|Reid Middle School Installs New TV Studio|
|By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff|
03:39PM / Friday, August 24, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When Reid Middle Students return to school, they're going to find a brand new TV studio.
Volunteers installed the new studio on Friday.
On Friday volunteers from the school, Sabic and Pittsfield Community TV were installing a new media center filled with some of the same technological gadgets the professional studios use.
The equipment is all courtesy of a $25,000 grant from Sabic to improve science, technology, engineering and math education.
"The kids are going to be learning on TV equipment that people in the industry will recognize," Shawn Serre, both a parent and PCTV access coordinator, said on Friday. "This is absolutely the full deal."
The media center features two cameras with tripods, a switchboard, an audio board, two new computers with professional editing programs, lighting fixtures and a entire background featuring drops depicting the school, anchor desk and dividing walls. In another section of the school, the room was spruced up with new paint and a stage for theater productions.
The studio is paving the way for the English teachers to revamp their curriculum to meet 21st Century Learning frameworks. Instructional director Monica Zanin created an entire educational program to use the new technology. The goal for English classes is to expand the traditional writing and transform it into tangible usages in communication.
"This is enhancing the writing lab," Zanin said. "This fits the new standards that look more at speaking and listening."
English teacher Debra Guachione, who will be using the new lab the most, said the contents of the writing class is not going to change but the studio will improve the way she teaches.
"We're not creating a new curriculum, we're dressing this room up with a media center," Guachione said. "It just lends itself to 21st Century Learning."
The equipment is all industry standards.
Literacy is emphasized in all subjects in the trending 21st Century Learning educational practices and the studio is expected to be no different. Teachers for any subject will able to use the studio. Whether is it reenactments of historic battles, scientific presentation or performing a dramatic play, the studio will be available or the equipment can be easily moved into another classroom, the teachers said.
Their work can not only be shown live throughout the school but can be transmitted to PCTV and shown throughout the city. The school may also partner with outside community agencies for projects.
"We are teaching technology integration," Guachione said of the various usages.
Additionally, students will get excited about the video production aspect, Guachione said, which is part of the inspiration behind the grant application. A group of parents, students, teachers and community members were brainstorming ways to further engage the students.
They reflected on a short-live TV series Reid Live - a short news program broadcast throughout the school - and other on-camera activities that students were excited about. From there the aspects of the plan began to come together.
City schools have been working toward integrating technology but have never been mostly been focusing on upgrading computers and purchasing iPads.
A theater room was also repainted and a stage will be added.
The inclusion of a full studio via grant funding is something the district would not have been able to afford right now, according to Jim Schulz, director of technology for the school system.
"Resources are always limited and the focus has been on the data side - computers and iPads," Schulz said. "We support this but it really was an initiative from Reid and PCTV."
It took a total of three years of planning between the faculty and PCTV to refine the grant application and Sabic awarded the $25,000 this year. Serre said PCTV has an educational channel and is always looking for ways to help out.
"We support all of the schools," Serre said. "We all brainstormed to come up with the equipment that would fit the budget."
PCTV will also be teaching the teachers how to use the equipment.