The Edge

Empowering Learners with Digital Storytelling

September 28, 2023 ISTE Season 2 Episode 9
Empowering Learners with Digital Storytelling
The Edge
More Info
The Edge
Empowering Learners with Digital Storytelling
Sep 28, 2023 Season 2 Episode 9

Join The Edge Podcast hosts Georgie Terlaje and Jessica Pack as they explore digital storytelling as a way to empower learners in their education. They are joined by two ISTE Community Leaders Julie Jaeger and Gwen Moore. Roe Moore, Gwen’s daughter and movie producer, joins to share her perspective on how digital storytelling changed her professional life. 

Show Notes Transcript

Join The Edge Podcast hosts Georgie Terlaje and Jessica Pack as they explore digital storytelling as a way to empower learners in their education. They are joined by two ISTE Community Leaders Julie Jaeger and Gwen Moore. Roe Moore, Gwen’s daughter and movie producer, joins to share her perspective on how digital storytelling changed her professional life. 

Georgia Terlaje: It's Time for the Edge, a podcast from the ISTE Community leaders. If you are an educator, administrator, or anyone in the field of education, this is a podcast for you. Over the next few episodes, you will hear stories of people who are doing the rewarding and at times hard work in education.

And these stories will be brought to you by the ISTE community leaders. Coming up today, we've got some great guests on the show who will discuss student agency and movie making. I'm one of your community leader hosts, Georgia Relai. I'm a TK five instructional coach and educator of 34 years, and I'm here with my favorite partner in crime, Jessica Pack.

Jessica Pack: Thanks so much, Georgia. I'm Jessica, a middle school teacher and an ISTE author. I'm really looking forward to today's episode because we are going to deep dive with some special guests about students taking ownership over their work through digital storytelling. We are joined by our fellow ISTE community leaders, not one but two.

Julie Jagger and [00:01:00] Gwen Moore. Julie is a retired educator who continues to work as a coach and consultant, and Gwen is a newly retired STEM teacher. Congratulations, and also thanks so much for joining us today. 

Julie Jaeger: Thanks for having us. We're excited to be here and anxious to visit about one of our favorite topics.

Jessica Pack: Now you both have brought a very special guest to the table this week for us to connect with. Gwen, could you introduce them to our 

Gwen Moore: listeners? Sure. , I would like to introduce, , my daughter, , Roe Moore, who is living out in, , Glendale, Los Angeles, Hollywood area. But she is also, I'm very proud of her to say she's an independent filmmaker and she does a lot in the real world of movie making.

Roe Moore: Mm-hmm. Hello. Thank you Jessica and Georgia for having me here. And thanks ma'am. And you know, all that lovely stuff, , Julie for having me here. Yeah, I'm an independent filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California. , [00:02:00] I've primarily am a director in the comedy space, so sitcom and half hour comedy is where I'm looking to go into my foray.

, outside of that, if I had to give a title to my memoir, it would be adrenaline's a heck of a drug because I started as. A, , standup comedian. , storytelling in the standup world is obviously very essential 'cause you gotta make people laugh, but they ought to be along for the ride. So, , some of my idols, like Chris Titus and those guys, , that's where I got my love for storytelling and getting involved in the entertainment industry.

, outside of that, I've worked on multiple shows like RuPaul's Drag Race, , did Disney Plus's Earth to Ned, , to drop a couple names. , and I've had the opportunity to work in. Branded content, basically anything in the entertainment industry, I've had the opportunity. So 

Georgia Terlaje: could you repeat the story of your life?

What's it called? What's the name of 

Roe Moore: the title of your book? The title of my book is gonna be Adrenaline is the Is a Heck of a Drug 

Georgia Terlaje: because I think that works for educators as well. So I like that we're all kind of like minded here. All right. So before we talk to Roe a little bit, , Julie and Gwen, can [00:03:00] you kind of talk about your origin story?

Like how did you first connect and how did this all happen? 

Julie Jaeger: Well, I was fortunate enough to, , work with Berna Jean Porter in the area of digital storytelling, and then she invited me to join in on a digital storytelling playground. At first, we were actually part of the arts playground, but pretty soon we branched out and were accepted and allowed to have our own.

