Dr. Jason Ohler | 21st Century Education Expert and Lifelong Digital Humanist

Dr. Jason Ohler

21st Century Education Expert and Lifelong Digital Humanist

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Dr. Jason Ohler

Dr. Jason Ohler is a professor emeritus, speaker, writer, teacher, and cyber researcher. He is also a lifelong digital humanist who is well known for the passion, insight, and humor he brings to his presentations, projects and writings. He has worked both online and in classrooms at home and internationally for over a quarter century helping students develop the new literacies they need to be successful in the digital age. He is a passionate promoter of "Art the Next R" and of combining innovation, creativity and digital know-how to help reinvigorate teaching and learning. He is also an enthusiastic champion of the need for students to learn how to use technology wisely and safely, with awareness and compassion, so they can become informed and productive citizens in a global digital society. He has won a number of awards for his work and is author of many books, articles, and online resources. Many call him a futurist, he calls himself a nowist, believing we have what we need now to create the kinds of communities we need to meet the challenges of the digital age with creativity and humanity. His current book, Digital Community, Digital Citizen, explores how to help our children blend their digital and non-digital lives into one integrated approach to living that is safe and inspiring. His previous book, Digital Storytelling in the Classroom, reminds us that he is first and foremost a storyteller, telling tales of the future that are grounded in the past."The goal is the effective, creative, and wise use of technology . . . to bring together technology, community, and learning in ways that work. And while we are at it, to have fun."
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New Media, New Students - New Literacies, New Citizens

What are some of the key issues that define leading and learning in the digital age? Digital literacy, new media participation and digital citizenship. Without digital literacy, digital citizenship is not possible. Therefore, we need to help students become truly literate by helping them become active media creators, critical media consumers and engaged digital citizens.

This includes helping them cultivate their new media talents, adopt art as the 4th R and use research and narrative to convey their ideas in rich, compelling ways. We need to help them create media stories and projects that are articulate, academically sound and transformative so they can collaborate and share their work and talents within the community of the social web. Above all, we need to help them learn how to use their tools to imagine the world they want to create, as students, workers, neighbors, citizens. This presentation includes showing examples of student media production and digital citizenship projects. It is based on Jason’s latest book, Digital Community, Digital Citizen (Corwin Press, 2010) and Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Media Pathways to Literacy, Learning and Creativity (Corwin Press, 2008).

Topics addressed include:
- The building blocks of the new educational experience: mobility, connectivity, the shift from text to art-based literacy, digital citizenship
- 10 Digital Literacy Action Guidelines: including blending traditional and emerging literacies, and embracing storytelling as a teaching strategy
- The changing nature of education due to emerging technologies: such as augmented reality, social media, and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to school

Based on Jason's books: Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Media Pathways to Literacy, Learning and Creativity (Corwin Press, 2007), and Digital Community, Digital Citizen (Corwin Press, 2010).

Breakout Sessions

Typically 1 hour to 90 minutes, though can run longer

Breakout session #1:

Transforming your Classroom Using New Media – Tools, assessment, social media
Following from the keynote, Jason demonstrates practical tools and processes for teachers who want to help students create new media projects in exciting, creative ways. He addresses a number of topics, including how to assess student created media, and the role of research-based digital stories and media development in the curriculum. This presentation features examples of student and teacher media production, and offers practical and conceptual ways for students and teachers to participate in the world of Web 2.0 using new media they create for school projects.

This presentation is based on Jason’s book, Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Media Pathways to Literacy, Learning and Creativity (Corwin Press, 2008).

Topics addressed include:
- Media leadership: How to lead students to help them create media that is articulate, creative, research-based and academically sound
- Media integration: How to integrate student media projects into the curriculum
- Media assessment: How to assess student created media without being tech savvy yourself

Breakout Session #2:

Digital Community, Digital Citizen – Leading during a time of extreme change
Following from the keynote, Jason explores the issues involved in “digital citizenship” and how to help students navigate the challenges and opportunities of living a responsible and rewarding digital lifestyle. We want students to be inspired by the opportunities of the digital age, but we also want them to be safe, responsible and respectful. Our response: teaching students to become good digital citizens by providing a school climate that helps them understand the opportunities and challenges of living a digital lifestyle.

