Pacific Cascade Middle School leads the way in digital, live broadcasting in schools
May 9, 2018
Imagine: the announcements in high school being broadcast live in video and shared throughout the classrooms at RHS.
Early May, a small group of students, including 4 girls from Renton High and 2 girls from McKnight Middle, had the chance to experience modern media being implemented daily at the nearby Pacific Cascade MS in the Issaquah School District. It was set up and organized by three Digital Learning Coaches from the Renton School District: Anne Tremonte, Jamie Lesesky, and Megan Heineman.
Pacific Cascade is one of few schools in the area that have taken the steps to digitalize and magnify their platform. They not only incorporate daily visual news into the routine, but they work with video to create skits that excite students into attending events and getting involved. From the anchors to the actors, they make sure to leave room for students who may not be in the class, to play a vital role for the platform. This is how they maintain reliability, while also having new faces for the students to see each week.
When Renton students arrived at video production teacher Bettina Gehle’s classroom, they were welcomed by a tour of the studio and a “behind the scenes” look at the editing space. Two students from Gehle’s class joined in, showing the Renton girls around, as well as explaining their parts in the productions. Their video production class was connected to the film room—where their green screen and broadcast setup could be observed. It was here that the students went in depth describing the scripts, camera angles and teleprompter operations. They mentioned the scheduling and long list of students on their waiting list to be “guest” anchors, while keeping the usual students on the job for specific days each week. By allowing non-video production students to join in the process, they entice students to keep watching: all things that are important to the reliability and management of the school’s announcements.
Later, Gehle explained the green screen process and how instrumental it is in upping the content and making students want to watch. She also gave important advice on keeping the students attention, which was to keep the videos short and the content funny. She mentioned the target audience and always being aware of attention span when putting content together. The reality is that not all students want to watch a 20-minute interview, or listen to an hour-long podcast. Making the content relatable and interesting to the audience is important; but it is not always the easiest job.
So, while the scripts and timing may need work, the biggest tool in making students listen, and for information to resonate— is video.
Later, the group had the chance to view the application they edit content with and observe previous video footage which a green screen was used to make a student appear to be flying.
Renton students also watched a few of the video intros created by the middle school students and watched them explain techniques used in skits to enhance quality and make the audience laugh. They explained about their editing processes, the software and technology they use, as well as the pros of making the announcements visual.
It was a pretty fantastic experience; as Renton students had the chance to learn from the very students who are involved daily.
When it comes to learning from PCMS and digitizing RHS, it is a topic that Renton should be thinking about more often than not. It could not only broaden the scope of information reaching students, but it could also change the whole game, allowing students to access the announcements, online, and even have options for translation for students’ families who speak different languages at home.
Evolving the school digitally is a big step in what some would say is the right direction for Renton.
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