Michael wanted to tell his story but he needed help. So, teacher John Lozano helped Michael find his voice through video. Although it took seven months to craft and edit, Michael's video is released first on YouTube (then removed for reasons John shares on the show). After editing, it is rereleased on NextVista.org. This touching story points to something many of us are finding out: video gives us a powerful way to help kids with special needs share their story.
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I love John's authenticity for the struggle but his passion for helping Michael share his story. As soon as the other children see the video, John says they start to understand Michael better. As can be seen from this story, every student needs a voice, whether via blog, audio, or video. Let's help them develop that voice.
Of course, we must add our voices too. In this story, my friend Rushton Hurley told me about Michael and John. Rushton used his connection, not to promote himself but to help another. With this in mind, we all must be advocates to help students who have important messages like Michael's be noticed.
Every child we teach matters. Uniquely, this modern age has given us the opportunity to take the pressure of a live audience off of students. To be fair, I believe that students on the autism spectrum should be given opportunities to create videos instead of always being force fit into live presentations.
Applause to John, Michael and Michael's mom for sharing Michael's story and the bravery that comes with “putting yourself out there.” If you are inspired, leave Michael a message in the comments. (Notably, these comments are moderated so give them a chance to go live.)
Here's the thing about Michael that impresses me. Although Michael has autism; autism doesn't have Michael. There's a difference. This young man will tell his story to the world. As can be seen in this story, he and his Mom will help him reach out and be the best Michael he can be.
In summary, Michael and his mom have been empowered by a visionary hard-working teacher who didn't do this for the notice he would get. John Lozano did it for Michael. And in helping Michael find his voice, John is now a voice for what can be done when you use technology to embolden and empower every child.
Hats off to you too, John Lozano, you've shared a best practice that matters: using video with special needs kids. Great work!
Michael's Video: My Name is Michael
Show Notes: John Lozano ECM Show #73
John Lozano is a Resource Specialist at Easterbrook Discovery School in San Jose, California. He used video to teach digital storytelling to a student labelled with autism. The student created a video telling others about being someone labelled with autism. His video created empathy with his fellow students about the problems he experiences.
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