Sacred Heart partners with digital media program at Bethel High School

Sacred Heart University’s Department of Communication and Media Studies will partner with Bethel High School’s Digital Academy of Arts and Sciences to introduce high school students to multimedia production practices. The program will kick off next fall.

This partnership will give BHS students the opportunity to attend classes and workshops taught by SHU faculty and industry professionals.

“We look forward to complementing the impressive digital media curriculum already in place at Bethel High School,” said Jim Castonguay, associate professor and director of SHU’s master’s in communication program.

Castonguay recently visited BHS with his colleague, Professor Andrew Miller.

“Bethel High School’s effective use of technology and media across the curriculum provides an excellent model for other schools to emulate,” Castonguay said.

Last spring, members of BHS’s Skills21 Academy class created a full-scale multimedia project based on the importance of preserving the dwindling honeybee population. The students worked together to create an awareness campaign, using social media like Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Facebook, and clearly outlined the problem as well as the solution on their website. The group also produced a documentary that included interviews with both a local gardener and a beekeeper.

“Our students are at such an advantage technologically and creatively,” said John Ryan, who develops the Digital Academy’s curriculum and chairs the Department of Applied Studies at BHS. “By their senior year, they have worked in filmmaking, gaming development, digital storytelling and animation. They understand the foundations of multimedia.”

Sacred Heart plans to offer BHS students courses for college credit, internship experiences and summer workshops with SHU’s communication and media arts majors serving as mentors and classroom learning assistants.  Students from BHS will draw from their new critical thinking skills and production knowledge to create short multimedia presentations and artifacts. Future plans include the co-authoring of a grant proposal to fund additional collaborations.

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