"Story is the foundation, technology is the tool." This is the mantra under which DATA DS students create their work. No matter how advanced the technology or how proficient the technical skills, the ability to clearly and effectively communicate a story is what matters most. This is a skill that students will carry with them through college and careers.
However, technology does play a major role in Digital Storytelling (it's hard to be digital without technology). The democratization of filmmaking in recent years has made it possible to create professional quality work without the budgets and resources of major studios. In 2008, when the first video-enabled DSLR cameras entered the market, professional filmmaking became much more accessible to the average consumer. These cameras, with large image sensors and interchangeable lenses, make it possible to get depth, color, and clarity that was previously only accessible to industry professionals.
And to put it simply, doesn't a great story deserve to be told in a visually appealing and effective way?
In the classroom, DATA DS students are building skills in filmmaking using DSLR cameras (sometimes referred to as "HDSLRs" when used for video) and a wide variety of lenses, supports, audio recorders, and lighting setups. Last school year, the DATA-DS lab was upgraded to include Final Cut Pro X, allowing students to create work using industry-standard software.
Learning to use the tools necessary to create high quality video and film projects not only equips DATA-DS students with skills for the Arts, Media, and Entertainment industries, it also improves problem-solving abilities while raising the level of technological literacy– something that is valuable in any career field
To better reflect this change, this year the capstone DATA-DS course has been changed from Journalism to Digital Media Production. The new course still allows for journalism to play a key role, but also opens the door to a wider variety of media projects, including creative short films (an option that students had been seeking for a number of years). Additionally, Digital Media Production is an A-G and CTE approved course, helping to ensure that our program follows the California Partnership Academy model.
New projects are always in production, but many pieces of student work are available on the DATA-DS Vimeo page.