while flying on a magic carpet watching the solar system move around them. The groups can “teleport” anytime to authentic museums, libraries, re-enacted historical eras, or simulation experiences like NOAA’s hurricane simulators. These virtual spaces are becoming viable learning environments for whole-school staff development capable of joining other educators from across the world. MUVEs are now able to create a realism- sense of being there - that blurs the differences from face-to-face learning with many added advantages. Learners are experiencing building collaborative learning communities from anywhere anytime access. Participants will be introduced to the vocabulary of “inworlds,” guided experiences with examples, and easy, get-started resources.

• Lurk-ificiation: Problem or Opportunity for Engaging Face-to-Face and Virtual Participation

In an Internet Culture, a lurker is a person who reads or listens but rarely or never participates actively in contributing or adding to discussions or information on message boards, blogs, tweets, newsgroups, chatrooms, file sharing, other social networking sites other interactive collaborative events like skype meetings, webinars or asynchronous communities. Research indicates that "lurkers make up over 90% of online groups." What causes lurking? Is it a problem needing attention in ANY learning community or group whether virtual or face-to-face? Are non-participants breaking a social contract to be contributing or not? Lurking is not JUST a phenomenon in virtual worlds or social media – face-to-face learning and meetings also experience only a small portion of participation due to limited “air space” and time. What strategies can be engaged to increase “air space” and participation for everyone in ANY learning environment?

• IQ or EQ: Explore the Neuroscience of Human Success

Being human is a great adventure with neuroscience and new studies revealing the many mysteries essential in growing key cognitive and emotional attributes. While IQ may establish the cognitive capacity, nourishing the inner attributes of our students is now being documented as possessing the real power for unlocking the learner’s brain and personal successes. Explore creating a positive and heartful climate in classrooms that sustain dramatic results for our kids and adults.

• Wagons Ho! Getting EVERYONE into the Land of New Possibilities

What are we pretending not to know? All the dollars and time spent on gadgets and staff development still have changed little more than pockets of learning opportunities for students. What next steps will enable audaciously bold leadership to seek higher ground for visions and results in a climate for high-stakes testing? Enjoy hands-on workshop focused on the pitfalls, strategies and strategic successes for harnessing pervasive benefits from technology resources for ALL digital-age learners in 1:1 or B.Y.O.T. environments. Participants will participate in high-level "wagon master" planning and implementation strategies for the journey of leveraging emerging technology to activate school-wide cultures for learning, thinking and communicating in a digital age, ensuring EVERYONE arrives!

• Creating Collaborative Cultures: Coaching, Nurturing and Empowering Educators Through Change

Moving groups into new territory requires a combination of powerful dreams, collaborative leadership and group strategies along with exquisite coaching skills to activate the fuel needed to make IT real. Learning Forward creates a culture of commitment of moving towards best hopes and vision for excellence even when we don’t know how – it develops an attitude of no-is-the-wrong-answer. Effectively engaging and empowering groups increases everyone’s ability to deeply and pervasively implement the possibilities of technology use for learning results. Research shows collaborative communities enable increased multi-tasking, less stress, more creative solutions with deeper, faster and more pervasive implementation successes. Participants will learn facilitating dialogue, reflective practices, team building, conflict resolution, creative decision-making, dealing with difficult people, building on diversity and nurturing strong collaborative environments for everyone!