Aligning Digital Resources
Updated: May 10, 2020
My classes are full of fun little monsters who love to create. As a filmmaker, I thought the greatest job I could ever have was to teach the next generation to create films. The idea of discussing the works of Spielberg, Del Toro, Hitchcock, Scorsese, and every other director I have loved or not loved throughout the years lit a fire in my heart just thinking about it. I just knew kids would love analyzing films the way I do. Boy did I miss the mark on that one.
Although they love my passion for films and film production, they don't necessarily find passion in it themselves. (Blasphemy I say!) In the (almost) 7 years I have been teaching, I have only had a handful of kids who actually wanted to make movies. (Cue sad music here.) Instead, I have music producers, rappers, photographers, designers (designing everything from flyers to clothing lines to apps), animators, broadcast journalists, writers, video game streamers, coders, digital artists, and even a culinary artist who wants to produce a food show. Should I go on?
My students have their own minds. Their own voices that yearn to be heard.
Realizing that students needed a place where they could tell their stories their way, I did the only thing I felt was right - change my program from strictly filmmaking (audio and video production) to Cinema & Media Arts. Now, students have the opportunity to create what matters to them, in the medium of their choice, in the way they feel is the most valuable. Next year, we will even add Graphic Design and UX courses!
Using the Everyone Can Create curriculum, students are able to take initiative and take control of their learning. We use any device we can get our hands on. From iPhones to iPads to iMacs, we try it all. The curriculum is easy to sort through and differentiate amongst student groups. I create problem based lessons based on storytelling that offer multiple ways to produce a product. The lessons not only align with TEKS state standards, but also the Austin Community College articulated credit requirements for my first year course.
The only downfall is the lack of equipment. We have about ten older Ipad 2's, which can get a little tough to share across a full class. Luckily, we have a few students with iPhones and it gets us by for now. However, for those who are digital artists and animators, the inability to use the pencil on the older iPads limits them, but they don't complain. Even when I sense their frustration, they make it work.
(L) Practicum students testing lighting setups for iPhone. (R) Unedited results of Bryan A.
After seeing how much they enjoyed filming and taking photographs, using GarageBand, and creating videos in iMovie with iPhones and iPads, I decided to setup a Donors Choose to get them an iPad Pro. They love it! They take turns checking it out and working on their individual projects. They are now at the point where they tell me what new apps they need added to it so they can step up their creative learning.
I am so proud of my little family of crazy creators. We are producing nationally recognized products and having fun doing it. Hopefully, having the opportunity to be a part of the amazing Apple Coding Initiative will give me a chance to showcase the power of using Apple products in the classroom. As my district evaluates my Innovation Plan, it is not just about getting updated equipment for my program. My big picture goal is to get more devices into teacher and student hands across all programs of study.
Apple has always been a huge part of my program since the moment I first stepped into a classroom, and now, with the power to create professional level work in the palm of your hands, I don't want any students to go empty handed any longer.