56. Traveling to Two Moons, with Matthew Tom

What can we educators do to insure that kids coming out of elementary school don’t have their natural, innate curiosity, creativity and ingenuity crushed out of them by middle school, and later, high school? What is student-driven learning and what is the real meaning of student agency? In this episode I interviewed Matthew Tom, a teacher and media specialist at Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School in central Honolulu on O’ahu. Matthew engages his students in ways I find completely inspiring and want everyone to know about. He is the Faculty advisor for Stevenson’s media service organization, which specializes in event photography and producing digital media content for the school. Matthew’s program seeks to build and maintain a positive campus culture, excite students about photography and videography, and build student skills in digital media production. Matthew is also the faculty advisor for Tusitala, which is the Literary and Arts Magazine at Stevenson recently recognized by the National Council of Teachers of English. Tusitala means “the teller of tales” in Samoan and is the name Samoans gave to Robert Louis Stevenson when he traveled there. Matthew has taught or been an edtech specialist in Hawaii, Japan and Washington. His undergraduate in English is from Willamette University. He has a masters in curriculum and teaching from the University of Oregon and is currently in a professional practice, doctoral program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa. Matthew’s teacher website is an absolute wonderland of student exhibitions of learning and imaginative curriculums. In the years ahead Matthew will be one of Hawaii’s leaders when it comes to students owning their learning journeys. As always, our theme music and post production is provided by Daniel Gilad of DG Sound Creations. For more on Daniel, or to book him for your next music gig, check out his new website or Facebook page. Please stay safe, wear your masks and bring kindness into the world. Until next time!  

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