LOS ANGELES (November 13, 2020) – No studio equipment. No access to fancy editing software. No group excursions to shoot footage. How can media arts students who are usually hands-on and shoulder-to-shoulder keep their projects alive during distance learning? Just ask a team of six high school Media Arts students from Learn4Life. They found ways to remotely produce an eight-minute animated film with a message as a final thesis for their Media Arts CTE class.

Unable to meet in person, students Jordan, Sophia, J.Pirir, Dena’e, Amari and Diontray used Google Hangouts to collaborate through video conferencing. They banded together – remotely – to script, design storyboards, animate, voice act, edit, and add music, sound effects and graphics so they could complete their final project. They replaced the equipment they would normally use in the studio with their phones to record sound and edit video.

While Learn4Life was helpful in getting laptops to most of its 23,000 students back in April, the computers aren’t supplied with much-needed editing/post-production software. So, students found free apps on their cellphones that mimicked the editing software they would normally use in the studio classroom to work on their pieces.

Their final piece is called Camelot’s Illness,” a richly animated, poignant tale that parallels our current pandemic with a positive ending.

Click to tweet: High school media arts students produce a short #film that parallels our current pandemic, but with good lessons and a positive ending

“I’m just so proud of these students. They were facing so many challenges even before COVID, and despite the quarantine, they persisted,” said Media Arts teacher Cody Urban. He noted that these students are eager to pursue careers in animation, editing and voice acting.

Learn4Life, a network of 100+ nonprofit charter schools that focus on at-risk students and former dropouts, has a robust Career Technical Education (CTE) program to provide job training and keep kids engaged in school – which is especially important during remote learning. One of the popular CTE pathways is Media Arts, where students are exposed to a range of potential careers while developing the skills necessary to thrive in the industry by practicing all elements of the production process for film, television, graphic design, broadcast journalism, marketing and advertising and more.

Teachers and counselors at Learn4Life find that students on a CTE pathway are more engaged in school and perform better in their classes. They benefit from seeing projects from start to finish and gain a tremendous sense of accomplishment. For graduates with no plans for college, a CTE pathway can be life changing. They can begin working in a well-paying career right out of high school.

Find out more about the CTE programs at Learn4life.

Written By:
Ann Abajian
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