Storyboards One Year Later: A Reflection by Heidi Hayes Jacobs

Heidi Hayes Jacobs working with educators

In a very real way, the PASCD Summer Institute was our own storyboard: a continuation of our story on developing workshops and immersive experiences for our colleagues out in the field.

Last June, Allison Zmuda and I had the opportunity to work with the World of Learning Project in the Altoona, Pennsylvania area. This was really our first storyboarding workshop and we had a wonderful group of educators participating. Building on that experience, we have learned a great deal over the last year as we work with schools and organizations focused on storyboarding. The observations we have gleaned helped us to inform the design of the PASCD Institute. In a sense, the Institute became a new episode on our journey.

Two adjustments that we made based on those learnings were striking to me.

First, we got into storyboarding right out of the gate.

Of course we took time to reflect on the need for storyboarding, its value, and the reasons to consider this format when working with students. But, we also recognized that starting to craft storyboards right away was critical to help our participants reach understanding. Otherwise, the concept was too abstract.

Second, we focused on the streamlining process at the end of the institute.

We looked at the process of determining what to cut, consolidate, and create after we’d already had the experience in a microcosm — a safe place, so to speak — to do some of that work ourselves, as folks were drafting their storyboards.

I always learn so much working with educators. We had an amazing, wide ranging group, which also affects the experience. We had PD developers and people from intermediate units, which are regional service centers in Pennsylvania. We had marvelous classroom teachers, representing a range of student age levels. There were educators focused ont career opportunities and work-force opportunities.

Every time I work alongside Allison is an unequivocal joy. What a brilliant, insightful, honest and compassionate colleague! Her wealth of experience in the field really informed this episode and our institute storyboard.

We both learn a lot every time we collaborate, from one another and from those who participate. I’m very much looking forward to the next episode.

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