Teaching Digital Citizenship:
EGUSD Kicks It Up a Notch
Students in the Elk Grove Unified School District are stepping up and speaking out about what it means to be a good digital citizen. At a time when schools across the nation are scrambling to meet the new E-Rate CIPA requirements*, EGUSD students are involved in a wide range of activities that more than meet the CIPA mandate of “educating students about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response.”
Elk Grove’s elementary students are learning the language of digital citizenship, such as the difference between being an “upstander” or a “bystander.” At Roy Herburger Elementary School, for instance, computer lab teacher Tom Taormina leads students through Crossing the Line, part of the free digital citizenship curriculum from Common Sense Media. “Students need our guidance in initiating the shared conversations on digital citizenship issues,” says Taormina. “As these student interviews demonstrate, the outcome of classroom discussions is that students really do not think it’s OK to bully, whether face-to-face or online.”
Fifth grade students at a Herman Leimbach Elementary School are transferring the concepts introduced by computer lab teacher Erica Swift on Writing Good Emails (a Common Sense Media lesson) into the core curriculum. Their classroom teacher Kevin Ohama requires them to apply good netiquette to the comments they post to their STEM blog.
“By taking a lesson from one context and applying it to another, students are practicing netiquette for an authentic audience,” explains Ohama, “and in the process, they are learning that good digital citizenship equals good digital writing.”
At the secondary sites, middle and high school students are promoting #UnfollowBullying, a student-created, student-driven anti-cyberbullying campaign, in multiple ways. During the kick-off week (November 5-9), students in Dana La Chapelle’s Media Productions class at Toby Johnson Middle School started each day with a newscast devoted to a different aspect of bullying and cyberbullying.
“In producing these newscasts, the students have come to understand that they have to be the ones to stop cyberbullying,” says La Chapelle. “As educators, we can support and guide our students, but only they can reverse the trend of cyberbullying.”
Harriet Eddy Middle School kicked off the #UnfollowBullying campaign with a student-led skit. Leadership students enacted a skit with a cyberbullying scenario. They used this reenactment to illustrate to students the right way to handle cyberbullying.
Students have also been writing #UnfollowBullying messages on paper Twitter birds and posting them on a large poster in exchange for one of the campaign #UnfollowBullying blue bracelets.
EGUSD high school students have also taken creative, impactful approaches to supporting the #UnfollowBullying campaign.” From Valley High School’s afterschool anti-cyberbullying club, to Florin High School’s T-Shirt signing day, to Sheldon High School’s art projects, we are in awe of students’ creativity and willingness to take a public stand on cyberbullying,” says Gail Desler, EGUSD technology integration specialist.
This year, all EGUSD school sites, elementary through high school, are including digital citizenship as part of the school day. EGUSD web specialist Kathleen Watt explains, “We applaud the inclusion of digital citizenship lessons whenever and wherever possible in the curriculum, whether it’s taught in the computer class, the content area class, or the Advisory/Homeroom class.” Director of Technology Services/Digital Citizenship Task Force Chair Greg Lindner adds, “It is our hope that through implementation of a district wide program, digital citizenship events and discussions will continue throughout the school year, providing the experiences needed to ensure that all EGUSD students are firmly grounded in what it means to be an active, contributing digital citizen.”
*Explanation of E-Rate Requirements (from THE Journal)
Learning how to be an upstanding Digital Citizen in the 21st century has increasingly become an important issue for teachers, parents, students and administrators. And the next step — maintaining a healthy Digital Identity (ID) — is necessary to create boundaries and protect privacy.
A new comprehensive wiki, the Digital ID project, was created by Gail Desler, Technology Integration Specialist for the Elk Grove School District, and Natalie Bernasconi from Salinas High School District. This collaborative, global project focuses on providing students and teachers with an online toolkit for practicing and promoting positive digital citizenship skills.
“Stepping Up, a call to social action, is the driving force of the Digital ID project,” said Desler. “We are committed to empowering students to find their voice as (digital) readers and writers and to ‘be the change.’ As students step up and out onto the Internet, we also want to ensure that they understand the need to build and maintain a positive digital footprint, to respect intellectual property boundaries and to protect their privacy.
“We’ve culled through outstanding resources and research pieces from organizations such as Common Sense Media, Netsmartz and Microsoft, gleaning gems that teachers could use to ignite conversations with their students, parents and administrators and to jumpstart projects on digital citizenship issues.
