Fall Update from Tel.A.Vision

Up With People
In October I visited Washington DC to watch the Up With People show, then followed the cast to Harrisonburg,   Virginia to teach a select group of cast members and the management team about Tel.A.Vision. Up With People is a group of International students that travel the world bringing a message of peace, hope and possibility. They have been doing this since 1965.
In January I will be training their whole cast in Tel.A.Vision and beginning our vision of bringing vision videos to 6th grade students in communities they travel to. In addition to the 80 cast members we hope to work with the 20,000 alumni and have them bring Tel.A.Vision  to their communities.

In November I participated in the Big Tent Conference in Houston. We created a new product called Spark.A.Vision. It is a combination of Dr. Peter Benson’s work on Sparks and Tel.A.Vision. Dr. Benson’s research has shown that what every young person needs for a successful upbringing is to find his/her spark in life and have three adults support them. Tel.A.Vision  is a way to help a young person identify their spark and share it with the world. We had a fabulous response in Houston and look forward to collaborating to bring this to the world. W believe this work could be enhanced by proposed regulations to begin Career and College Preparedness with students in sixth grade.
Here is a video where students talk about their experience creating Spark.A.Vision videos.

TIES Conference
In December Bob Dockendorf, Gwen Toppe and I presented at the TIES Conference. Bob is the Principal of Big Lake High School. This fall Big Lake held “Transition Day” for all ninth graders on the first day of school. Every ninth grader began a Tel.A.Vision  video on that day. Teachers created videos that they shared with the students. They talked to the students about the importance of having a vision for their lives. At the conference Bob shared stories of the difference the program has made with individual students and initial results from the vision videos. These results included a 2.6% increase in attendance and a 30% drop in the number of write ups for disciplinary problems.

Foundation Grants
This fall we received a Community Grant from the Best Buy Foundation to fund expansion of Tel.A.Vision in Twin Cities Schools. In 2011 we will be funding research on Tel.A.Vision’s effectiveness and a number of pilot programs for At Risk youth. With a grant from the Rothmann Family Foundation we have funded programs including the use of Tel.A.Vision by youth at the Mercy Center in Bangkok, http://www.mercycentre.org. Mercy Center is a hospital for children with AIDS. They will be creating vision videos to send to their sponsors.
If you know of any foundations or organizations you think would be interested in helping fund Tel.A.Vision please let us know.

Quotes from Nebraska High School Students
This fall we received testimonials from High School Students in Nebraska who had completed vision videos. In this blog post we share some of the quotes. Here is one of our favorites: “Thank you soooo much I was really having a tough time in my life and wasnt really paying attention to anything. I drank and I was even considering joining a gang but now this has really just set me back an my path and I can actually see wer im going so thank you.”

Tel.A.Vision Launches New Curriculum and New Site License Program To Include At-Risk and Special Education Programs

Students Demonstrate Deeper Engagement with School Because of Tel.A.Vision

MINNEAPOLIS (December 15, 2009) – Tel.A.Vision, the proven Web 2.0 online curriculum that inspires youth to create and share visions of hope and possibility through personal “vision videos” announced today the launch of their new curriculum and new site license program.
Realizing that the greatest benefit of Tel.A.Vision is with our most vulnerable students, Tel.A.Vision has relaunched its curriculum with a focus on Special Ed and At Risk students.

The United States dropout rate is 30% per year. Many of these students are not engaged in thinking about their future, they drop out because they feel no hope. With Tel.A.Vision they feel more optimistic about their future, more hopeful, more engaged and have more reason to stay in school.

Tel.A.Vision’s new Site License Program is designed to be purchased for Special Education students. Schools purchase a yearly subscription for each Special Education student and that also includes group accounts for all other classrooms at no additional charge. This New Site License Program was designed to help schools and districts decrease the dropout rate for these vulnerable students while also promoting academic achievement in every classroom. This convenient, low-cost, license purchase covers all student, teacher and administrator use at a school. The site license includes a curriculum guide, lesson plans, and on-line media so each lesson can be taught with a computer and projector or/and an interactive whiteboard.

The extensive curriculum for Special Education and At Risk students was created under the direction of Dr. Christy Chambers, past president of CASE (Council of Administrators of Special Education) and past superintendent of Special Education District of McHenry County, Woodstock, IL. This new curriculum will decrease the number of Special Education and At Risk dropouts by providing that students  tools to create a new way of thinking positively about their futures by giving them more hope and more social and emotional support.

