Green Screen Technology Promotes Leadership, Communication and Problem-Solving

During a project involving the modern re-creation of classic scary short stories, the creative minds of Video Media Technology students were unleashed.

“The experience was very fun and we learned a lot about creating movies with special effects,” a junior added. “It helped us solve production problems, work as a group and gave me a glimpse of how to make a movie like they do in the real world.”

A senior co-producer also enjoyed the experience. “I especially liked the freedom the green screens provided to move around the school and transport our audience to different locations.”

Following this Halloween endeavor, our green screen usage expanded to the point where nearly every day small groups could be found creating mini masterpieces such as mock election campaign videos and weather reports and fashion shows in German and Spanish.

One English class even had a Shakespearean puppet show, while another created film reviews of movie adaptations from classic British Literature.

LEGO Mindstorms and Silhouette Cutters Elicit Smiles and Help Develop Coding and Digital Design Skills

A math teacher who brought her Algebra Functions classes in for a coding activity was pleased that she decided to incorporate our LEGO robots into her lesson plans. “After some basic instruction on coding,” she added, “my students began teaching themselves and their classmates new ways to expand the functions of their Mindstorms. Everyone was practicing math applications, but it was the learning and expanding-as-we-go element that I really think benefited them.”

Our school’s Lieutenant Colonel and Master Sergeant also utilized the Mindstorms with their JROTC cadets. “Learning how to control the robots with Bluetooth programs on the iPads was a new and challenging way to practice communication,” stated a senior executive officer.

Nearly every day, students could also be found experimenting with, and teaching one another about, our six Silhouette Digital Cutters, which added an artistic edge by allowing patrons to create customized vinyl stickers, foldable cards and t-shirt iron-ons for our Grant-funded heat press.

“I used it every day during study hall for a while and really enjoyed it,” one sophomore mentioned. Like so many other students, the Silhouettes gave this patron the chance to express himself. “I think the Makerspace was a great addition,” he added. “It gives students a chance to put their creativity to work with resources that most don’t have access to at home.”

About the Author:

Paul Smartschan, MSED, is a teacher librarian at Powhatan High School. He earned his bachelor’s in Communication Studies from Virginia Tech, his master’s in secondary education from Old Dominion University, and his master’s in school librarianship from Longwood University. His Library’s twitter feed can be followed @phslibt.