And lo and behold, a lovely young educator named Gwen Moore came to our playground and. Offered to volunteer and help out. And that's kind of how I roped them in, as you've heard. And, , we visited a little bit more and the whole idea of PNS was beginning. They were called, , special interest groups back at that time, and she was very interested in jumping in and being a part of it.

Needless to say, she also became an inter intricate part of it. And, , we put her right to work as, as one of the main people in our group, thus became. A working partnership that's been going on for, I, she knows the year. She's much better at when, what years we met. So I'm gonna pass it over to her. [00:04:00] 

Gwen Moore: Thanks Julie.

, yes, it all began San Diego ISTE in 2012, so we're coming up on th basically 10, 11 years. 11, yeah, 11 years that we've been, , working in that partnership since I volunteered in the digital storytelling playground and me meeting. Berna Jean Porter, and it was like I really valued the idea of storytelling with kids because it allowed me to think about ways to get students engaged with working with different types of technology and tools in a constructive manner instead of them playing with how to keyboard and, yeah, if you wanna make this, you got to.

I would like them to do projects, so it was a great way to create projects and learning how to use tools productively. 

Julie Jaeger: And 


Georgia Terlaje: have to say full disclosure, Julie roped, Jessica and I in to Itsty and the p l n. So, , mean, she [00:05:00] does have the superpower of like, bringing you in and then before you know it, it's like you wouldn't ever think of getting out of it because it's so magical and fun.

So, Roe, I'm just curious, growing up with. Your mom and storytelling, I mean, did that, how did that like impact your trajectory like comedy and storytelling and those kinds of things? Well, 

Roe Moore: I mean my family, like, not to dive deep, but my family was pretty dysfunctional, so a lot of what we did to deal with the dysfunction was we found the comedy and the in the moment and tried to make it light and funny of all this tragedy that is happening as far as me growing up as an angsty teenager, my mom not handling it well.

My dad being. Gone most of the time. 'cause he was an officer so he worked a lot. , so, you know, with that kind of comedy background, it's just natural to be like, I've got stories and somebody's gotta have given me a mic, so I need to tell somebody. So, , but my first foray into standup, ironically enough, was in New Mexico.

, my cubicle mate. Was a [00:06:00] comedian, he was headlining a night and I went to go support him and at the end of his set he said, so, , hang on guys, I'm not the last one I know. It says I'm a headliner. He pulled me up on stage without any preparation to tell me and gave me a sheet of paper and said, say these jokes.

So, and me being the per, like, the competitive one, 'cause I have very deep athletic background. , I did it once and the adrenaline got to me so much that I was like, I need to do it again, again so I can do it better. , so that's how I got started with that. Well, and I love 

Georgia Terlaje: that because it takes like people to push us out of our comfort zones, and maybe you never would've got up there and tried it without someone in that moment.

You know, here's your cheats sheet, you know, riff on this for a few minutes. Yep. So that's. It. You know, it works in education. It works in the real world. We need those people, those champions for us to say, I think he'd be great at this. Just do 

Roe Moore: it. Exactly. 

Gwen Moore: And I think that's one thing Julie Jagger's really good about is finding that and pushing people into [00:07:00] their zone of proximal development piece and stretching what we can, what they can do.

She can see that in people and she's got a way of making it where it's comfortable for you to go for it. 

Julie Jaeger: Well, I don't know what to say, but if it's working, it's working and we're gonna, I'm gonna keep doing it. So 

Georgia Terlaje: that's all they broke to fix it. Right? Yeah, 

Julie Jaeger: I've got evidence. I love it. So I could probably do a research paper.

Georgia Terlaje: So what have you noticed in your work around student agency and movie making and digital storytelling? How does that really promote student agency? 

Julie Jaeger: Well, , my mantra is developing those thinking skills, higher order thinking skills, critical creative thinking skills, and everything about creating digital storytelling products or, , the aspect of looking at the marketing side of it and you're trying to sell a story, whether it is on the marketing side or not.

The students become [00:08:00] so invested in making it, and if you've ever worked with. Gifted kids as I did, they're perfectionists. And so they want it to be perfect and they're never satisfied. And any director, and I am sure Ro would admit, you're always looking at what you've done and then how it could be better the next time.

