Information, media and technology skills are vital for success in the 21st century (Dani, Wan, & Henning, 2010; Partnership for 21st century skills, n.d.). Information literacy, media literacy and computer literacy comprise these important skills. Media literacy and digital media skills have been connected with civic engagement and knowledge of community issues (Hobbs, 2013; Hobbs, Donnelly, Friesem, & Moen, 2013). Yet, media literacy educational opportunities are not as abundant as they should be in an educational system that places great value on basic skills as measured on standardized tests (Rogow, 2011).
In a suburban area of South Dakota, I have developed and implemented a yearly Digital media camp to support media literacy and to help enhance digital media skills among students. See dmcamp.tumblr.com for more information and sample projects. This camp is the first of its kind in this area of the state, and it has been designed to supplement a school district in which students do not gain sufficient knowledge and skills in these areas as part of their regular schooling. The goals of the camp – now in its third year – include helping students to increase their digital media skills, create digital media projects, and increase their media literacy.
Camp participants are ages 9-13, and the camp is held in the end of May each year after school is out. During this camp, participants design and develop a variety of digital media projects. Participants also learn the purposes of media and the process of media creation for each format. At the end of Digital Media Camp, participants hold a showcase in which they show all of the projects they created during the camp. These projects include a dramatic audio recording featuring sound effects, a documentary video recording produced and directed by participants, a dramatic video recording featuring plot structure, and additional audio and video projects.
On the last day of camp, students create a final project as part of this camp experience that represents the culmination of their learning about digital media. The equipment that students use at Digital Media Camp is purposefully kept simple so that students can transfer their learning and continue to create video and audio projects after the camp is over.
We'll be setting the dates for the 2015 digital media camp soon. Let me know if you are interested in being a part of it!