With their visual poetry, digital storytelling and persuasive social justice films, CPS students shone at this year’s Adobe Youth Voices TechXPO.
This exhibition of digital media projects featured those 6th – 12th graders who are currently enrolled in the District’s Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) program, which is currently being administered in 30 CPS schools.
“AYV gives students the chance to design original projects that strengthen their technology skills while giving voice to what they’re passionate about, what they struggle with, and who they are,” said Laura Vogel, AYV Coordinator for CPS.
A global youth media program, AYV is active in 62 countries, blending content and technology across all disciplines. Teachers who lead these programs in CPS schools receive specialized training during the summer, then spend the school year helping students shape and refine digital projects.
“TechXPO is the culminating event to our year,” said Jodi Mahoney, AYV Coordinator for Carl Von Linne Elementary. “Students see a project they started through to completion and develop great skills along the way.”
Mahoney’s students created a documentary about their school’s jazz band – a process that included developing a story board, conducting interviews, working with video editing software and adding special effects.
“What began as a piece to promote our jazz band turned into a film about what it takes to make a band work and what music means to our various groups of students,” said Mahoney. “It was fascinating for me to see this transformation, and even more gratifying for my students to see their film on the big screen.”
Theirs was one of several student films screened at TechXPO, which also included a gallery of professionally displayed graphic art posters and several breakout sessions on topics like art and social movements, professional branding, and developing creative confidence.
“All of our students can benefit from seeing how their creative output can have an effect on our world,” said Todd Strother, who brought 16 students from Burley Elementary to this year’s TechXPO. “AYV works to build that creative confidence through inquiry, media production and art exhibitions.”
The majority of Strother’s students created graphic design posters, delving deeply into Photoshop to learn the appropriate photography and topography skills. Others used digital cameras and characters to create stop-motion animations focused on environmental issues.
“AYV gives students valuable training for creating multimedia art,” said Strother. “And along with the technical experience comes and authentic outlet for student voice.”