Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Inspired by Ben Wilkoff’s 6 Second Stories for Learning

This post is the first of a series of reflections on presentations I’ve watched that are part of the 2014 K-12 Online Conference. @k12online is a free, annual, pre-recorded video-based conference by educators, for educators. This year the conference strands were STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math),  Stories for Learning, Passion Driven Learning, and Gamification. I’ve created a shared Google Doc, by copying the 2014 conference schedule, to track presentations I’ve watched as well as share links to my blog reflections. Since 2006, the K-12 Online Conference has been a transformational, FREE annual experience for me to be inspired by other teachers and learn a wealth of new ideas as well as digital tools I can utilize in my classroom. I teach 4th and 5th graders as a full-time classroom STEM teacher, and again am finding the free K-12 Online Conference videos (k12online channel on YouTube) to be practical as well as inspirational. Since most videos in the conference are 20 minutes long or less, the presentations are “bite-sized” professional development chunks I can watch and process during my busy schedule during the week as an elementary teacher.

Ben Wilkoff’s (@bhwilkoff) keynote in the Stories for Learning strand of this year’s conference is titled, “6 Second Stories for Learning.” Wow was I ever inspired by Ben, his messages, his stories, and the creative way in which he put together his presentation video using past videos from his channel on Vine! If you haven’t already, you NEED to set aside 16 minutes in your day to watch Ben’s presentation video.

One of the first things I did after watching Ben’s keynote was download the free Vine app for iOS and create my own channel on Vine. I also started sharing “six second stories for learning” using the #6secSFL hashtag on Vine and Twitter which Ben suggested. Since we just wrapped up a 3 part / 6 day unit in MinecraftEDU I called the “Geometry Building Challenge,” many of the Vine videos I initially posted were about Minecraft.

If you are not familiar with Vine, the English WikiPedia describes it as a “short form video sharing service.” The iOS app is unique for videography in several ways, including the fact that “The camera records only while the screen is being touched, enabling users to edit on the fly or create stop motion effects.” Like SnapChat, Vine was a media sharing app which I knew teenagers used a lot but I doubted was something I’d find a use for as a teacher. Ben convinced me I was wrong. Since Vine videos are so short and so easy to share, they represent a “low bar and high ceiling” form of media sharing. (I’m copying the parlance of MIT Media Lab & Scratch guru Mitch Resnik with that phrase.) This means it does NOT take a great deal of effort or work to create a Vine video, but the creative possibilities they can present are almost limitless. While six seconds is a length limit for Vine, the Ikea slogan “creativity thrives within constraints” explains why this opens up more creative possibilities than it closes.

Hurdles by JefferyTurner, on Flickr Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  JefferyTurner 

Ben inspired me in a big way with his stories of struggling to open up doors of student access to media and media platforms at school. I have struggled with this on multiple fronts in the past as well, and that inspired me to put together the “Unmasking the Digital Truth” project. Thanks to Ben’s accompanying Google Doc for his presentation, which includes direct links to each of the Vine videos he included, I was readily able to find two of them which spoke to these issues directly.



At 9:51 of the video, Ben stopped using combined Vine videos and started a longer narrated video segment. I love his encouragement to teachers, “If you have six seconds between classes, record and share a video!” That is what Vine supports and allows. Since my current teaching schedule includes five back-to-back, fifty minute classes, without a bathroom break or other scheduled pause, six seconds is sometimes more than I have between classes! Even though our school schedule is crazy-full and busy this year, I do sometimes have a moment to catch my breath, and that can be enough time to share a moment of learning via Vine. I love how Ben pushed me to try a new and potentially VERY powerful method of documenting and sharing my own learning with media.

Vine videos are examples of “no-edit videography,” which I’d place on a continuum that includes “quick edit videos” as well as longer, more fully edited (post-production) video projects. My limited use of Vine (to date) and this video presentation by Ben inspired me to create the following graphic today, which I’ve titled, “Menu of iOS Video Production Options.” I added this to the “Quick Edit Video” page of Mapping Media to the Curriculum.

Menu of iOS Video Production Options by Wesley Fryer, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Wesley Fryer 

In the weeks and months ahead, I plan to continue capturing and sharing my own “6 Second Stories for Learning” using Vine and the hashtag #6secSFL. I hope you will too!

Thanks so much Ben Wilkoff! You have inspired me and changed my professional practices as an educator and a learner! I hope we can grab a coffee sometime in the not-too-distant future and compare notes in person as advocates for “showing what you know and can do with media!”