So you're self-analyzing. And I think what I've found with. Digital storytelling is, it's allowing my students, even my kiddos who would be, they would say they would never do anything artsy because they're extremely mathy. But when I give them this idea and this project, and they and I, and they have to make it for an audience so it's authentic, they have to be looking at who that audience is.

They need to look at, , what essence or feeling. That's the first thing they must do is commit to three to four adjectives. And the minute they do that, they know that everything they do is pushing them in that direction. I usually do not see their faces because they're so immersed in their storyboard and in their [00:09:00] creativity side, and making that, again, in many cases, that perfect example of what they can do.

So agency is just an automatic part and they own it. And they cannot wait to share it. So for me, it's taken my kids to the top three levels of blooms and we live there during that entire time and we don't deviate from that. And again, they take another look at it and go, but, but I could have done okay time.

We have to call time if you wanna do it on your own. But , the products I've gotten from kids, Blow me away. The kids that said I cannot do this, like, I'm no good at this. Some of theirs are the very best. And , you know, I shared a few with the other night and, and it's just interesting to see what their topics are and allow when you allow them to develop around their own interests and their own, , research topics, they literally do own it.

And I love that part of it. 

Gwen Moore: I think too, storytelling allows students to have [00:10:00] an avenue that they're personalizing their own voice, and because they're personalizing that voice, it gives them courage to. Figure out ways to say that. And once you empower a student with an avenue like my daughter, , with an avenue of sharing that voice that sticks, you don't forget it.

I remember several years ago I attended another conference that Steve s Spangler was, , a keynote with, and he always, he first thing he said, he, when we got up in front of all these teachers, he goes, Kids don't remember worksheets. They remember experiences and storytelling and movie making and learning about sharing their world in their type of way makes it an experience that they want [00:11:00] to stick, that sticks with them and empowers them.

And at times where you can't stop them, they'll figure out ways to do it on their own, which is really amazing and awesome. 

Georgia Terlaje: So Roe being in the environment with Julie and Gwen for probably many years, whether vicariously or intentionally, What sort of skills have you noticed through their digital storytelling and movie making or transferable in your in industry?

Like obviously story, I mean that always comes up, but what are some other skills that you see as transferable into your industry? 

Roe Moore: Well, I mean the storyboarding process is definitely key. , From start to finish, the film relies on the creativity and knowing where you're going at any given point in the script.

, the worst thing that can happen, which I've been on these film sets, the director doesn't do their job. The script writer does theirs, but then there's no common ground between the director and the script of what's supposed to be done. So then nobody [00:12:00] is on the same page when we get into production.

And that's where like I think teachers can really rely and share that with the students is that this storyboarding is you being able to communicate to everyone on your team. What colors are we going to use? Is this a rich house or a poor house? Is this a setting in Florida where there's palm trees or is this evergreens in Colorado?

, all those important choices are made because these students have the ability to. Bring their point of view. , something that I talk about is that film is its own language. It's basically learning like Italian, using Japanese writing. That's what filmmaking is because it's not native for us to take words and put it to an image.

Everyone has a different association with any word. Like the one thing that I always say is like, what's your idea of comfort and. Jessica, your idea of comfort is gonna be different from Georgia and it's gonna be different from mine and from my mom and from Julie's. But [00:13:00] how do we all get on the same page to make the same story based off of that one perspective that we believe comfort is X and we want the audience to feel and have that emotional and mental response in the same manner, so that way we're all working from the same place to be able to tell this story and have the impact that we want to have.

So that's kinda like what is key in what I've seen them talk about mostly because they're always like storyboarding, storyboarding. Students don't wanna do it. Why would they wanna draw? Why would they want to look at any of that? And that's so transferrable because everything that I've worked on that has gone on to be a huge success, whether Sundance or in a commercial theater, it all became that wave because of the storyboards.

Jessica Pack: I love so much about what you're saying, just in terms of like the collaborative nature that storytelling can foster, because when you said that it's not my version of comfort isn't necessarily George's version of comfort. I love that there's that sort of organic [00:14:00] communication that ends up happening that we're not structuring with like sentence frames and we're not forcing kids to have a conversation.