“We are seeing increased use of Tel.A.Vision in several of our schools, elementary and secondary and an interest in using it by other schools in our district,” stated Mike Dronen District Technology Coordinator at Stillwater Area Public Schools. “When one firsts look at Tel.A.Vision, it may not seem particularly significant, but once you see students working with it and showing their Tel.A.Vision videos, the possibilities for impacting students are amazing.”

“Tel.A.Vision wants to ensure that all students, including our most vulnerable students, have the opportunity to feel valued and to stay in school. I believe that we have a vision deficit in the world and that everything starts with vision. Our students need to envision graduating from high school,” stated George Johnson of Tel.A.Vision. “Tel.A.Vision is a cost effective way to keep students engaged in school. Our thoughts matter. And students using Tel.A.Vision are focusing their thoughts on their desired future. We have found that hope breeds success and Tel.A.Vision definitely offers hope to our students.”

About Tel.A.Vision

Tel.A.Vision was created by former Special Education teacher turned entrepreneur, George Johnson. Tel.A.Vision is a Web 2.0 online curriculum that inspires youth to create and share visions of hope and possibility through personal “vision videos”.  The Tel.A.Vision technology platform was designed for all youth, but the focus is the Special Education and At Risk student.
For more information, or to create and share a vision for a better world, visit www.telavision.tv

Tel.A.Vision Forms Partnership with Minnesota TIES

Alliance Will Benefit Tel.A.Vision, TIES and Their Affiliates

MINNEAPOLIS (December 1, 2009) – Tel.A.Vision, the proven Web 2.0 online curriculum that inspires youth to create and share visions of hope and possibility through personal “vision videos” announced today their partnership with TIES, the Minnesota Education Technology Collaborative that brings together technology and education to create comprehensive, cutting-edge solutions for school administrators, educators and students.

Tel.A.Vision will support TIES’s growth and development by offering preferred services and discounts to TIES members. TIES will promote the benefits and savings of Tel.A.Vision’S curriculum that combines compelling words, images and music to create a vision video of their desired future.

Tel.A.Vision has proven to be successful with all students, but especially those at risk and those receiving special educations services. The program engages students in a meaningful way, allows their voices to be heard, has improved AYP and helps to decrease the dropout rate.

“We have seen what Tel.A.Vision has done for students in Minnesota. We know firsthand that this partnership holds great potential for the districts that we serve,” said Marla Davenport, Co-Director of Learning and Technology. “The TIES and Tel.A.Vision missions speak to increasing the availability of technology and improving learning outcomes for students. Together we can leverage our strengths to further these outcomes.”

“TIES is a leader in providing cutting edge technology and software solutions to schools in Minnesota. Both organizations know that if there ever was a time in history where we quickly need to plant and cultivate seeds of hope, imagination and vision, the time is now,” stated George Johnson of Tel.A.Vision. “We know that TIES is the right partner for us to reach more students that crave the opportunity to build connections to their communities and engage in academics.”

About TIES

TIES was created as Technology Information Education Services in 1967 to provide technology and information resources to school administrators, educators and students. It is now known solely by the acronym TIES. For more information go to:  www.ties.k12.mn.us

Tel.A.Vision Featured on B2E News Alert

We visited with Anne Wujcik at the National Educational Computer Conference in Washington DC. Anne is, among other things, the Editor of B2E News Alert, Business Education Intelligence from QED and the Heller Report.

wujcik_anneAnne Wujcik —Friday, July 10, 2009

George Johnson, founder and CEO of TEL·A·VISION, is a man on a mission. TEL·A·VISION ‘s mission is to inspire youth to identify and express their unique gifts in service of a better world for all. It does this by providing tools that make it very easy for anyone to create a Vision Video.

The technology is powered by One True Media, a TEL·A·VISION partner and maker of online software that allows people to easily create and share video montages. The vision comes from the hearts and souls of students who use their videos to share their passion, explores the possibilities or frame their dreams.

The TEL·A·VISION web site features six tutorials that walk the user through the process of creating a Vision Video. There is a complete Curriculum Guide to help teachers or adult mentors lead students through the Vision process from start to finish, supported by video tutorials that explain the process of each unit. As George shared some of the Vision Videos with me and talked about the students who had created them, I could see how powerful this tool could be, not only for goal setting and developing communication and technology skills, but for helping educators learn more about their students.

