Jen Giffen is a Digital Literacy Consultant in the York Region DSB in Ontario, Canada.
Jen has been teaching for 18 years in a variety of roles. She has been a secondary English and math classroom teacher, a special education resource teacher, a literacy lead, a modern learning coach, a student success teacher, and most recently a digital literacy consultant. She is passionate about technology and co-hosts a podcast Shukes and Gifff. Teaching is her profession and her passion, and her drive to learn and create never ends.
Jen on Powerful Learning:
What’s one strategy teachers can use to incorporate powerful learning?
“Flipgrid portfolios. Have students record learning and reflections on a Flipgrid grid (each student having their own grid). Over time encourage students to watch past videos to see their growth.”
What book has influenced your thinking on powerful teaching and learning?
“The HyperDoc Handbook by Kelly Hilton, Lisa Highfill, and Sarah Landis. When I read this book in 2016 I realized just how powerful technology could be in the classroom. I loved how the authors gave examples of how to personalize learning using edtech tools and create blended learning environments.”
What’s a student project that demonstrates powerful learning?
“Sketchnoting is a powerful way for students to make meaning of their learning. Rather than traditional assessments, sketchnoting learning can allow students to synthesize learning in a non-traditional way.”
What’s something you would hope to hear from a former student?
“My biggest reward as a teacher would be to hear students say that I helped them to find the tools and gain the confidence to explore the possibilities of the world around them. I want to hear that I pushed them with kindness and empowered them to be critical thinkers and problem solvers.”
Ask Jen about:
“Reach out to me if you are looking to get into sketchnoting, if you are looking for digital tools to engage and empower students, and if you are interested in design thinking.”
“Based on the research I have done about sketchnoting, my own experience and watching students excel, I have come to see the many benefits of visual note-taking. Adding visuals increases retention by up to 65%. By taking notes visually, one can increase comprehension of data by 22-30%.”
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