MNW Elementary goes digital

BARNUM – Students at Manson Northwest Webster Elementary are producing their own news videos, shown in the school and posted on the Manson Northwest Webster Community School District website.

According to Christine Sturgeon, an MNW teacher librarian, the students have learned the recording and digital editing skills to make the short videos on their own.

“It’s an extracurricular activity, done during the school day with sixth-graders,” Sturgeon said. “We do it once a week, with Friday announcements. Generally, it’s just here’s what’s for lunch, here are birthdays. Today in history.”

Students contribute also to the content of the videos, Colton Ricklifs, student video producer, said.

“Every week we do a question of the week, and it’s always different,” he said. “This week it was, what’s your favorite pizza topping.”

The students aren’t the only ones participating in the videos.

“Lately, our principal, Justin Daggett, has been adding a piece in there, to have a message to the students, with John Wooden’s pyramid of success,” Sturgeon said.

The inspiration for starting the extracurricular activity at the elementary school came when Sturgeon attended a Technology Integration and Instruction for the 21st Century conference in Storm Lake.

“Ed Zimmerle from the AEA (Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency) talks about doing video production, doing news broadcasts, with students,” Sturgeon said. “I met with him, and we decided to try to do it with elementary students, with sixth-graders.”

Since their first broadcast in February 2013, the program has been well received, Sturgeon said.

“The kids have had a lot of fun with it,” she said. “They’ve just grown leaps and bounds working on it.”

The students have become so skilled with the technology, Sturgeon said, they’ve taken over editing and posting duties for the five-minute shorts.

“Last year it was a half hour a week to write, to film and to edit. In a half hour, it can’t happen,” she said. “So they would help with the writing, and I would do the editing. But this year, I said you guys need to be doing more of the work to get the learning.”

The software the students use, Sturgeon said, is advanced for their grade level.

“We use Adobe Premiere Elements, which is not a child’s program at all,” she said. “It’s very powerful.”

Sturgeon described the program as “cutting edge” for the elementary.

“It adds a lot to the school,” she said. “It’s new technology for my kids. TV production has been going on in school for decades, but we haven’t been doing it. It’s been exceptional.”