By Cher Burbank, Kearns High School Work-Based Learning Specialist
Last month I took five student interns on a field trip to the newly built, state-of-the-art Adobe Headquarters located just past the point of the mountain in Lehi. Utah. The visit to Adobe was in conjunction with SHIFT (Spy Hop Institute For Teachers), a digital media professional development non-profit organization, established in 2006, that trains educators on how to integrate the filmmaking process and other digital storytelling techniques into educational settings. Throughout the year I have been involved in the SHIFT program and have used the digital media strategies, resources, and tools with my students.
Left to right: Elizabeth Warner, Autumn Schley,
Chandra Carlson, Hailie Blatnick, and Ammon Asato
In my classroom, students use Adobe Premiere Elements to produce a six-word memoir about what career they are interested in. The six-word memoir is a scaffolding exercise that gets students writing in a concise format and turning the prose into a visual tale. It’s also a malleable way to delve into software, creating a short movie using stills, narration, and text.
Teachers from across the state of Utah who are involved with SHIFT took their students to Adobe for the review and critique of their media projects. In total, 60 middle school and high school teachers and students visited Adobe, where a handful of Adobe volunteers watched and reviewed the students’ work in preparation for a big-screen event at the downtown Salt Lake City Library in late May. The projects ranged from graphic illustrations and photographs, to short documentary films and PSAs. The students were also a part of the “critical review process,” learning how to look at media critically and give feedback to peers in a constructive and meaningful way.
Ammon Asato, a senior at Kearns High School, said, “We learned how to use positive reinforcement to critique other’s work. The [Adobe] building is awesome, I would go there again. It’s good that Adobe is close to home and that they work with our schools.”
Being in the Adobe building was a highlight. The students ate it up and enjoyed their tour, free pizza (in an immaculate and very “green” cafe area) and the attention from other teachers and Adobe employees to their work authenticated the experience. It was also a great eye opener to endless career possibilities, and a motivator for these students to rework their projects in light of the feedback and in preparation the final exhibition. We are all looking forward to seeing their final products, knowing that their commitment to the digital media-making process was what got them there. The event in May should be a great showing of commitment and collaboration.