By Kerry Toribio

Digital media has been evolving tremendously. It is increasingly present in kids formal and informal educational settings, becoming as common as pencils and notebooks were to their parents. Students are able to work on-set, in front of the camera, behind the scenes, writing the scripts, or creating the film. Let’s take an inside look at how digital media is incorporated in some of the middle schools.

Thomas Jefferson broadcasting class was fortunate enough to receive their equipment as a generous donation. Video productions teacher, Kristen Bossi, says, “I’m extremely lucky to have intelligent students who are quick to learn the computer programs.” Ms. Bossi has introduced her students to the inverted pyramid technique as they choose their own topics to write feature stories. Student Genesis H. has written and produced an anti-bullying video that is now being entered in a suicide prevention contest. Students are getting a hands-on feel of the film making industry and many are considering it as a future career.

Desert Ridge Academy students are getting a jumpstart on their career goals as they enter the field of Broadcasting. Students take part in working in front of the camera and behind the camera as they prepare themselves for the future ahead. Lead camera operator, Alex M., says, “ My job is important because I need to make sure I have all the angles correctly.” This class is one of his hobbies. Photo editor Alex R says, “I want this to be my career and my dream is to become a photographer for National Geographic when I grow up.” Director Alani O. says, “My role is important because my duties are to know exactly what we’re doing before we begin filming, I need to remove any shadowing, and make sure the reporters are ready.”

Palm Desert Charter is taking their creativity to the next level. Kathy O’Dowd’s media class uses computer programs such as iMovie and Giphy to produce their daily morning announcements. The students are given specific projects to work on as well as partnering-up with another student to prepare the morning announcement video for an upcoming day. Students take photos, include messages, and record voiceovers in their clips.

La Quinta Middle School students are getting innovative in Steve Eelkema’s animation class. Students work together in groups and take individual photos to combine and create animation. Students use photography techniques with successive positions of different models to create an illusion of movement when the movie is shown as a sequence. For example, students chose a board game to animate. They will play the board game then draw and write ideas on how they will animate it. Family members can see the finish projects of these students during Back-To-School Night and at the STEM Expo.

John Glenn Middle students design Friday announcements in Dave Sitko’s digital film class. Students use iMovie, iPhoto, and other Apple products to edit their work. Projects include creative skits and recreating movies. The Friday announcement video includes upcoming events, spirit weeks, and other fun clip-tips to share with the school. It is a great way by having the students to show their creativity.

With the help from exceptional teachers, the increase use of using digital media and interactive practices has ignited students to empower their learning. These students are claiming digital media as a means of connecting, communicating, creating, and learning all at the same time!


Editor’s Note: Kerry Toribio is a student at Cal State San Bernardino, Palm Desert and is an intern in the Desert Sands Unified School District communication department.