DMA Central


Adventures in Art & Digital Photography: Unlocking Genius at an Early Age

Course: Junior Adventures in Art & Digital Photography

DMA Instructor: Megan Howe

Education: Western Washington University; Bellingham, WA (Major: Child Development, w/ Reading Specialist Certification). Master’s degree: Boston College; Chestnut Hill, MA (Major: Curriculum and Instruction, Teaching English Language Learners).

Professional Portrait: A talented educator and gifted photographer, Megan Howe brings numerous skills and endless energy to her work. Currently a 3rd Grade teacher at the Graham and Parks Alternative Public School in Cambridge, MA, Megan will change coasts this fall and begin teaching 4th Grade at Larchmont Charter School in West Hollywood. Her six years of teaching children (in combination with her undergrad major in Child Development) give her special insight into today’s kids. She knows what makes them tick and how to help them unlock their creative potential. Megan combines her superb educational credentials with a confident understanding of today’s digital media and an artist’s passion for expression.

DMA Campus: UCLA


Put a digital camera in a young summer campers hands and show them in how to use it – not just to focus and shoot, but to really take advantage of the technology’s amazing potential. Then teach them the connection between digital photography and traditional art – by not just showing campers famous works of art, but guiding them as they recreate major masterpieces. Experiencing for themselves the same techniques used by art’s great masters.

“The marriage of art and digital photography really enriches the program and gives kids a more in-depth perspective as to how to see the world as an artist.”

At Digital Media Academy’s computer & visual arts summer camp, learning is strictly a hands-on process, no matter if you’re using a digital camera or picking up a paint brush. Now, Megan is ramping up for another great summer and getting ready to teach digital photography and art to kids ages 6 through 8 in DMA’s Junior Adventures in Art & Digital Photography summer camp course.

DMA Instructor Megan Howe helps kids take a hands-on approach to learning how art and digital photography work together.

“I love seeing the kids’ faces when they really get to explore with the digital camera.” You can hear the excitement in Megan’s voice: “I love seeing the kids’ faces when they really get to explore with the digital camera, their faces light up the first time they see the image on their camera screen…just as they do the first time they upload a picture and see their work, or when they share their work with others. And then their faces really light up when they present the slide show of their photographs to their families.”

Digital photography isn’t just a summer hobby for this teacher, either; she tells DMAC that she incorporates today’s electronic technology into her classroom activities throughout the academic year. This way, her “digital” skills never become outdated, because they stay in constant use.

“I love seeing the kids’ faces when they really get to explore with the digital camera.”

This summer, kids in her Junior Adventures in Digital Photography and Art course will get a well-rounded overview of both art forms. For their training in digital photography, the first step is getting familiar with the equipment. “The kids learn the parts of a digital camera, how to hold it and what each part does. This helps them with the basics for the rest of the sessions,” Megan explains. “Then we learn things like how to zoom, how to photograph shadows and photographing using the ‘rule of thirds.’ This gives the kids a variety of photographs to look through and choose for their slide show. It also gives them experience using different techniques.”

Those are all great learning activities, but it’s not the whole picture. “We also learn how to edit the photographs,” says Megan. “This includes an introduction to I-photo, cropping, retouching, and creating black and white photos. Then the kids put all these skills together to create a slide show.”

Megan, an expert photographer, captured this close-up of a rock-climbing snail.

What makes this Junior Adventures course really special, however, is that it also underscores the connection between digital photography and traditional art. The course’s art sessions familiarize students with the works of five important artists – Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’Keefe, Henri Matisse and Eric Carle – by letting the kids use a technique related to each particular artist. So kids experience Van Gogh’s amazing use of color by using chalk pastels to recreate his signature masterpiece, “Starry Night.” To study action painter Pollock, kids will actually learn his famous method of “drip painting.” Each artist’s technique – from cutting paper and making collages like Matisse to mixing colors of paint a la Georgia O’Keefe – will broaden the child’s appreciation and knowledge of art. Even more importantly, these activities will help identify special talents and interests possessed by that child.

Megan commands the imaginations of the young crowd.

Megan feels that both parts of the course carry equal significance for that child’s training. “Students split their day between creating art on paper and capturing it with a camera,” she says. “The marriage of art and digital photography really enriches the program and gives kids a more in-depth perspective as to how to see the world as an artist.”

DMA offers computer and visual arts summer camps and courses for budding artists of all age groups, in a wide range of creative areas. DMA instructors have the quality credentials that count to parents and other educators and their methods of instruction represent the best and latest professional teaching practices. Learn more about DMA programs and instructors by visiting Digital Media Academy.

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Kids Learning Pro Web Design at Age 10! Technology Classes + Computer Camp for Kids

“Wow! That animation looks great! Ok. Now we’re going to take the animated Flash movie you just created and you are going to import it into Dreamweaver on your web page. Let’s all do this together! Ready?”

I am right in the middle of another great Digital Media Adventures course for kids at Stanford: Web Design and Flash. We are taking an in depth look at the Adobe Creative Suite applications: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Dreamweaver, and Adobe Flash. We are on the third day of the five-day course at Stanford University. My class just got back into the classroom from playing a crazy game of Slaughter Ball. It sounds scary, but it’s a lot of fun. Sort of like Dodge Ball. The kids in my class are a little out of breath from playing ball, but that’s to be expected at a summer camp. They came running in and jumped (literally) in their seats excited about their Flash movies they created just before the break.

While the kids are experiencing all the fun of a summer camp, they are also getting an unbelievable learning experience. That’s what makes this the full summer computer camp experience. They are learning the same pro applications we are teaching across the Stanford campus in our adult web design courses. The professional Adobe applications like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Flash are the real deal! The kids pick up the technology so fast. That makes it really fun to teach. It’s interesting how much better kids interact with technology they have grown up with their whole life.

Earlier in the week, the kids in my class had already designed and created their own logo and company business card design. Their custom business card had their picture from a photograph taken in the class. The graphics and effects they created turned out amazing. They had learned the ins and outs of the Adobe software and were creating a matching website to go with their cards and logo. They were now adding an animated movie they created in Flash to spice up their website design.

In the next three classrooms I can faintly hear the other Adventures classes. The kids in 3d video Game Design course are screaming about some new level they created trying to destroy their enemy. From the Robotics and Programming class I can hear cheers of two robots racing. I see the Film, Digital Movie Making and Effects class go by with all their cameras, mics, lights, and scripts to go act, film, and direct their next scene. I wish I’d been exposed to this when I was this age! This computer camp is the real deal.

kids computer camp learning and fun

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