“Whenever we cannot find resources to address teacher and administrator requests, we create them ourselves such as an online pre/post students assessment of digital citizenship skills and an interactive glossary of digital citizenship terms.
“Since beginning the Digital ID project last summer, what we are most proud of is how our project is becoming a showcase for student-generated content of digital citizenship values, unleashing the power of students teaching students.”
Desler has been named as one of 102 educators from across the United States to showcase innovative ways she is using technology in and beyond the classroom at the Microsoft Partners in Learning 2012 US Forum. Taking place in Redmond, Washington, July 31 to August 1, the Partners in Learning US Forum is an annual event that connects and celebrates educators for the work they are doing with technology to creatively engage students. Projects at the event will be evaluated by judges who are education leaders from professional associations and nonprofits, school and National Board Certified Teacher leadership and master teachers. A select few will be chosen to represent the United States at the Partners in Learning Global Forum on Athens, Greece in November.
Mrs. Carolyn McKinstry
An enthusiastic crowd of students, teachers and community members packed the Sheldon High School Performing Arts Center on Feb. 24 for a presentation from civil rights speaker Carolyn McKinstry. McKinstry shared her story as a survivor of the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. Prior to the explosion in 1963, then 14-year old Carolyn Maull (McKinstry) answered the phone on that fateful morning. A voice on the line said "three minutes." Unfortunately, McKinstry was unaware of prior bomb threats and a bomb subsequently exploded, killing four little girls in the church.
McKinstry's presentation included her reflections of the 1963 bombing as well as her perspective of growing up as an African-American in the segregated South. McKinstry also discussed how she dealt with the depression that she experienced after the bombing, how she believes the U.S. is progressing in national race relations and how the youth of today are making promising strides in regard to racial tolerance.
McKinstry's presentation was offered through EGUSD's Teaching American History grant program under the leadership of curriculum specialist Don Azevada. The program was made possible through the grant program's partnership with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Out of the Box Consultants.
A group of Elk Grove Unified School District teachers are leading the way in providing California educators with visible examples of what 21st century technology integration, resources and effective teaching strategies look like in the classroom. Thanks to funding from the Advancing Network Uses (ANU) grant from California's K-12 High Speed Network, these teachers are in the process of implementing the Teach 21 program, a two-tiered process for developing replicable models of technology integration that are disseminated statewide through SECC's BESTNet and the network.
In Tier 1, six teachers in grades 4-8 formed a Teach 21 Cohort, supported by EGUSD Technology and Curriculum Specialists. Each teacher has produced, in digital format, exemplars of media-rich lessons, aligned to the newly adopted Common Core State Standards. Each lesson follows a consistent format that includes the following components: project description; teacher interview video; snippets of classroom interaction captured on video; final student projects; and resources and handouts.
For Tier 2, eight more teachers joined the Teach 21 Cohort. With a bit of coaching from the Tier 1 team, they too are bringing technology into their lessons in ways that extend learning – and student voices – beyond the classroom walls. This collaborative process will result in another 15 replicable models of technology integration into the core curriculum. Not only will the Teach 21 project produce a minimum of 21 digital lessons, it will also provide a replicable model for increasing teacher capacity to learn and implement 21st century teaching strategies in the classroom.
The purpose of the ANU Program is to support the development and dissemination of demonstration applications and content that meet critical needs of California schools to make good use of the benefits of the K12HSN, and to make these applications and content available to California public schools at no cost. By June 1, 2011, all 21 lessons will be online — with an invitation to teachers across the state to freely share, download, modify and remix the lessons and accompanying resources.
K12HSN seeks proposals that improve access to online courses for all students in California, enhance the transfer of 21st century skills to K-12 students and support staff development opportunities to improve the preparedness of teachers and other staff to support student learning in online environments.
> Watch lessons in SECC's Video Gallery
> Visit the project wiki
> Visit HSN’s Brokers of Expertise
Elk Grove High School students recently had the opportunity to join secondary schools across the nation for an interactive videoconference with Holocaust survivor, human rights activist and Academy Award winner Gerda Weissmann Klein. As part of her Stand Up, Speak Out, Lend a Hand project, Klein shared her story of survival and resilience with students in Bob LeVin’s 11th grade English class and Erin Goldman’s U.S. History class.
