University of Alaska Southeast

Ohler Wins WOW Award for Educational Technology

Juneau, AK
Date of Press Release: Nov 24, 2008

It’s not about glitz or money but the power of story and getting kids to speak in their own digital language, combining traditional and emerging literacy in what I call the DAOW of  literacy (Digital Art Oral Written).” --Jason Ohler

A group that champions the use of technology in higher education has presented UAS faculty Jason Ohler with an international award. The Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications (WCET) Outstanding Work (WOW) Award recognizes the innovative uses of educational technologies in higher education.

The University of Alaska Geography Program and the University of Alaska Southeast Stories of Culture and Place (SOCAP) program that Ohler began encourages students to create media by telling their own stories. “In the digital age, being able to just “read” the web, movies and other media does not suffice,” said Ohler.  “We also must be able to write them if we are to share in their empowerment and critically evaluate their impacts on society.”

The statewide project was the main focus of Ohler’s five years as a UA president's professor in Juneau, Petersburg, Nome, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Wasilla, Haines, Klukwan and other communities.

SOCAP got kids to tell their stories using new media to improve literacy, explore academic areas, explore personal and cultural issues and to promote health. Ohler helped students plan, perform and write stories that they converted to new media format using free software.

“It’s been my privilege to witness SOCAP’s profound impact on a diverse high school student population,” said Juneau-Douglas School District K-12 Native student success coordinator Barbara Cadiente Nelson.  “The rebellious, the isolate, the emotionally impaired, and the naturally talented discovered the hero within through the art of digital storytelling. The Story of Culture and Place program bridges the achievement gap.”

“I’m very proud of all the work teachers and students did,” said Ohler. Jason Ohler has published a book,  Digital Storytelling  and a number of articles. He frequently presents at Alaskan and national education conferences.

Project website: http://www.jasonohler.com/projects/socap.cfm

Contacts:

Dr. Jason Ohler

President's Professor of Educational Technology

(907) 796-6427