Today I was honored to deliver the Keynote at the Winston-Salem State University Faculty Festival. My talk was titled, “Enhancing Projects, Expanding Possibilities, and Empowering People: A Digital Educator’s Journey” and I used my own career journey from adjunct instructor at a community college to Co-creator and Co-Lead of the Digital Gardener Initiative at IU to highlight four key takeaways about the power of integrating digital literacy and digital creativity into the classroom (see link below). The talk was, more or less, rooted in key examples: amazing student works that reflect the takeaways. These examples, can be seen in the Adobe CC Express webpage I used for the talk (again, linked below), and/or many can be found at the Journal for Undergraduate Multimedia Projects (jumpplus.net).
While there are definitely research-based elements and “scholarship” behind the what, how, and why of what I do, I tend to prioritize the personal and pedagogical in these opportunities, focusing on stories and examples that demonstrate learning and growth and that can help others see the impact, see what is possible, and see how a simply shift in our focus can create learning experiences in which students can thrive. The latter is, really, what has always excited me about working in digital media and creating digital literacy/digital creativity opportunities for students in my classes: i.e., a simple shift in approach, in options, and possibilities often invites students to imagine course engagements and outputs in ways I can never fully anticipate. And this works equally across the student demographics, shifting the measure away from standard academic discourse to other modes and means of expression, representation, illustration, demonstration, and the like. I could talk about this extensively, but for now I’ll just end by expressing my gratitude to (1) Wanda White and Bart Ganzert for the invitation to serve as Keynote, (2) the Center for Innovative and Transformative Learning at WSSU for hosting the event, and (3) Adobe (and particular, Customer Success Manager Keith Spenser), who supported both the event and made this speaking opportunity a reality.