During the hour-long videoconference, Klein talked about her experiences under the Nazi regime during World War II and the final death march to a camp in Czechoslovakia. Rather than dwell on the horrors that she witnessed and experienced under six years of Nazi rule, she instead focused her presentation on "the love, the caring and the friendships that gave one hope" during that time. Following a question-and-answer session, she then challenged the students to make a difference in their own communities by developing projects that will improve the quality of life for people of all races, religions, economic conditions and physical or mental incapacities.
The students will continue their connection with Klein through the Stand Up, Speak Out wiki, where they will post updates on their service learning projects. In March, they will gather again online. This time the students will be the main speakers as they connect to share their individual stories in a culminating celebration of their projects.
“We need to have more programs like the one we just participated in. Videoconferencing with survivors and witnesses could really go a long way in promoting more tolerance,” says 11th grader Bryce Lowe. Classmate Jenni Elslip adds, “Being able to hear the stories first-hand, seeing the raw emotion, you almost feel as if you’re there. It gives a student a whole new perspective on a historical issue."
Videoconferencing connectivity at Elk Grove High School was made possible by EGUSD’s Technology Service’s ongoing partnerships with BESTNet and the California K12 High Speed Network, a state program that provides network connectivity, Internet services, teaching, learning application and videoconferencing coordination and support for California’s K-12 community. For more information about videoconferencing, please contact Gail Desler at EGUSD.
Fifth graders in Nancy Ludu’s Butler Elementary School classroom joined classrooms across the nation and in Europe for the October 14 videoconference on global geography. NASA Ames scientist Greg Pitzner led the interactive discussion and challenged the students to use both daytime and nighttime satellite images to figure out why people tend to settle in certain locations.
As the students explored images of Earth gleaned from a variety NASA missions, they enthusiastically shared their skills in interpreting and analyzing images ranging from Brazil’s rain forests to our Great Lakes region. “I’ve always wanted to see the Nile River,” said 5th grader Diana Acosta. “From our videoconference, I learned to tell the actual river from the crops.” “I really liked hearing the accents of the students in England and Wales,” added classmate Andrea Vazquez.
“Providing students with the opportunity to collaboratively explore and discuss geography brings the National Geography standards to life in ways that would be hard to replicate through a textbook assignment,” said Ludu. “For the rest of the day, my students were talking about how fun it was to connect with students in other locations. Today’s event was a kick-off for a year-long geography study. I definitely plan to include more videoconferences throughout the school year!”
NASA’s Mission Geography videoconference is part of the Immigration and Human Movement Project, a multi-state project allowing students grades 3-12 to learn from experts and each other as they pursue the answer to the questions: Why do humans move? What impacts does our movement have on those around us and the broader society and ecology? Students are encouraged to research topics regarding human movement and immigration from different time periods and perspectives to compare trends, cultural attitudes and inclusion of immigrants in American society.
Videoconferencing connectivity at the school site was made possible by EGUSD’s Technology Service’s ongoing partnerships with the SECC and BESTNet – a regional high-speed network that connects all SECC K-20 member educational institutions – and the California K12 High Speed Network. California K12 High Speed Network is a state program that provides network connectivity, Internet services, teaching, learning application and videoconferencing coordination and support for California’s K-12 community.
For more information on the Immigration and Human Project and/or on videoconferencing in EGUSD classrooms, please contact Gail Desler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Jorge A. Santana from Videomaker magazine, September 2010
A year before retiring, after 37 years as a college Spanish professor at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS), I decided to take a few video production classes to make this one of my post-retirement hobbies. During my academic career I took many student groups traveling to foreign countries and always carried my cameras with me. First, it was a still camera, then a heavy porta-pak VHS and lately, a camcorder. During my years teaching I was asked to teach a distance-learning class that was televised throughout the region and I saw the potential that TV could have in the educational process. I always used visual aids in my teaching and saw the value that audio-visual materials had on my students.
In 1972 I began showing 16mm films and, with time, these evolved to DVDs. Toward the end of my career at the university, I used the Internet, and YouTube specifically, to supplement my Mexican Culture classes. Students were in awe when I talked, for example of the Mexican Revolution, and was able to show YouTube clips of Emiliano Zapata's funeral. History almost came to life!
The value of video as a teaching tool is evident, and the goal of my new hobby is not to make money but to continue as an educator in the use of video as a teaching tool. In my Spanish for Professionals class I had students make their own videos in role-playing situations. The main difference now is that with the Internet, the classroom is the world! Once you're an educator you're always an educator. In the past two years I have been fortunate to win two SEVAs. My video, Mexican Crafts Corn Husk Dolls, won the 2009 college level award.
