By Karolina Manko, Education Assistant07.21.14
Eighty-five Pre-K – 12 educators gathered today for the start of 2014 Summer Teachers Institute, a week-long experience across the JBFC campus. Daniel Liss, designer and creative director of S+7, opened the Institute with a poignant multi-media presentation that drew a theoretical line from the invention of cinema in the 1800’s to the capability we all have as makers today with cameras in our pocket. He challenged the participants to shoot a 6 second Vine-video inspired by the constraints of the Lumiere brothers. The deadline is noon on Thursday, so Liss can compose a “Vine Symphony” from all the submissions. The premiere of the Vine Symphony will be Friday afternoon’s closing session, so stay tuned to see our collective creativity on the big screen.
The latter half of the morning featured Jodorowsky’s Dune, a documentary film about the “the greatest movie never made.” What does a failed conceptual sci-fi masterpiece have to do with professional development for teachers? A lot, actually. The documentary explores the idea that creativity is about the journey rather than the end result. Process, collaboration, and above all, willingness and openness, are essential to teaching. As the week progresses and all of the Summer Teachers Institute participants learn about ways to engage their students in the digital and visual realms, we want to emphasize the importance of process and imagination. Jodorowsky urges, “have the greatest ambition possible!” While Dune never made it to the big screen (or even to the studio, for that matter) it still had a tremendous impact on the world. And as Daniel Liss said in this morning’s speech, “small things have the potential to be really huge!” This year’s Summer Teachers Institute aims to empower all of our participants with the knowledge that visual literacy education is about encouraging students to lead more examined lives one video/tweet/photograph at a time.