Student at Connections Public Charter School (CPCS) in Hilo, HI, are discovering creative ways to connect academics, culture and technology. Through a new afterschool program called Studio Shaka, students are using Adobe software to take ownership of their education through project-based learning. They can film, edit and produce short videos, design websites or social media sites and more. And all of the skills they learn contribute to their ability to succeed in technology-driven education and careers.
One student took pictures of Historic Downtown Hilo, edited and composed them using Adobe Photoshop Elements and created a website. He also used Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects to produce a stunning time-lapse video of the Hawaiian shoreline, scenery and night sky for his senior project. Motivated by his own success, he now helps other students in Studio Shaka use digital storytelling to bring meaning to the concepts they’re learning in school.
CPCS serves a diverse K–12 student community. Many students are of mixed ancestry, with heritages as varied as Hawaiian, Tahitian and Native American. The value and influence of culture and ethnicity on student growth and development are essential components of teaching and learning at the school. As part of its commitment to helping students appreciate the value of their unique cultures, CPCS launched Studio Shaka through a partnership with the High Tech Youth Network (HTYN), a learning community focused on empowering young people in hard-to-reach and underserved communities throughout the Pacific.
“The strategic vision for Studio Shaka is to encourage members to think creatively, critically and strategically to make effective decisions, solve problems and achieve goals in their academic, personal and social lives,” says Thatcher. “Technology is a cornerstone of the program.” As Studio Shaka became more popular, Thatcher recognized the need to provide his students with more tools to help them reach their goals. He applied for a grant from Adobe & ConnectED and secured a lab set of Premiere Elements, Photoshop Elements, Adobe Presenter and Adobe Captivate.
Empowered with the right tools and opportunities to demonstrate their talents, Studio Shaka’s students are more motivated and proactive in guiding their own learning. “In a small community such as Hilo, youth run higher risks of losing interest and leaving school,” says Thatcher. “Students are eager to stay in school and participate in Studio Shaka, both because it’s a supportive ‘ohana,’ or family, and because they have a chance to use high-quality tools like Adobe creative software.”
As part of President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative, Adobe is donating over $300 million in software and professional development services to schools across the United States.