Medina starts new digital media program at middle school

Posted 3 March 2016 at 12:00 am

Provided photos – Seventh-graders Kylie Hinman, left, and Faith Ann Vanderwalker are in a new digital media class taught by Mr. Justin Mergenhagen.

Press Release, Medina Central School

MEDINA – There are some aspiring Steven Spielbergs at Clifford Wise Middle School thanks to a new component to the Technology Program.

Teacher Justin Mergenhagen is offering a 10-week course to 7th graders on digital media.

“This is something I have done in the past with high school students working with their TV studio,” Mergenhagen said. “This is the start of technology application so that they can learn from doing a variety of media projects where they will be going from pre-production, production to post-production. They will be learning everything from the storyboard process, scriptwriting, filming and how to edit their projects.”

The students started with a simple slideshow in the program Movie Maker and now they are starting on their next activity using an HD video camera.

“They are starting to learn the different camera shots, what they are called and what they look like,” Mergenhagen said. “They have 25 sample shots in this activity that they have to work through with a partner by setting them up and recording them. They are going to put those into Movie Maker, where for the first time they will import video, learn how to trim and edit clips, add captions and titles, make transitions and add music to their projects.”

Students will eventually work on a one-minute public service announcement on various issues.

“They are going to pick topics that are challenges and adversities for students their age like bullying, homework, recycling, how to have a successful day, etc. They will be planning it from start to finish with the whole creative process.”

Sarah Sones, left, and Jordyn Rosenberg are both taking the class.

Mergenhagen thinks 7th grade is a perfect time to start students on digital media.

“I think they are at a mature enough level to look at the issues and do research for the project,” he said. “If they are doing something like obesity in pre-teens they will need to look up information and facts and question experts about their topic. Their last project will be a 30-second commercial that will allow them to use their creativity and just have fun. It will also teach them about advertising and persuasive techniques.”

The students seem to be enjoying the chance to use their creativity and learning new skills.

“I think it is a lot of fun,” says Faith Ann Vanderwalker. “This is stuff I could not learn at home because I don’t have a camera.”

Classmate Kylie Hinman says she finds it a good learning experience. “I think it will help anyone who wants to go into a career behind the camera.”

“We get to do a lot of cool stuff,” says Sarah Sones.