I teach filmmaking and new media in a program I created for a high school in Los Angeles.
Last Conversation Piece, by Juan Munoz as a media literacy film
I shot this film by walking around the statues once, and put it together to show the effects of point of view and framing. No music or movement were intentional. Now I'm using it with beginning film students to have them focus on developing an audio track. It's fascinating seeing how different minds work through an open ended assignment, especially when we share our processes and learn from each other.
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Your program sounds wonderful. I like the idea about the cameras. I demonstrate how to use the cameras, no tests involved. I name them though, and kids have to sign them out and then back in again every time they use one.
We have been lucky with funding. Our first computer (2002) was acquired through a multicultural fashion show that we put on. The school has been fabulously supportive, plus we produce and sell the yearbooks, so we have been able to buy a few each year. We started with one class in 2003, and now have 9 classes (30 kids each). The admin can see that this is what kids want, so they support us. They just finished putting in a 2nd lab of 20 computers in the room next door. This lab will also serve the new IB program that the school has just adopted.
Our music dept has a parent council that raises money for them.
Is your Media Arts courses under the Arts umbrella?
My classes are under the English dept. We are in the process in our english dept of revamping things. We have been teaching the same core novels for the last 50 years - probably longer. We want to start having a list of novels for kids to choose from, then they teach the class what they have learned from their readings. We have serious resistance to this, but our curriculum documents clearly state that we need more diverse selections of readings. What does your English dept have as the core reading the classes? We have The Chrysalids in grade 9, To Kill a Mockingbird in grade 10, and Lord of the FLies and Of Mice and Men in grade 11. Grade 12 has Frankenstein, In the Heat of the Night. Our english dept is stuck in the dinosaur age.
I have posted a number of our student films on the school web site, if you have time to check it out: http://www.hwdsb.on.ca/westdale/FilmPages/Films.html
My classes work on the web site, creating content and designing pages. It is a work in progress...
We are also looking for more ways to get computers into the hands of all our students. We are considering netbooks. Do you have any experience with them?
We are also looking to buy a touch screen computer for the school announcements instead of the morning ritual. What does your school do for morning announcements?
Great to hear from you! We have a lot of fun creating with Photoshop, Final Cut and Motion. What types of assignments are you doing? We do a little stop frame animation in grade 10, we call it pixellation. Its just taking a sequence of digital photographs with a tripod and placing them onto the timeline of Final Cut. In grade 11, we do documentaries, and in grade 12 its more of a "push yourself" with a great short film.
How do you manage the equipment? We have 30 computers, including 12 aging eMacs. Kids drop cameras and break the tripods. We have an ongoing plan to replace 3 computers a year, and keep up with the cameras as needed. We have 8 digital video cameras, 8 digital still cameras and 1 SLR camera. We also produce the yearbook, so there is that pressure to cover everything that goes on at Westdale.
How do you run your program? How many kids, grades etc. Are the kids excited about the program. Do you post any student work online?
Hope you're enjoying the winter break. I was wondering if you, your educator contacts or students would be interested in participating in a nationwide Vocab Video Contest @ MIT university. We'd really like to get more students involved from California!
You can view contest details at BrainyFlix.com Please let me know. Thanks!