TEL·A·VISION is a technology platform for everyone (I could see myself using this tool, though I have resisted manipulating video and even photos, to date), but its focus is the special ed and at-risk student. George talks about special education teachers who use their students’ videos to help regular classroom teachers see beyond the students’ particular problems to their potential. TEL·A·VISION offers teachers new insights into students’ goals, values and dreams, opening the door to enhanced communication and a better understanding of their needs and how to help them succeed. Check out a few student example videos at http://telavision.tv/student-examples

Vision Videos Empower Students – District Administration

A new Web-based tool, Tel.A.Vision, inspires young people to dream the possible dream.

By Mary Johnson Patt June 2009

District Administration Magazine, the magazine of School district Management, completed a three page article on Tel.A.Vision  in its June/ July NECC issue. Here is an excerpt: le-girlsIn early March, as he addressed the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., President Obama spoke at great length of the reforms he believes will give Americans “a complete and competitive education, from the cradle up through a career.” The proposals he laid out for improving early childhood education, K12 standards and assessments, graduation rates, teacher quality and college funding will be debated for months to come by thousands of school administrators, teachers, parents and politicians. It was the voice of a single teenager, however, that helped drive the president’s messages home that day.

At the end of his speech, Obama quoted Yvonne Boroquez, a California student whose high school class recently made a video exploring the impact of the economic crisis on their dreams of higher education and professional employment.

“It was heartbreaking that a girl so full of promise was so full of worry that she and her class titled their video ‘Is Anybody Listening?’” Obama said. “I am listening. We are listening. America is listening,” the president assured Boroquez and her classmates.

“We have a huge vision deficit in this country,” Johnson explains. “There is so much fear and negativity, especially in the media. I decided to start a movement about bringing more hope and possibility into the world, and to do it by helping kids create little three-minute visions of what they want their life to become.”

Enter Tel.A.Vision. Johnson’s free Web tool gives today’s tech-savvy youth everything they need to create and share “vision videos.” A Tel.A.Vision is essentially a highly personal montage combining a student’s written hopes and dreams with still photographs, music and computer animation—created with tools available online at www.telavision.tv.

Read the entire District Administration article here

Big News From Tel.A.Vision

5th Graders at Clear Springs Elementary on Parents Night

5th Graders at Clear Springs Elementary on Parents Night

The BIG news is that Tel.A.Vision  is becoming a non profit. Actually, it has always been a not for profit but we are just making it official. This will allow us to seek funds from foundations and individuals. I know that we will probably be rejected 10 times before we find someone willing to help fund us so if you know any organization or individual willing to be one of the first to talk to us let us know.

It’s hard to believe we launched only 8 months ago. In that time our partner Haberman has done a great job of getting us in all of the local press as well as the Christian Science Monitor. We had a successful Tel.A.Vision Day with a 24 hour broadcast of Tel.A.Vision videos on the Internet ( Thank you Steve). In May we did our first NYC press tour and from that will be covered in a 4 page spread in District Administration (Thank you Sue), a feature in Family Circle and have been told we will be in Scholastic and Time For Kids.

We have some exciting partnerships we are  working on.

  1. Having 6th, 9th and 12th graders in the Minneapolis Schools create vision videos as part of graduation requirements,
  2. Working with TIES Education,
  3. Partnering with Youth Services of America to create Service Learning videos,
  4. Working with The Discipline of Peace and Culture of Peace Initiative to create Peace videos,
  5. Discussions with SEARCH Institute and Templeton Press on creating a Vision Curriculum with Dr. Benson’s New book “Vision”
  6. An invitation to visit the staff of the Fetzer Institute.

While all of this holds great potential the most rewarding work has been to see the difference Tel.A.Vision  is having on youth. Three projects stand out.

  1. Working with the Divas of North Minneapolis. The Star Tribune did a nice article on them.
  2. Spending a day at Angelo Patri Middle School in the Bronx with 18 young people creating a new vision for their school ( The video is below). Their Vide Principal cried when she say it.
  3. Parent night at a Clear Springs Elementary in Minnetonka, where 75 people showed up to view amazing videos created by 5th graders .

We’ve started a new contest called “100 words for $100″. Tell us how you have used Tel.A.Vision and win a chance for $100.