Creative videos are another type of video production that interests me, and I have attempted to add humor to these productions. My main interest is to produce a world culture series, not limited only to the Hispanic world but to include other countries as well. I have uploaded to YouTube a three-part series on the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) as a result of a recent trip to these three countries. My interest in traveling goes hand in hand with videograph,y and I have found that, as a rule, people are proud and more than willing to provide you with information about their culture. A Canon GL2 commands respect.
I am fully aware that I am still a novice in producing professional quality videos but as a 65-year old student of this field, one is never too old to acquire new skills and continue with old passions. I have just finished writing my first feature-length screenplay and so the dream continues!
Hundreds of elementary and secondary students living in and around Sacramento County have benefitted from field trips to Splash, an outdoor environmental education program. For many students, the hands-on experiences offered by Splash create a bridge between their urban neighborhoods and the natural world that surrounds them. For students in Lesley McKillop’s 4th grade classroom at Prairie Elementary School, a field trip to Splash is an event they look forward to every spring – an event many recall as a highlight to the school year.
Following an August announcement that the Board of the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (SRCSD) was planning to include Splash in their latest round of budget cuts, a group of McKillop’s former students joined her to brainstorm what they could do to save the program.
“Kids need to understand how to take care of our water and keep it clean,” said 5th grader McKinsey. “The Splash program makes learning about science fun,” added fellow 5th grader Jennifer.
“The students quickly decided that best the medium for their Save Splash message would be a movie,” explained McKillop. “Last year, as part of our district’s EETT grant, they all dabbled in movie making and were already convinced of the power of video to build a persuasive argument.”
On August 25, McKillop headed downtown for the SRCSD Board meeting, joining a room full of concerned citizens, and bringing with her a copy of the students’ video.
“All of us spoke passionately about the need to save this program, which for many students is their first experience with relevant science and things that live beyond the pavement in Sacramento’s streams and vernal pools” said Splash director Eva Butler. “But it was clearly the voices and message of the Prairie students that helped both the audience and the Board members understand the how vital watershed education is to the future of our community.”
The meeting ended with a unanimous vote to save Splash - a huge victory for students and teachers all over the Sacramento region – and a powerful lesson to the Prairie filmmakers on the importance of taking a stand as concerned citizens and the power of media to sway an audience.
Elementary students blogging with an international audience…discussing literature with online mentors… creating visual podcasts to document historical events… producing award-winning videos – and in the process, improving their writing skills and scores. These are but a few of the outcomes of Elk Grove Unified School District’s Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) grant.
Funding for the EETT program comes from the federally funded NCLB Act and is administered at the state level through the California Department of Education. Elk Grove received Round 7 of the EETT C (Competitive) grant, which funded both professional development and computer equipment for 4th and 5th grade teachers at three elementary school sites: Prairie, David Reese and Mary Tsukamoto.
The focus of the grant was to improve student writing through the infusion of technology into the English Language Arts program.
EETT teachers received 42 hours of professional development. The Area 3 Writing Project (A3WP) introduced teachers to best practices in teaching specific writing genres. EGUSD Technology Services provided the training and the tools to transfer the writing lessons from pen and paper to a variety of online venues.
“Helping students become better writers was at the center of every workshop,” explains grant coordinator, Gail Desler. “All the EETT teachers were eager to learn new strategies for improving student writing. But for many, taking technology beyond multiple-choice programs and learning new tools such as Movie Maker 2 or VoiceThread often seemed ‘overwhelming.’ Out of respect for the teachers’ expertise, we invited them to experiment with and implement new tools as their comfort levels grew and as best fit their individual classroom projects.”
Lesley McKillop, a 4th grade EETT teacher at Prairie Elementary School adds, “The grant wasn’t just about technology. It was about transitioning the teaching of writing into the 21st century and providing the tools to take student voices beyond the walls of the classroom and confines of the community. My students’ engagement with speaking, reading, writing and listening noticeably increased because they wrote to authentic audiences around issues they genuinely cared about.”
The primary goal of the EETT grant is to improve student academic achievement in grades four through eight through the use of technology. Districts are required to evaluate the effectiveness of the program and to report the results semi-annually to the CDE.
