Monday, June 8, 2015

Momentous Inspirations

On Saturday, June 6, 2015, a momentous event happened at the 147th Belmont Stakes. The magnificent three year old, American Pharoah, became the Triple Crown winner making him the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown. As with all significant events in history, stories unfold and the need to preserve them becomes a priority. What marks the difference in today's digital age is the platform used to highlight the event. Speed and accuracy are important combinations in getting the news out. A measure of creativity adds another layer to publicizing an event. With the integration of digital media, a moment in time can be preserved in an expressive way that goes beyond the days of pasting a photo or news clipping in a scrapbook. 

This week, DigiLit Sunday's Challenge #3 centers around the topic of transformation. With ninety thousand spectators at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, it made sense to conveniently watch the race on our large screen TV rather than travel to the racetrack since traffic issues are always problematic on Long Island. This leisurely viewing afforded my family the pleasure of not only being part of a moment in history but capturing it live with a digital tool. 

As I watched the race, I noticed many people with their cameras and phones ready to photograph a photo finish shot. What made my task different was that I had to find the right angle to capture the essence of the moment while not being at the actual event. What you see below are photos taken with my iPhone 6 in my family room and then transformed into a watercolor using the app, Waterlogue. Not only was I able to freeze the excitement of the moment but transform the photos into artistic renderings. To publicize my work and preserve the historic feat, I tweeted out these images soon after American Pharoah won the race, underscoring the speed at which news can travel. 

Original photo

Transformed photo

To give the digital medium a literary focus, I created the following poem, Triple Crown Victory. Digipoetry has become another popular genre of writing in which tech is blended with lit. 

                                                   Triple Crown Victory 

With a dream and hope,
the rains lifted, 
and the sky opened.
Excitement was in the air.
Crowds raised their voices
and cheered.

The world stood still
in awe of the majesty
of a single horse and rider
moving beyond others
to make history.
CVarsalona ©2015


Here is the creative view of the photo finish shot of American Pharoah with his jockey, Victor Espinoza. I was able to capture the lightening-speed moment in time and preserve it for posterity.

After witnessing this significant moment in racing history, I listened to a commentary in which two words, dream and hope, were used to describe the lead up to the Triple Crown. I thought to myself, these same two words can be attributed to the education world? The American dream has always focused on education as the hope for the future so let's take the reins, grab our digital devices, and record "aha" moments in classrooms to "brand" the successes and publicize them?


A hero's tale came forth from the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. The world celebrated the joy. So too, each day schools celebrate the heroes of education: teachers, children, young adults with vision, dreams, and hopes.

Since it is the ending of a school year, educators around the globe are reflecting on their 2014-15 school year goals. Plans formulated by teachers and leaders are reviewed marking the steps taken toward the realization of achievement in social, emotional, and academic areas. 

Can we find a triple crown victory in the educational world?
Is there a photo finish moment to capture and publicize?

Perhaps the prize is rooted in three Ps: Passion - Patience - Perseverance.

Passion for teaching and learning
Patience of reflective practitioners
Perseverance to achieve the dream

American Pharoah's trainer, Bob Baffert, and his jockey, Victor Espinoza, held on to all three Ps: passion, patience, and perseverance as they strategically planned for the Triple Crown. Espinoza said that he knew success was in his reach during the last length of the race. He realized his dream as he crossed the finish line. Baffert's hopes were written on his face as demonstrated by the live feed.

At the end of the school year, the photo finish shot reflects the transformation of students from consumers of information to creators and sharers of knowledge. What is seen in the faces of learners are the smiles of accomplishment. What is noted in their writing is the reflective journey of learning. In the hearts of their teachers lies the passion for inspiring youth. The patience of reflective practice and the perseverance to achieve the dream of success for each and every student can be witnessed if photos were captured to freeze the moments. 

Dressed in the colors of hope, educators run the race valiantly each year as their students approach the finish line.  The diligent efforts of a year of learning need to be publicized, just as the dreams and hopes of American Pharoah and his jockey were. 

With a dream and hope for success,
the year ends.
Summer opens its doors.
Excitement fills the air.
Students raise their voices
and cheer.

Teachers stand still
in awe of the growth
of their young charges
from their initial entry
to dreams realized.

Hope springs from each
race to the finish line.
Learning becomes the prize.
CVarsalona ©2015

Transformation is a process. Moments in time can be preserved through digital means-a step-by-step journey of life and learning's growth. It is up to us to find the means to freeze the moments in time and publicize the good work of eduheroes and their learners who run a valiant race each year. 

With inspiration for the transformative work of educators around the world, a Hall of #EduHero Voices has been built as a digital global gallery. You can access the site here and hopefully be moved to create your own digital #eduinspiration to preserve the hope and dreams of education.

Please visit DigiLit Sunday created by Margaret Simon
to read each blogger's response to DigiLit Challenge #3.

DigiLit Sunday

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