When Jen Giffen signed us up for a slot on what would become a 15 hour VoicEd-Radiothon, I was nervously excited. I was going to be interviewing @virtualgiff for her P3 in the most non-virtual way possible: intimately situated in her house, face-to-face, and live on the radio.  Although we are live on the weekly #ONedmentorsshow, this was my first go at a live Personal Playlist Podcast. Once the intro music began, however, my nerves faded, and I fully engaged in introducing this accomplished and energetic guest.

Jen Giffen is a Digital Literacy Resource Teacher at the York Region District School Board. She is a Google for Education Certified Innovator, and a Flipgrid Ambassador. She is also a sketchnoter who will be presenting on this important tool at YRDSB’s upcoming QUEST2017 conference. Jen is the co-coordinator of the upcoming EdTechCamp2017 with Kim Pollishuke, where I am among the presenters on October 14, 2017. Jen Giffen, the mother of three boys ages 7 and under, is an EdTech leader and a cheerleader.

Jen found the preparation of her playlist particularly challenging. Her #OneSong, if asked, would be U2’s With or Without You, but choosing her 3 Personal Playlist songs was a bit more difficult . She was at a cottage with a few friends celebrating someone’s milestone birthday and began discussing the song selections for her playlist. Even though a lot of possible choices arose and some good discussion with this celebratory crew ensued, she went with her gut and returned to her 3 initial song choices. While anyone’s playlist can change over time, the #P3 is a snapshot in time enhanced through whatever narrative the individuals chose to share.
When Jen introduced her nostalgic song, she expressed that it is one that surprises her. It comes in rare moments that bring an emotional weight that always really hits her. This song reminds her of her parents and how wonderful they are. She spoke about being the only child. Her joke is that, “My parents stopped at perfection.” The artist wrote this song for the woman who became his wife. He once said,  “Suddenly, I’m hypersensitive to how beautiful everything is. All of these things filled up my senses, and when I said this to myself unbidden images came one after the other. All of the pictures merged and I was left with Annie. That song was the embodiment of the love I felt at that time.” This song fills Jen with love. It’s about her parent’s love and the love she has for her parents and her whole family. She took us all the way back to when she was eight and called this a song that, “Brings out emotion in me like no other.” Here is Annie’s Song by John Denver.
As Jen began telling the story of her identity song, I couldn’t wait to cue it up. It was partially because of the movie soundtrack that it came from and partially because it is such a great tune. It was actually the first song from her wedding for which she almost fired the DJ for questioning her choice for their first dance. “I love the energy of the song, I love the passion…” As a nostalgic song, it’s nice to, “…reminisce about the days of old,” but as a song that reflects who she is, this song shows that Jen likes the familiar and needs time to adapt to change.  “I have really deep roots,” said our guest when talking how this song relates to her life. When a lot is coming at her, she needs a touchstone like this song to feel grounded and get comfortable.  This song, for which I joyfully tweeted the scene from the film Risky Business, is a really energetic song and one that really gets “you out on the floor”. Here’s Old Time Rock n Roll by Bob Seger. Stephen Hurley, our producer (and so much more), was busy dancing while the song played and almost forgot to fade it out.
The third song in the Personal Playlist Podcast framework has a lot of room for interpretation. The category is an anthem or theme song, and it is most often explained as a motivational/inspirational pick-me-up song. This last song in Jen’s P3 comes under all of those definitions. She referred to it as an anthem for anyone working through something or trying to persevere through something. Jen first heard this song when watching The Ellen Show with Calysta Bevier. If you haven’t seen this episode, get a tissue. She associated in with many different kinds of battles such as fighting cancer or living with mental illness. Jen also referred to her sketchnote of her inner critic, which is a reflection of a quiet but intense battle we often fight with ourselves.

She refers to a line from the song and adds, “The wrecking balls inside my brains really speak to me about how hard we are on ourselves.“ We had enough time to play the song in its entirety for all those who needing an anthem for determination. It is song that always builds her up. Here is Fight Song from Rachel Platten.
It was a pleasure interviewing Jen and enjoying her lovely backyard afterward. I look forward to continue learning from her through what she posts on her feed and her great insights on Thursdays nights.

Source: Noa Daniel