It's one that they're wanting to engage in because they care about what they're 

Roe Moore: making. Right. Exactly. And it, that's what makes it difficult though. At the same time as a teacher, I could see it because it's not objective. It is so subjective and that's why people will like Star Wars or not like Star Wars or why they'll like Jaws or not like Jaws.

But it is that whole perspective from that person's point of view that that you really have to get behind. And if they don't have the student agency that they have, they will flail because they don't want to commit to that and run with it. 

Jessica Pack: So Julie, I know that I've heard you speak a lot about the difference between stories and reports, and that's an area that we really connect and share.

, could you talk about that a little bit for our listeners? 

Julie Jaeger: Absolutely. It's one of my favorite topics. You know, we, for many, many years, and this is one of the reasons Berna Jean was just passionate about getting digital storytelling [00:15:00] out there, and that's her, her. Just love because, , a report is, A report is a report.

You're sharing information without some type of a conflict or a situation, or we talk about a problem. You can't have a story. And if you look at any author, they start with a situation and then they. Expand upon it. And so we tried. We've tried for years and years and years to separate multimedia from digital storytelling, but you can't, because every digital storytelling product is multimedia.

But every multimedia product is not digital storytelling. And so our goal is to help people see that, if you wanna call it digital storytelling. Great. Make sure there is a story and the story has. Depth and breadth, and it leaves an impression upon its audience. And for me and for what we try to do. And I think we've, we're, we're slowly making that progress, but we're, we had a multimedia playground this year at Isti for that very reason.

We wanted to show the difference and not have [00:16:00] digital storytelling anywhere on that particular playground stage, but rather have the idea that these are great products, these are great, , final products, and these are some of the tools. Then we'll have a digital storytelling playground as well. And it's, it's a separation.

It shouldn't have to be, but we, we really felt it was important. The agency part that you talk about is huge because if you look at what Roe was saying, so our students come to us first as authors. And then we do almost like, you know, a little mini graduation. You are now done with that part of it. Now you're going to move to the director slash screenplay, creator of your own work.

And now as the director and you're finished, you're going to become the producer. And we literally use. Those words. Because again, that agency, because they're looking at their audience, they're trying to fulfill their goal for a specific audience, is what's gonna drive that, that screenplay, which will get that final product.

So I don't know if [00:17:00] I've answered your question, but that's where we're 

Jessica Pack: at. 100%. You answered it. I absolutely love your take on storytelling versus multimedia, and I think it's one that. Many people maybe need as a little food for thought. , Gwen, could you maybe share a project that you've done with your kids that might be, , a good starting place or a jumping off point for teachers who are interested in exploring story?

Gwen Moore: , a great starting place, , that, , I, I'm encouraging teachers to always do and I do with my kids to tell a good story. You have to have a per percept, a perspective. And using thinking strategies like step inside from visible making, thinking visible, and , working with graphic organizers as they analyze images, because kids don't, al, they may have a story, but they don't know how to tell it.

And if we, you're bringing this into the classroom, there's no better way to have [00:18:00] students remember what they're learning. Then through storytelling, through content, a lot of times you have to use images and have students think about the actions that could be going along with those pictures. And I do remember one student that really wanted to create a story about the Titanic and but, and I said, okay, so who's your character?

What perspective are you telling the pic the story from? He goes, A pig. And I said, what? Goes a pig. And at the time I did not know that he had read the book, the Pig on the Titanic, but he said they had to have food on the Titanic and they didn't have a lot of cold storage and things. So he goes, there were, there were animals on there that they used for food while they were sailing.

He goes, why couldn't there be a pig? And I said, well, okay, let's see how we're gonna go through and do this. And he described about the [00:19:00] problem with, with the pig was that the chef wanted to eat him. And he talked about how they were running through the bottom of the ship with the chef chasing him. Then all of a sudden he, they started hearing about the ship shaking and there was water coming in and how everything kind of changed and you could see parts and that they were doing with the story that he had gotten from like the movie Titanic and things around.

