DMA Central

THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY FOR DIGITAL MEDIA ACADEMY

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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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

HD and Blu-ray Quality Movies Getting Too Real?

There I am standing in front of the most beautiful high definition audio and visual setup money can buy. I have completely lost reality of where I am. I have totally forgotten what I am doing inside an electronics store. I am surrounded with the televisions, computers, cameras, gadgets and only the latest technology (at the best prices I’m told), but none of that matters to me now. I have completely lost touch with reality. I am completely transfixed with the 60″+ flat screen, crisp surround sound system with the super 1200 watt subwoofer, and the high definition blu-ray player in front of me. It seems nothing can suck me out of this odd technology trance I have been sucked into.

High Definition Experience

For a moment I feel as though I am a real pirate in the Caribbean on board with Captain Jack and the crew. I get kind of grossed out with Davy Jones squirming tentacles. Ewww. I never noticed his mouth moved like that when he talked! I have to turn away, but my eyes become glued to another 65″ flat plasma screen. Then I am suddenly on the back of a funny looking dragon flying down into a huge canyon. As silly as it sounds, I was momentarily scared. Then I stop and realize the 3d dragon looks…. fake. Lame. I turn to another huge LCD flat-screen to get pulled into an amazing live concert. Now this is great! The crowd is screaming. The music is pumping out of the awesome surround sound speakers, the lights are flashing. I feel like I am inside a Rock Band video game. I feel like I am on the front row at the concert…. and all of a sudden I realize how scratched and ugly Sting’s guitar is. Actually, the whole group looks really old. Look how much he is sweating. OK. That’s enough.

Then, all of a sudden I am pulled out of my technology trance and out of the home video and audio department. I need to go find the Apple computers. Do they have those new 17″ MacBook Pro laptops yet?

As I stroll back down the large aisles I begin to think about how quickly technology is moving. Can designers, digital artists, 3d animators, filmmakers, audio technicians, and creative programmers keep up? You better bring your best 3d models and animated characters if your viewers are going to be critiquing them on a ginormous flat screen TV with the highest of high definition disc players.

Think about it. I was snapped out of the movie by thinking about how fake the 3d character looked in the movie. If the the movie had been on a low resolution, old-school setup, I might have been able to pass over the poorly rendered and animated polygons. I wouldn’t have noticed. I’m just saying…. 

It’s time to flex your creative muscle at Digital Media Academy. Get in some of the computer courses this summer at any of the prestigious summer locations.

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

Girls and Technology … and DMA

When I was an engineering student over ten years ago at the University of Illinois, I was often one of a few girls in classes of 50 to 100 students.  I knew every girl in each graduating class of my engineering program.   We rallied around each other, aware that the low representation of girls in our engineering classes was possibly, though unintentionally, discouraging young girls from pursuing technical fields of study.

Now that I am working for a company focusing on providing creative, computer-based experiences for kids and teens, I am grateful to see that my experience as an engineering college student is no longer the norm.  Increasingly, girls are exploring new areas of interest.  Last summer, we had over 300 girls take classes here at the Digital Media Academy, in areas like filmmaking, web design, video game creation, robotics and animation.young-girl-in-class

The most popular courses taken by girls, both in our Teen program and in our Adventures program, were filmmaking courses.  In fact, across all of our locations, Hands-on Filmmaking for Teens averaged 42% girls and 58% boys at both beginning and advanced levels.  In some weeks, the number of girls actually exceeded the number of boys!  At a younger age, our Adventures in Movie Making and Special Effects course, for kids ages 9-13, averaged 32% girls and 68% boys.  The most popular class for girls in our Adventures program was Adventures in Web Design and Flash, which averaged 47% girls and 53% boys.

Taking a closer look at what courses girls are choosing, there are some common themes.   Both filmmaking and web design, while deeply technical, are also very relational and creative areas of exploration.  Our filmmaking courses are designed to have students work in groups, from creating a storyboard to post-production editing.  The experience is very relational, and the end product is a film that communicates and expresses the group’s creativity.  Our web design courses also serve a similar purpose.  While the work itself is less group based, the end product is an individual web site that distinctively communicates each student’s creative expression to the world.

Perhaps these common themes can help make some of our other classes more popular to girls.  Historically in our summer camp program, the ratio of boys to girls in classes like video game creation and robotics is 10 to 1.  What can be done to make these classes more attractive to girls?teen-girl-at-computerAre the topics, inherently less a vehicle for communication, less attractive to girls by nature?  Or, in video game creation, are there different types of games that may be more appealing to girls?  Or, like my engineering classes in college, are these classes less attractive simply because of the historically lower representation of girls?

Whatever the answers to these questions, we will continue exploring and will certainly do our best to make all of our DMA experiences meaningful to boys and girls alike!

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments