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Monday, 06 February 2017 00:00

DIGICOM Fellowship Profile: Colleen Veal, Math Teacher Nellie N. Coffman Middle School

Written by DIGICOM Productions
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Middle School Math Teacher partners with English Language Arts (ELA) colleague to produce a true cross-curricular digital storytelling project.

Veteran Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD) teacher Colleen Veal and DIGICOM Fellow teaches Math, Special Ed and Physical Ed at Nellie Coffman Middle School in Cathedral City.  With 32 years of teaching experience and a masters degree in educational technology, Colleen has found new pathways to connect her students with the skills and strategies she's learned at DIGICOM's professional development trainings.  We sat down last month with Colleen and asked her to share her experiences.
"I was really excited to be chosen for this Fellowship program!  I have had the privilege of being trained in Digital Storytelling since it was introduced to PSUSD several years ago. I appreciate the coaching and planning with DIGICOM professionals and the interaction and coaching that my students are receiving," remarks Colleen while her 7th grade Math students work to produce scripts & storyboards for a special cross-
curricular video project that is a co-production with English Language Arts (ELA) teacher Christine Kirov. 
Teacher Christine Kirov works with student filmmaker
"Christine and I talked about wanting to do a cross-
curricular video project.  She teaches 7th grade ELA and I teach 7th grade Math. So together, with the support of
Principal Carlos Flores, we partnered to create a shared class and collaborative digital storytelling project.
Our project is based on the 7th grade curriculumunit featuring the article, "What it Takes to be Great" by Geoffrey Colvin. In this article, Colvin's research indicates that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to be great at your passion. The academic content standards students learn in this unit include writing and proportions." 

Colleen Veal documents students work with video recording
DIGICOM Fellowship projects aim squarely to integrate a teacher's new understanding of the process of Digital Storytelling to facilitate their students' demonstrated mastery of required curriculum and academic standards. Colleen explained, "In this project, the ELA and Math standards were met through the process of video production.  In their ELA class, the students read the article and wrote a story about how their protagonist triumphed over challenges and became great.  In Math, students used ratios, rates and proportions to calculate how long it takes to be great based on how many hours per week they practice.  The math calculation was integrated into their storyline to explain how their main character became great at their chosen talent."

Students work on their storyboards.
We asked Colleen if she would recommend teachers to try using more video in their classrooms. She responded,  "I would definitely encourage teachers to integrate video into their teaching.  Math is probably the most difficult subject to integrate video, however, it can be done.  I would recommend that they participate in professional development opportunities prior to attempting to create an academic video project." 
When asked about how she felt about PSUSD's support of DIGICOM training and the Fellowship, she was unambiguous in her advocacy of the process and gratitude for the District's support. "I believe that our school district is more progressive than many other districts concerning technology and professional development.  As a result, my teaching has become more effective since moving here ten years ago.  I brag about what this District has to offer to all of my teaching friends in other Districts!"

The DIGICOM Fellowship is a PSUSD-supported program for selected teachers who've attended three or more of our Professional Development workshops and have committed to working closely with DIGICOM's faculty over this school year to reimagine their curriculum by integrating digital storytelling and media production. This year we have Fellows from K-12th grade classrooms and in multiple disciplines.
Read 602 times Last modified on Monday, 06 February 2017 17:53

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