But he also did some really good research in figuring out how the pig and the chef. And the way that the ship was going down and, , how the pig, the chef helped to get the pig actually on a board and going up. So it was a very interesting little story that he was telling. And the one story about perspective that has hit me that Julie had was this one student that created a story about Abe Lincoln's hat because I, and I've, it's been about three or four years since I really have seen the [00:20:00] move the.

Story, but I never knew Abe Lincoln's hat got shot before he was assassinated. And this little girl told the whole story from the perspective of the hat and how he was proud to be part of the President's wardrobe and, and ev you know, and how it felt when it got shot. And you know, how that kind of precluded to what happened to Abraham Lincoln.

So, That perspective piece and you know, the agency of giving the control to the students of how they want to tell this story leads to that research and the storyboarding and moving the students through because they can actually start living and feeling it. 

Julie Jaeger: I just wanna add one little thing. I think the whole idea, like Gwynn's talking, we, we refer to 'em as non-fiction narratives or personal narratives.

, any curricular [00:21:00] area can be brought in in this way. And what is really nice about it, when kids give a report, it's them standing up and talking about it when they do a nonfiction narrative. That fear of speaking as themselves is gone because they're talking as if they're a hat on Lincoln's head or they're talking as if they're that granite sitting on the countertop.

And all of those kinds of things make it, you know, their voices come out. And again, you're talking student agency. We hear things we would never hear if it had to be them standing, giving a report. 

Georgia Terlaje: Ro, I don't mean to put you on the spot, but we're, we're getting near the end. I'm just curious now that you've been at itd live, I don't know how many times if you've been here before, but you know, what's a message you could give to teachers, like based on your view from your work, knowing what your mom and Julie do, , for teachers going forward, whether it's a word of encouragement or a word of like, something to really, you know, bring forward in your classroom.

Any advice? Oh 

Roe Moore: gosh.[00:22:00] , I mean there's a lot, but I'll, I'll lead with this one. , because I feel like so much in the education world is to the deadline. You gotta turn it in, you gotta let it go. You gotta do all of that. I mean, there was a poet, I don't remember his name, but he is French. , and his thing is a work of art is never finished.

It is just abandoned. And I think that's something for teachers to really relish in. 'cause like, again, Julie mentioned earlier, Yeah, you can do it on your own time. Now if you wanna tweak, you gotta do it on your own time. But I think there's something to give grace to kids to say, look, you hit the deadline.

This is as far as you got. It's okay to let it go. , and that's sometimes hard. That's why George Lucas has worked on Star Wars his entire career. He's yet to go to do anything else because to him, star Wars is not perfect, but to a student, and especially when you gotta move on to that next thing and you know it's not great and it's, you know, you've learned, but you now want to go back with what you know and replay it over and do it different.

You have to be willing to let it go. And as a teacher, you are that person that they're gonna [00:23:00] turn to. They're gonna be that one that has to sit there and say yes, but it is good enough. And that's hard to do. And to watch someone who has so much passion, especially since they've given so much into it on their own, and they have to walk away from it.

So it's finding that grace and that willingness to help them find that navigation to move on to the next thing. 

Jessica Pack: Before we let the three of you go today, where can listeners connect with you to continue this conversation?

Julie Jaeger: Well, they can find me, , at j Jaeger consults both on Twitter as well as my, , website and Facebook is just Julie Jaeger. Find me there 

Gwen Moore: on Twitter. You can find me at GI M g I m m Y M. And same with on Facebook. Because I'm old school and we weren't supposed to use our actual real names when I started all of this.

So that's [00:24:00] my nickname and , would love to connect. 

Roe Moore: The easiest way to find me is gonna be through my website. It's got all my social media, and that's gonna be Or you can get ahold of me through my production site. Pi Pi P i e p i e 

Jessica Pack: Oh my goodness. Well, thank you so much for being here today.

That wraps up this episode of the Edge Podcast. We hope you had a great time. My name is Jessica and you can find me at Pac Woman 2 0 8 on Twitter and Instagram. 

Georgia Terlaje: And I'm Georgia. And you can find me at Georgia tlai on Twitter. And both of us at storytelling saves the 

Jessica Pack: On behalf of everyone here at the ISTE Edge Podcast, remember to keep exploring your passion, fostering your creativity, and continue taking risks, all things that can bring you to the edge.