So many of the issues and opportunities students will face for the rest of their lives have their roots in technology, from genetic transformation to digital footprints to radical social reorganization. That’s why schools need to do more than prepare students to be capable work force members. They need to prepare students to be good neighbors, informed voters and participatory citizens so they can effectively balance technology’s opportunities and limitations in light of its value to the human community. This presentation is based on Jason’s books, Digital Community, Digital Citizen (Corwin Press, 2010).

Topics addressed include:
- Leading with digital citizenship: How do we lead schools and districts in the development of missions, visions and programs related to digital citizenship and helping students lead digital lifestyles that are balanced, ethical and informed?
- What are the issues? How do we approach issues like copyright, cyber bullying, student awareness of Internet safety and other important issues?
- Wise use of technology: How to do help students use the internet not just effectively and creatively, but also wisely and responsibly?

Research, reflect upon and express their understanding of the nature of narrative and story, based upon the applied and theoretical materials read and viewed for this class.

Workshops and Professional Development

Overview: Typically when I work with schools, I am asked to engage in one of two ways:
1) visit with many teachers, administrators and students throughout the day, in classrooms or professional development venues, spreading my expertise among many environments, situations
2) conduct a particular workshop for a half-day, day or two days

Both approaches are described below.

Approach 1: Working with many teachers, groups, classrooms

Digital Technology Throughout the Curriculum

I work directly with teachers, students, administrators and parents as a speaker, consultant and hands-on workshop director. Typically I may work with several groups throughout the day, each time adapting my focus to whatever the needs of the teacher, classroom or particular group happen to be.

Important points:

- Across the curriculum: I work in nearly every curriculum area at most grade levels. When I work with schools, I do so throughout the school community.
- A wide variety of digital learning topics are addressed: I address digital literacy, using social media, blended learning, using the Internet as a learning resource, digital citizenship and the ethical use of technology, digital storytelling, media development in the classroom, media literacy, and other areas.

Approach 2: All day workshop

Presently my most popular workshop is my Digital Storytelling workshop:

Getting in Touch with the Digital Storyteller Within
Do you want to understand the digital natives in your life and have fun doing it? Then come spend a day learning how to speak their language, creating digital stories, documentaries and other kinds of new media using simple, powerful tools that are inexpensive and often free. In this workshop you will see many examples of media created by students and teachers that show the power of new media development to help teaching and learning, and you will personally explore the process used to create them.

This is not a techie workshop and you do not need to be tech savvy. We don’t spend much time looking at the latest hardware and software. Instead, we focus a good deal on story: what makes stories work, how to plan and develop them, and how to translate them into the world of media. We then focus on using common, often free software. You are welcome to use whatever software and hardware you are familiar with – typically iMovie on the Mac or MovieMaker on the PC. If you a novice technology user, no problem. This workshop will get you started.

Depending on the length of the workshop, you will leave with either a digital story completed or underway. You will also leave with planning tools and processes, implementation perspectives and real skills that you can use immediately to help students create compelling narrative in content areas. Also addressed as time permits: assessment, copyright and other hot button issues.

Topics addressed include:
- Effective story development: helping students create effective narrative
- Effective media development on a budget: helping students translate their stories into media with no (or very little) budget, using the technology you already have on hand
- Effective use of student media in content areas: how to use what you learn at the workshop in your classroom to support your curriculum
- Effective media assessment: how you can help evaluate student media, regardless of your technical expertise

Trends that Bend
Technological Trajectories That Will Change Everything

Big Data, Augmented Reality, Semantic Web (webs 3 and 4), xTreme BYOD, Transmedia Storytelling

Our current technological trajectory promises unfathomable, roller coaster innovation with no braking system. It excites us and scares us. Above all, it changes us. This keynote considers at least five of the major technological trends that are just cresting and making their way into the arenas of education, commerce, and daily life: big data, augmented reality, the semantic web (webs 3 and 4), xtreme byod and transmedia storytelling. We look at what they are, where they came from, and where they are going. In particular, we look at how they will shape the nature of living, learning, working and playing in the digital age.

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