Thank you all for your support of Tel.A.Vision. If you would like to receive regular updates on Tel.A.Vision sign up in the upper right hand corner.

DIVAs aim for right notes

Project DIVA connects caring adults who act as mentors with girls planning where their lives will take them.

Photo by Neal St. Anthony

Photo by Neal St. Anthony

In a front page business section article in today’s Star Tribune columnist Neal St. Anthony features project Divas and the difference creating Tel.A.Vision  videos has made in their lives.

“I have a vision of my future that helps me stay on track,” said Caprice Whimper, 16, a student at Dunwoody Academy, a charter school. “I want to be an ‘A’ student. And I want to be an ‘OB-GYN’ doctor. I take care of young siblings. And I always have wanted to help women and kids.”

Teara Hinton, 14, another North Side resident and student at Armstrong High in Plymouth, also envisions a medical career.

“My aunt is a nurse,” Hinton said. “I want to be a doctor, a pediatrician, and work in the city with kids.”

The Divas were training other youth to do TELA.VISION  videos at the Wired for 2020 event sponsored by the Minnesota Mentoring Partnership, www.mentoringworks.org


Tel.A.Vision and Minneapolis Public School Graduation Requirements

southwest-journalIn a feature story in today’s  Southwest Journal, Tel.A.Vision’s new relationship with the Minneapolis Public Schools is explained.

Tel.A.Vision will be incorporated into Minneapolis Public Schools My Life Plan, a post-college planning activity that is required for graduation beginning next school year. Creating a vision video will be one option for seniors to complete the My Life Plan requirements.

For Minneapolis Public School students, the vision videos they create using Tel.A.Vision will focus on post-high school college and career aspirations.

Southwest’s Jastrow said high school seniors would have the option of creating a vision video for their capstone project, the final step in completing My Life Plan. For their capstone project, seniors must produce something — such as an essay or art project — that both reflects on their high school career and also looks ahead to life after high school.

Jastrow said the district’s AchieveMpls coordinators and licensed school counselors recently were trained in using Tel.A.Vision. Several of the adults created their own videos within an hour or so of being introduced to the program, which means Tel.A.Vision should be a snap for today’s tech-savvy kids, she said.

Jastrow said students are drawn to interactive media. And like generations of teens long before the Internet Age, they crave control.

That’s exactly what Tel.A.Vision gives them, she said.

“They’re able to combine music and pictures [with] their thoughts and personality,” Jastrow said. “They can put their stamp on what it will be.

Educators Tout Tel.A.Vision in Today’s StarTribune

tel-startribune“It has had a profound effect on how they [students] treat each other in the hallway,” said Lake Elmo Elementary School principal Andy Fields during an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune this week. Fields’ positive feedback is communicated throughout the Tel.A.Vision feature story in today’s Metro section. Additionally, Minneapolis Public Schools counselor Shelly Landry communicates her excitement about the fact that her students will have the opportunity to create Tel.A.Vision videos next fall.

While the story as a whole captures the progress Tel.A.Vision is making across the State of Minnesota, it’s the feedback from those in the field, those who’ve successfully incorporated Tel.A.Vision into their curriculum, that is especially rewarding to read.

Tel.A.Vision on Television: Our Founder on KARE-TV

george-on-kare11Since its inception, Tel.A.Vision has been well received by educators, youth leaders and students. Most recently, we’ve seen the media embrace Tel.A.Vision as well. From the Christian Science Monitor to FOX-TV, reporters nationwide are noticing Tel.A.Vision and its potential. More importantly, these reporters “get it.” They get that now more than ever we need more hope and positivity in the world, and that hope for a better future is best instilled in tomorrow’s leaders – our youth.

Yesterday, Tel.A.Vision founder George Johnson joined KARE-TV’s Diana Pierce for a live segment discussing Tel.A.Vision and the upcoming Tel.A.Vision Day on March 20th. In three minutes, George took Diana and KARE’s audience on a tour of Tel.A.Vision, including his motivation for founding it and the simple process for creating a vision video. Additionally, our “Vision for America” contest also was highlighted, and people nationwide were encouraged to enter their vision for America video by midnight this Thursday.

The next media outlet to catch on to our movement? Minnesota’s own Cities 97. Tune in this Friday morning, Tel.A.Vision Day, as George joins morning show host B.T. from the NYLC conference in Nashville. If you miss the live segment, don’t worry. Check back here for full audio.