Int. Education

Videos that speak to the heart

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Support Operation Smile and the 6th Graders at ISB by donating here
Support Operation Smile and the 6th Graders at ISB by donating here

There are days like yesterday when everything comes together technologically that allows you to create some of the most amazing artifacts.

Yesterday The Thinking Chick (my wife) sat down at around 2 o’clock and started working on a video that she wanted to create about her recent Operation Smile trip to Surin, Thailand with 9 middle school students.

8 Hours later she had created what I truly think is an amazing video capturing students feelings and reflections about the trip.

I was so proud of her. I didn’t help her out except to make lunch and dinner and keep her water glass full (still 90F here in Thailand….ug). About two hours into creating the video she looked at me and said “This is kind of addicting” to which of course I just smiles and refilled her water glass.

I don’t think we stop enough to really think about the power of the tools and the ease of use we have at our fingertips. Using iMovie ’09, a program that she had only about an hour of time playing with, she was able to manipulate video, audio, pictures, and words to create a heart felt video. I just marvel at her ability to see the movie in her head and then figure out how to put it all together on her own. An amazing testimonial to the power of the tools and my talented wife.

Of course that’s one thing….to have an adult take the time to sit down and create a video like this. But then Owain, a student that went on the trip, decided that he too wanted to share what he took away from the trip. So using Movie Maker on his computer at home, and in less than a day created this video. He sent the link to my wife in an e-mail that simple stated:

It’s nothing special, but it’s how I see it personally.

Nothing special? Other than here was a student so touched by his experience that he felt the need to share it with the world. He didn’t do it for a grade….because we don’t grade students on things like this. He didn’t do it because he was asked to, he did it because he was moved to.

This is what happens when we stop talking about technology and just let it be. Let it be what we do, let it do what it was meant to do; To create ideas, to share feelings, to communicate with the world. When we stop trying to use technology and just let it be is when it affects us the most.

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


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  4. Simple. Brilliant. Special. Life-changing. Thanks for reminding us what the purpose of education is. Knowledge that leads to action.

  5. Thank you for sharing this. Both videos are amazing and inspiring. But what really has me thinking is your final paragraph. I’m going to be thinking about that for a long time, I think. Thanks again.

  6. Hi Jeff Utecht,

    I work in the Student Programs department of Operation Smile. The videos created by your wife and her student are great. More and more of our student volunteers are creating videos to share their experiences, not only on a mission, but in within their Operation Smile clubs to share their passion for helping others.

    If it is okay with your wife and Owain, we would like to share the videos with others on our new online student community, OS Central ( On the site there is a section for K-8 students, high school students, and university students. We would like to post the videos and any other information about what the students at ISB are doing to help Operation Smile. Please pass my contact information to your wife. I hope to hear from her soon.

    Brittany Williams

  7. This is a great example of how technology has changed the creative process and the media process. It’s a paradigm shift that students, even young ones, should be learning…perhaps in school. But, what grades?

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