The Digital Media Program at ClevelandSeven years ago the media program at Cleveland High School was born. We began with a media literacy course (Media and Society) and have grown into a Career and Technical Education Program (CTE) offering students a chance to explore their talents in photography, videography, audio production, and website management.
Level One: A year-long elective open to 9th through 12th grade, Level One (Media and Society) started in the fall of 2009. This class asks students to examine their relationship with media. In doing so, we will evaluate the impact of media on ourselves, our communities, our culture, and on the world. Level one is a blend of media literacy with a smattering of media production.
- Year one: Digital Media One (formerly Media and Society)
- Year two: Digital Media Level Two (formerly Independent Media Production)
- Year three: Digital Media Level Three or related digital media course with CTE certification
It is crucial to state up front that this is NOT an anti-media class. We will avoid making judgments of what is “good” or “bad” media. Simply, yet profoundly, we will become ethnographers of our media landscape. One of our primary goals is to develop the skills necessary for being an active and critical consumer of media. We are all familiar with the phrase ‘you are what you eat.’ I propose that ‘you are what you media.’
The success of this class - as with any community - hinges on students' willingness to be open, to create an inclusive environment where we explore ideas, criticize content but never people, and question existing paradigms.The media shown in class is chosen for two key reasons: first, each is an example of a particular genre. We cannot participate in our culture, for example, without being subjected to advertising. The second is that each may exhibit characteristics that push the medium into a new or historic space.Level Two: (Independent Media Production) Prerequisite = level oneFundamentally this is a storytelling course. Students use audio/visual production techniques to tell stories: fiction, non-fiction, musical, literal, abstract, metaphoric. Students should have a cursory knowledge of multimedia technologies and strong understanding of media literacy. Students are exposed to direct instruction in photography, videography, studio lighting, editing, and sound production. At the same time, students complete a "passion project" each quarter. They choose the story; they choose the medium. We develop strong connections with the audio visual community of Portland and invite professionals to teach and critique the students' work.Level Three: Prerequisite = level twoFunctioning in a similar way to an inquiry course, students are expected to work independently with all of the self-management skills required to do so. One outcome of the course is to prepare a portfolio in preparation for a media career or to meet entrance requirements for institutions of higher education focusing on media arts. This class will also look for partnerships and internships with outside agencies for further real world experience. Having honed their skills in the prior courses, students will be working primarily in one or two mediums.