Offering media arts classes in high schools allows students to think critically about the content they see every day. From social media to educational materials to movies, students in media classes are taught skills to appropriately identify content credibility and appreciate the technical work behind production.
At Chillicothe High School (CHS), there are five career-tech classes offered to students to teach media and production skills. Vanessa George, a satellite instructor for the Pickaway-Ross Career and Technology Center, teaches these courses to over 70 students in the district.
The Digital Image Editing class works on the yearbook, while the Video Broadcasting class focuses on journalism and broadcast news. Motion Graphics teaches students about animation tactics. Students can also learn about the overall production process by taking Video Production and Video Production Capstone. Students across the courses create fact-based content from the entire district. Projects completed by the students are shared across the community via local Horizon and Spectrum channels. In addition, students in the media courses record and edit senior night videos for all fall sports and student bio videos. The most recent round of these videos were shared at this month’s Homecoming football game.
For the yearbook, students curate information and gather photos through after-school contributions. Each student is required to complete two after-school projects per grading period, which gives them field experience. This includes operating video cameras during home football games, recording academic assemblies and photographing concerts, dances and athletic contests. In the spring, media students take senior photos at no charge for seniors unable to get a portrait for the yearbook.
While some of George’s media and production students go on to pursue careers in the field, her overall goal is to provide them with multiple skills and resources to increase their overall employability after school. “The media arts courses that I teach allow students to have practical application of concepts learned in their core subjects,” said George.
For example, students in these courses record the daily announcements for CHS. This covers competencies involving writing, speech and audio, video and photo imaging. The editing software for the announcements involves the usage of XY coordinates learned in algebra. Students research the Sunshine Law and the Freedom of Information Act in relation to extracting public records, tying in government and legal education. The combination of multiple class competencies helps to integrate the skills and knowledge throughout their education.
In addition, students who pass the Video Production course and score “proficient” or higher on the WebXam state test at the end of the year earn a Career Technical Assurance Guide (CTAG), which transfers as a college credit. In addition, all students enrolled in the media arts classes are members of the Business Professionals of America, a national career-tech student organization where they participate in course-related competitions, earn recognition for community service through the Torch Awards program and earn certifications.
Content can be found on their website, YouTube channel, Facebook page and the CCSD website.