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Students learn technology skills that go beyond the desktop

Thursday, December 20, 2012911 views

About 30 Alta View Elementary students have signed up to stay after school on purpose.

The fifth and sixth grade students are part of a technology club that meets for an hour once a week to learn computer programs they can use to create movies, ads, documentaries and other cool stuff.

Alta View sixth grade teacher Libby McShinsky started giving lessons to students who wanted to learn programs like iMovie and Garage Band about four years ago. She said the technology club is an open, creative activity for students to enjoy while picking up skills they can use.

“They get to come with no stress, and I teach them and they play. They get to learn and have fun,” McShinsky said.

Students in the club sign up at the beginning of the school year. The club costs just $12 per student, with the fees covering the costs of activities and some prizes.

During technology club lessons, students meet at the school computer lab. McShinsky introduces a computer program - such as Photobooth, Sketch Up or Comic Life – and then students have time to experiment and create their own projects.

The participating fifth and sixth graders are not graded on their work, and are encouraged to collaborate on group projects.

Participating students, however, do have one responsibility: to share their talents with a wider audience.

“They have to agree to be involved in the film festival sponsored by the Canyons School District,” McShinsky said.

Technology club students are encouraged to make an ad, short film or documentary to enter into th film festival held each year in March.

Participating students first show their projects at an in-school film festival. Then, three are selected to participate in the districtwide event.

Students also spend time learning how to create animation, make music stored as MP3 files and work with a green screen, such as might be used to project a weather forecast or other scene.

McShinsky said the technology club encourages creativity, and that many students take initiative to do projects at home and then bring them in to share with peers.

She said the students also have the benefit of spending time on a hobby they enjoy with their peers that have similar interests.

“I truly believe every student needs to have something they’re good at and enjoy [at school],” she said.

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