Students exercising digital voices

Some North Winnipeg high school students are learning about future careers in the online world while earning credits in post-secondary web design work.

From now until June, the students are taking part in a new digital media course being offered at Sisler High School in the North End.

The aim of the program, which was launched late last year, is to provide students with an opportunity to embrace, document, depict and digitize culture through digital media.

Students from Sisler, St. John’s and Children of the Earth high schools and the Winnipeg Adult Education Centre are all taking part in the course.

“I was looking towards a career in computer programming and web design, so this fit right in,” said St. John’s High School student John Bell.

Sisler instructor Jamie Leduc said the nature of the course work is changing the way education is being delivered.

“It is changing how we teach students and education,” he said, noting with today’s advanced media, students are learning to come “out of their shells” more.

Students Brittany Bryson and Abby Kepka tried their hands at instructing the rest of their 30-plus classmates last week.

“Knowing we will have to explain things to the class helps us with the concepts as well,” Bryson said.

Leduc said the ability to document history with new media is helping better engage students.

“It made sense to bring media and cultural study together,” he said.

The course is engaging students outside of Winnipeg as well.

“We have partners in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom, and a student from Ontario is taking the curriculum via Skype,” Leduc said.

The digital media students have an opportunity to earn credits towards a web design certificate from the University of Winnipeg, thereby saving nearly $3,000 in tuition costs.

Course work includes an examination of technologies and skills from various arts disciplines including dance, drama and music. Visual art is adapted to create digital works incorporating photography, film, sound, animation and video.

Computer software, blogging, networking, game development, digital imaging, digital sound recording, 2-D and 3-D animation, multimedia production and web design are all part of the course’s curriculum.

“We’ve got students working on comics, video, games, music, jamming , with innovation on many platforms and levels,” Leduc said.

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