UC Davis Professor Carl Whithaus, who served as the EETT Round 7 evaluator for Elk Grove, was pleased to share the grant outcomes: “Our target teachers and students met and exceeded the goals of the grant. As teachers’ confidence levels in technology integration increased, their writing instruction went to new and innovative venues, such as blogs, VoiceThreads and filmmaking. The EETT project encouraged both teachers and students to use 21st century literacy skills that emphasized the interactive and communicative aspects of computers over the more static approaches to building writing skills.”
The grant provided the EETT teachers with laptop computers, rather than a desktop teacher station, to encourage them to use the laptops for personal and professional use. Additional equipment such as camcorders, microphones and voice recorders were given out incrementally, with time for the teachers to practice, to minimize feeling overwhelmed. Each classroom was equipped with an LCD projector cart; each grade-level was provided with a wireless laptop cart with 20 student stations.
“As I reflect on the success of our EETT program, I recognize the importance of this group of teachers always putting pedagogy first,” reports Desler. “Although they would leave the A3WP workshops ready to implement a lesson or strategy the next day, with the technology trainings, they sometimes responded with ‘Why?’ rather than ‘Wow!” But as their comfort levels with technology increased, and they witnessed ownership of learning shift from them to their students, technology became an increasingly integral part of their lesson plans.”
Veteran teacher Lutricia Hardaway adds, “The Area 3 sessions were the best workshops on writing I’ve ever attended. As a result, my students’ writing soon begged for a broader audience, and that’s when I truly came on board with blogging, podcasting and VoiceThreads. When I saw the jump in engagement and skill levels after my students produced a VoiceThread to share their excitement in the election of Barack Obama as our nation’s first African-American president, I realized I had crossed the line and could no longer imagine teaching without technology.”
“Even though the grant has officially ended, it’s exciting to see the vision continuing,” Desler says, “with EETT teachers requesting additional trainings in the new school year and many stepping into technology leadership roles at their sites. “
The EGUSD is committed to providing teachers and students with 21st century classrooms. The district is currently waiting news of the last round of EETT funding, EETT ARRA. Funding from EETT ARRA would allow the district to replicate the EETT Round 7 model at eight more elementary sites.
Copying information from the Internet is so easy and most people do it so regularly that it doesn’t really seem like stealing or even borrowing. While the copyright issue is something we’ve all heard of, how does it apply educators and students?
At Carnegie Middle School in Orangevale, CA, Media Teacher Brian Weitzel deals with this problem daily. “The copyright issue has become very big in recent years and with our generation of students who are so digitally oriented and so digitally native, as the phrase has been coined, they’re used to seeing and getting music or artwork off the Internet,” he says. “What they need to be made aware of, and what I impress very strongly on my students, is that it’s just like the work that they make, if somebody is going to use it again, you want to be given credit for that.”
Weitzel teaches multimedia to his students, starting the day with a studio crew creating a live TV broadcast called Carnegie Connection to the entire student body. Then the students continue the class, making video “commercials” or PSA style messages — such as how to be successful in life — that run during the broadcast. The students also like to enter their video productions in contests, such as the SEVAs but must resolve the fact that the music they like or think works perfectly with their video isn’t legal to use except in the classroom.
What is the copyright law?
The U.S. Copyright Law encourages the development of the arts and sciences by protecting the creative work of the individuals in our society — composers, authors, poets, dramatists, choreographers and others. However, through the legislative compromise, educators can use some copyright protected works in the classroom. There is also the concept of Fair Use that allows certain uses that would otherwise be illegal infringements of the copyright owner’s rights.
Since SECC broadcasts the SEVAs on its cable television channels, entries must contain only originally produced video, graphics, images, animation, music and sound. If any copyrighted materials are included, the entry must include a formal permission waiver from the producer.
Integrating music with media to create original work
Carnegie Middle School Band Teacher Mark Tulga started working with Apple’s GarageBand, part of the iLife software package, about two years ago when he bought a Macbook Pro computer. As a musician and a music teacher, he was very interested in the software and “fascinated with how capable and how deep it really is and how great the visual interface is; it’s very easy to use.”
“I started teaching my band students at Carnegie a little bit every day about GarageBand, and they were really fascinated that they could record their instruments on the computer… like a real recording studio,” Tulga says.
A new program idea was born and Carnegie Middle School Principal Trish Baldwin loves it. “The students are using technology that they’re used to using already, and they get a lot of enjoyment out of creating the music and then integrating that with our media program,” she says. “Mixing the two is going to make an outstanding program here at Carnegie.”
Chris Pankratz, Carnegie Middle School Vice Principal goes on to say that “technology is always changing the way that we have to look at education. And as much time as kids are spending on computers now, they can create their own songs and music at home. We have a new program started by Mark Tulga, our wonderful band teacher, where kids are learning the mathematics of music, the way you organize a song with your chorus, your lyrics, your bridge – it’s incredible.”
While Weitzel’s class struggled with the copyright issue in the past and even tried to use GarageBand, now that the band students are onboard, the new partnership is not only solving the problem but teaching students about collaboration and the creative process as well.
Band student Camillo Massagli describes the procedure: “What happens is someone from the media class will come up to me and say, ‘Hey, I’m kind of in a crunch right now, I have a song I like for my video but I can’t use copyrighted.’ So I say, ‘I’ve got you covered.’ They either give me a feel they want or a song they want something to be similar to — I use whatever software, instruments — and I make a demo for them and we figure it out together and I’ve then got something new for them.”
“Music, having so many components, being so deep — adding the video is just another way to add depth to it — synchronizing the different kind of actions with the characters or getting the right kind of feel,” Massagli continues. “The audio in any movie, when you go to the theater, can completely change the feel of the entire movie.”
Another band student, Connor Watson, says it’s really fun to work with the media team and be “a part of something good. You really make something using the music; it’s really awesome hearing the sound come together with the video.”
Learning lifelong skills that will be “pretty valuable out there”
As principal, Baldwin is pleased that her middle school students are coming away with a variety of lifelong skills such as knowing how to speak to other people, organizing their thoughts and expressing them in a clear way — skills that transfer to any type of future class or job.
Pankratz’s ideas about the future extend even farther: “So I see us infusing the computers the kids have at home with their homework, infusing maybe their MySpaces and the way they communicate with each other in a positive way to work on inspiring material that they want to do here at school. We have an incredible media program with Brian Weitzel where he gets kids to bring stuff from home, video projects they’re working on, and we’re hopefully bringing kids back together to connect with their school and really feel a passion to help it out.”
“I think it’s a great idea to finally be able to collaborate with the media and the people making video because a real goal of mine is to teach my students that music is more than just playing in band: music is more than just practicing at home; it’s a lifelong process," Tulga says. "It’s not something you can only do for a few years; you can do it the rest of your life. And with the future of computers in music they’ll be able to write symphonies at home with this computer and software instruments. I’m teaching them to continue with the knowledge that they have and the skills to continue on the rest of their lives creating music and combining that with video.”
Massagli, a young student with his future ahead of him, thinks that the music/video connection is “definitely something that people are going to need [in the future], anything on the computer." He's considering learning more about graphic effects to add to his original music. Either way, his skills are going to be "pretty valuable out there."
A visit to Toby Johnson Middle School’s (TJMS) Video Productions class is like stepping into a whirlwind of nonstop media activities. Throughout the classroom, students are teamed up and collaborating to meet a variety of production deadlines. Student groups may be working on PSAs, commercials to promote school activities, instructional movies, news reports for the morning show or documentaries.
In the center of all this is Dana La Chapelle “whose dedication, expertise and relentless energy provides students with access to a real-world video production education, the very skills that are so much in demand in today’s workforce,” says Gail Desler, 2009 Allan Hinderstein Award recipient. La Chapelle was honored as the 2010 recipient at SECC's Award Night on May 12.
La Chapelle started transforming her vision for a student-run school TV program into a reality two summers ago. She remodeled what was originally an adjoining wood shop class into a state of the art — on a shoestring budget — production studio. Thanks to grant funding, equipment donations and help and technical guidance from SECC, La Chapelle’s students were able to go live with their first TJ TV show that first day of school. “My goal for the Video Productions class is to engage students in learning new technologies and production strategies that will prepare them for success both in school and in the future,” explains La Chapelle.
In addition to the TJ TV shows, students are involved in creating a range of public service announcements (PSAs) that will go out to the TJMS community and beyond. For the 2010 SEVA contest, La Chapelle’s students received two SEVA awards (How To Ride a Bike Safely; First Things First) and one honorable mention (Leadership: The Light is Shed).
“To be literate in the 21st century, students need a wide range of abilities and competencies — including the ability to create, analyze and evaluate multimedia texts and to understand the safe and ethical use of new technologies,” says La Chapelle. “Most importantly, I want students to learn that what they think, feel and have to say is important. They have so much to contribute inside themselves. I love being able to show them how to share their voice in such a compelling format."