Janet Armstrong is a high school teacher at Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California. She recently attended CUE (Computer Using Educators) Conference, where she learned of Digital Media Academy.
Seeing the importance of technology in today’s world and the importance of keeping up with and teaching the latest technology to her students, she is going to take a DMA course this summer to advance her skills. The following are her views on technology in the classroom.
Schools have seen the need to educate students to make appropriate, efficient and productive use of available technologies. At the same time, they are compelled to reduce the digital divide that exists between higher and lower socioeconomic groups of students, giving them all access to the same tools. Consequently, as the tools advance, educators must be at the forefront of lifelong learning.
“Lifelong learning” is a phrase that has been buzzing around academia for the last decade or longer. It’s a mindset educators must have to stay connected to the ever-evolving technology that seems to grow exponentially each year. Teachers and administrators MUST stay abreast these advances or they will quickly find themselves becoming educational fossils.
Mastering Today’s Technology…and Tomorrow’s
Skills once reserved only for high school students are more appropriate today for middle school students. This has created the opportunity to expose high school students to cutting-edge technologies that are fun, interesting and highly engaging. At Wilcox High School in Santa Clara we are opening two new digital media courses that employ the use of Adobe CS4 products to teach Web design, digital image editing, digital storytelling, and publication design. To be a proficient teacher I must become a proficient user of these tools.
This summer, DMA’s tech camps at Stanford University will prepare me to be such a teacher. The Introduction to Web Design with Adobe CS4 – Dreamweaver, Flash & Photoshop course will enhance my current skills as I learn the latest version of these programs to design lessons and activities for my students.
Start Learning & Keep Learning
Life today is complex and diverse. As never before, communication involves the constant use of visuals, sound, and action. The Digital Age surrounds us now and education has the responsibility to prepare our children to use the tools today and into the future. Thankfully, Digital Media Academy has revolutionized this process.
What do you do with 2 pre-teen girls during summer that is fun, challenging, not academic, yet a learning experience? You enroll them in Digital Media – Hands on filmmaking class, that’s what! My girls had a blast at the camp, they were not very eager to go on the first day, but from the second day on, they were getting up early and waiting to go to the camp. The entire experience of being at Stanford University, learning about different techniques in film editing and enhancing was excellent.
The teachers were great – kids learned about group participation, leadership, acting, script writing all in one class. The kids had to make a 10 minute movie and an ad, had to come up with their own script, act, and edit their films. For my kids it was a real eye opener and got them to realize the effort behind movie making. I doubt if they will view movies the same way again. Who knows, maybe they might even pick it as a career.
Definitely worth the time and money invested!
Andy Hoffman is currently a junior at Carnegie Vanguard High School in Houston, Texas, set to graduate in the Spring of 2010. Andy has known since he was 10 years old that he wanted to find a college that would allow him to get a degree in Video Game Design and allow him to go into the gaming industry.
The following is an interview with Andy. Read how Digital Media Academy inspired Andy and helped him acquire great skills that have allowed him to pursue his passion.
DMA: How old are you?
DMA: How many summers have you been attending DMA?
Andy: This will be my fourth summer.
Andy has taken the following game creation courses at DMA:
- 3d Game Creation I with 3ds Max (July 06)
- 3d Game Creation II with 3ds Max (July 07)
- 3d Game Creation III with 3ds Max and Maya (Aug. 07)
- Advanced Video Game Production I with 3ds Max, Maya, & Zbrush (July 08)
- Advanced Video Game Production II with 3ds Max, Maya, & Zbrush (July 08)
DMA: Which DMA location did you attend?
Andy: Stanford University. I enjoy the campus environment, it’s very easy to get around and a relaxing environment.
DMA: Prior to attending DMA, did you know what career path you wanted to take?
Andy: Somewhat. The main issue that prevented me from deciding to go into game design prior to attending DMA was the practicality of it.
DMA: Describe your experience at DMA.
Andy: In the past three summers I’ve learned a lot and had fun doing it.
DMA: How has DMA helped you in deciding what you would like to do when you “grow up”?
Andy: Meeting other kids with similar interests, and the instructors and speakers who came and spoke to us about the game design industry really inspired me.
DMA: Do you know which University you would like to attend?
Andy: Through the help of DMA and my high school counselor, I found several incredible options that are considered prestigious in the game industry. I’ve now narrowed my search down to Savannah College of Art and Design, Ringling College of Art and Design, Southern Methodist University, The University of Texas at Dallas, and University of Southern California. SMU offers a 5 year program that includes a masters degree as well.
DMA: What stands out the most for you from your time spent at DMA camps.
Andy: Being in high school, but living on a college campus for a few weeks out of the summer doing what I will hopefully be doing a year or two from now when I’m actually in college.
DMA: Describe the quality of the facilities, computers, instructors, etc.
Andy: Beyond expectations.
We also got a chance to talk to Andy’s mom, Joni Hoffman.
DMA: As a parent, please describe your experience with DMA.
Joni: My son Andy has been interested in Video Game Design since he was 10 years old. He attended several local video game creation computer camps offered in Houston. We found that Andy knew more than the instructors, even at a young age. He would ask questions they simply could not answer. We soon learned that Andy needed a more serious and rigorous program than what we had locally. I was thrilled to find DMA. It has been an incredible experience for Andy. This summer will be his 4th summer and unfortunately his last. He will be a senior. However because of DMA he is pursuing a degree in Video Game Design. The portfolio he has created from what he learned at DMA has helped him become a serious candidate for scholarship money at several universities that offer Video Game Design as a degree.
DMA: Do you feel that DMA is your typical camp? Explain.
Joni: NO. Living on the Stanford campus was an incredible opportunity.
DMA: Do you feel that DMA has opened your son’s eyes to know which career path he wants to pursue?
DMA attracts kids literally from all over the world who have a similar passion and interest. Andy has had roommates from the UK, Canada and France. These same kids may even reconnect someday once they are in the real world pursuing their dreams of being in the gaming industry.
DMA: Would you recommend DMA to others?
DMA: Anything else you would like to comment on about DMA?
With the state of the economy, many “stable” degrees no longer offer a guarantee of landing a good job after graduation. It’s more important than ever to pick from degrees that are going to have jobs available. The video game industry is booming and probably only going to get stronger. I think Andy is fortunate that his passion for this industry has great potential for a very successful career as an adult.
I truly believe that DMA helped shape Andy’s future and his DMA experience has definitively given him a competitive advantage in the college admissions process. Not to mention he had a blast. Kudos to the staff and counselors at DMA!
Learn more about Digital Media Academy Film Camps for Teens in this video. See what teen students are saying about DMA summer technology camp programs. DMA summer camp students get the opportunity to act as a producer, screenwriter, actor / actress, director, scout, art director, digital video editor, and more! This is a truly amazing tech learning experience.