Could cultivating creative passion be the key to keeping students motivated? That certainly seems to be the case at Tomlinson Middle School in Lawton, Oklahoma. “A lot of students here are at the age where they will drop out of school unless they find something they are excited about,” says Vanessa Perez, who teaches digital literacy, multimedia, and web design at Tomlinson.
In 2014, knowing that many of her students had big dreams of becoming graphic, video game, or web designers, Perez became determined to create a curriculum that challenged students to go beyond the basics of digital literacy. She also wanted to equip her classroom with tools that would both engage and inspire her students. Unable to afford these tools, she applied for free creativity software through Adobe and ConnectED and received a lab set of Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Premiere Elements, and Adobe Captivate.
So far, eighth graders have used Photoshop Elements for a “Design Your Own Species” project, in which they digitally combined images of several different animals into one. Perez plans to expand her curriculum with Premiere Elements. Each spring, students will create a video memorial about the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Perez says her students’ confidence has soared since she brought Adobe software into the computer lab. “By having access to industry-standard software, students can discover what they really love to do and make their dreams more realistic and achievable.” says Perez.