Actionable Innovations Conversations Shownotes: Steve Douglass

Winter Series 2022 — Week 5

Steve Douglass

Educator Steve Douglass joined us for a truly inspirational Actionable Innovations Conversation on February 18, 2022. We appreciate Steve taking the time to share his innovation story and his teaching philosophy. Steve had particularly thoughtful responses to Don’s Proust questionnaire!

Steve Douglass has taught New Media at Lake Forest High School, on the Northshore of Chicago, since 2005 after finishing a Masters in Media with an emphasis in Media Literacy. Previously he worked in Studio Production at ESPN producing highlights for SportsCenter, ESPNews, and their many specialty shows. Today his focus is taking their efficient storytelling format and democratizing through teaching students throughout the year. Summer Stories grew from a pilot in Chicago to dynamic initiatives in St. Louis with the Cardinals and throughout the world focusing on guiding students through the video storytelling process as personally and authentically as possible.

Some highlights:

  • The idea of educators dedicating ourselves to service
  • He learned from various experience entrepreneurs: “In order to understand entrepreneurship, you have to experience it.”
  • The experience of failing is important and valuable.
  • Helping students tell their personal stories to specific audiences is his passion within the production and content-area courses that he teaches.
  • Iteration is an essential process throughout education.
  • Give and receive grace because none of us is perfect.
  • Design thinking and teaching processes are beneficial to neurodiverse learners. As Don mentioned, learning differently is a blessing in disguise because it teaches problem-solving skills. Introverted learners, too, benefit from digital storytelling as well.
  • The Chicago Summer Stories project came from his thinking about how to translate his work at Lake Forest High School and create an impact for students in other schools.
  • Build leadership opportunities for students to serve other people. “How do you want to serve other people” is a question that sets the culture of his classes.
  • He tells students who serve as teaching assistants in his classes that colleges and employers are looking for “good people that want to solve problems, to think critically, to be able to produce, and to be able to work as a team.”
  • Providing opportunities for students to reflect on their learning through videos is helpful.

Watch the full episode to learn more about how to infuse student-driven, project-based experiential learning into core content courses. Also, find out how the actor Vince Vaughn became involved in Steve’s Chicago Summer Stories program and their plans for the future!


Next Actionable Innovations Conversations

Ketan and Manish Kothari are the inventors of the AlphaSmart device, co-founders of Root-1, and led Edmodo for a number of years. The brothers will join us on February 25th to share their entrepreneurship journey. It is essential that educators have an understanding of the business side of education, and Ketan and Manish will give us insight. Conversely, entrepreneurs need to hear from educators, so I hope

Dr. Gary Stager will join us on March 4th and Alefiya Master will be our guest on March 11th. Alefiya is the founder and CEO of MAD-learn, an app development program for students. New to our lineup is Sandee Kastrul, the President of i.c. stars, an IT training non-profit that works with young adults and companies in Chicago and Milwaukee. Sandee is a former classroom teacher and will have insight into workforce development.

You won’t want to miss any of these inspirational speakers! Register today for our future events. Follow Actionable Innovations on social media, too.




Inspiring Actionable Innovations is a publication in which educators, organization leaders, and entrepreneurs share resources and explore ideas related to global education innovation. Want to contribute a story? Let us know.

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Lucy Gray

Lucy Gray

Apple Distinguished Educator Lucy Gray is an educator and consultant. She is also the co-founder of Actionable Innovations Global PLC!

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