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I am the Instructional Media Designer and co-coordinator for the Digital Liberal Arts Program at Whittier College.  My focus is to build programs and projects that blend pedagogy with digital technologies.  I teach digital storytelling as a pedagogical tool to engage students in higher order thinking, deep learning, and to build digital literacy skills. My teaching and learning interests are also mapping, blogging as scholarship, wearable technologies, and augmented reality tools.  I’m also interested in learning more about how technology can enhance study abroad opportunities for students.  In May 2016 I helped lead a series of digital storytelling workshops at Metro University College in Copenhagen. Collectively, our group of international students spoke over 13 different languages! You can read about our study abroad experience and watch student digital stories here: denmarkds.soniachaidez.com.

For the 2016-2017 academic year I want to keep exploring how we use mobile technologies creatively–from consumers to creators with technology. From pocket documentaries to iPhone photography and augmented reality techniques; how does this shape what we see and how we share our experiences?
Last fall I worked on a series of community workshops at the Boys & Girls Club of Whittier on mobile phone photography.  From snapshots to photo editing to photo archiving and sharing.  What do the pictures we capture; the filters we use and the subjects we choose say about us? How do we see our community through photos?  Our workshops turned into an awesome community photography exhibit hosted by Whittier Public Library.  Read more about this project here.
The photographs will be on display in Wardman Library at Whittier College in Spring 2017.

Now, a little #TBT : It all started when…

I was 10 years old, my dad let me borrow his JVC video camera to create a “Goonies” style movie starring my friends, the neighborhood kids in search of buried treasure.  I was instantly hooked to the storytelling power this mid 1980s technology gave me! In high school I enrolled in a newly offered broadcast journalism course that allowed me to write, direct and edit a news program that covered local activities, sports and events. It was my entry point into video editing -analog- which was frustrating!  If you got an edit wrong you had to start all over!  A year later our student-produced ‘news’ show got picked up by the local access cable channel and then it got serious- our audience wasn’t just our classroom but the larger community.  Our scripts got tighter and our stories became more critical.  It was our early 1990s version of open scholarship.

In college I enrolled as a Communications major envisioning myself as a news reporter or a film editor. My first internship gave me access to an AVID editing suite and my first taste of digital video editing. I just about lived in the lab exploring new ways to cut video clips instantly. It was awesome!

After graduating I joined my college’s instructional technology and academic computing department.  I worked with a creative and technical team to launch academic programming that focused on science and technology.  In grad school I partnered with a documentary filmmaker and soon I was traveling to places like Mexico, Cuba, Syria and Iraq to create films about women, cultures, space and place.

I am fascinated with how technology can create authentic learning experiences and I’m always game to experiment with a new project!