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Digital camping

CHESAPEAKE — Last Friday, some Chesapeake Middle School students wrapped up production on Digital Arts Camp with a movie premiere.

“The camp was a way to introduce the kids to digital arts,” said teacher Jamie Shields. “I absolutely loved the program. The kids were engaged from day one.”

The Digital Arts Camp, a two-week camp at the school, gave students the opportunity to script, assemble and produce a digital film. The subjects of the films were environmental topics such as pollution or recycling. The movies will be entered into a nationwide contest which is part of the Earth Day Challenge. About 27 students attended the camp. Instructors at the camp were Chesapeake Middle School teachers Jamie Shields, Becky McClelland, Leanna Collins, Bethany Hunt and Christie Jones.

“We are focusing in our district to prepare the students for 21st Century learning which involves a great deal of technology and this program provides that,” Shields said.

The Earth Day Challenge, which is sponsored by the Pearson Foundation, the Jane Goodall Institute and Nokia, is open to all middle and high school students. The non-profit alliance is designed to provide a worldwide competition where students can share their views about the planet.

Chesapeake superintendent Dr. Scott Howard, through contact with the Ohio Appalachian Educational Institute (OAEI), and the National Education Association (NEA), became aware of a program called the Digital Arts Alliance sponsored by the Pearson Foundation. Together with the Pearson Foundation, the alliance provides both educator and student residencies which provide portable technology and trained staff to the school.

The school received a $5,000 grant through the Pearson Foundation which supplied the school with audio/video equipment and laptops - which the school will able to keep and utilize after the camp is over.

“I believe that the digital arts program is a project based method and it makes learning more relevant to the students,”

Howard said. “When teachers use project based learning, students become more engaged on the work and learning becomes fun. In many ways, they’re creating their own education.”

Eighth grader Garrett Butcher agreed.

”I think it was great,” Butcher said of his camp experience. “It’s more hands on than in the classroom. It’s being able to get on the internet and to learn how you want to learn.”

Art teacher Leanna Collins said she liked the fact that the program incorporated a variety of subjects including math, science and language arts, giving the students a well rounded educational experience.

“The excitement of the kids is amazing,” she said.

Seventh grader Jeffrey McClelland said he enjoyed the actual production process of the project.

“It was pretty fun, the making of the movie itself, laying down the pictures,” he said.

“Not only were we here to teach them,” Language Arts teacher Christie Jones said. “We were able to learn from the students as well.”