Adobe Illustrator Snail Project

One of the first Adobe Illustrator projects is the Snail Project. It is one of my favorite projects because the students begin with a tutorial on how to draw a snail in Adobe Illustrator. Then, the students add their own personality to the snail. These were completed by the freshman class in the DME-110 Introduction to Digital Media course.

SkillsUSA Leadership Meeting and Cookout

On Tuesday, March 10, 2020 the Caldwell Applied Sciences Academy’s SkillsUSA members had a leadership meeting and cookout after school. Rachael Robinson, a former CASA student and currently a SkillsUSA employee, led the team-building activities. She did an excellent job and the students really enjoyed it. Lots of yelling and laughter could be heard coming from the meeting room. After the leadership meeting and team-building activities, the students ate hotdogs, chips and cookies together. This was a great afternoon of fun, laughter, team problem-solving, food, and relaxing. All the students did awesome and I’m really proud of them.

Meeting flyer

SkillsUSA Regional Rally 2020

On Monday, February 24, 2020 several Advanced Technologies Academy students participated in the SkillsUSA Regional Rally. The rally was held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, NC. There were 565 students present competing in 91 different competitions. SkillsUSA empowers its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens.  SkillsUSA improves the quality of our nation’s future skilled workforce through the development of Framework skills that include personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics.

Broadcast News Production team on stage
Megan, Maddie, Max, and Garrett placed first in the Broadcast News Production competition. The purpose of the competition is to evaluate each contestant’s preparation for employment and to recognize outstanding teams for excellence and professionalism in the fields of broadcast news production, news anchoring, directing, technical directing and floor directing.
Student on stage with award
Colby placed first in the Internetworking competition. The contest is defined by industry standards as set by the current industry technical standards. The contest will consist of five parts: An end-to- end network configuration, a troubleshooting exercise, a simulation TAC call, a written exam, and a design project.
Student on stage with award
Ethien placed third in the Computer Programming competition. The purpose of the competition is to evaluate each contestant’s preparation for employment and to recognize outstanding students for excellence and professionalism in the field of computer programming.

Other competitions included:

American Spirit – 1st place – Kathy Clark, Kylie Annis, Makaleigh Hendrix
Electronics Technology – 2nd place – Zachary Atkins
Extemporaneous Speaking – 2nd place – Allen Clark
Mechatronics – 1st place – Karli West, Tori Davis
Medical Math – 4th place – Zoey Lowman
Mobile Robotics – 1st place – Evan Aldien, Sebastian Noi
Pledge – 2nd place – Rebekah Wood

Mobile App Prototypes

In the DME-120 Introduction to Multimedia Applications class, students created mobile app prototypes using Adobe XD. This is a vector-based software for designing and prototyping user experiences for web and mobile apps. Students can create static designs and turn them into interactive prototypes that simulates the flow of an app. The students focused on the User Interface (UI) and the User Experience (UX) of the mobile applications.

The students worked in teams to create the prototypes. They first had to work out a project plan with deadlines for each stage of production. Then, they produced a written proposal explaining the project. Each team created a storyboard for the app. This helped the team visualize what the app would look like once completed. The students created a low-fidelity (low detail) wireframe and a high-fidelity (high detail) wireframe. When the high-fidelity wireframe was completed, the team received feedback from the class and made revisions based on that feedback. Once the teams added the interactivity to the apps, they were able to test their mobile app prototype on an iPad. This gave the teams a better feel of the mobile app’s user experience.

The final stage of the project was a group presentation. The teams had to pretend they were presenting at the Advanced Technologies Mobile App Conference. Their audience (the rest of the class) were investors looking to invest $100,000 in a new mobile app. At the end of the presentations, the investors filled out a form and decided how much money they would invest in each app. We totaled up the money received for each app to see which team had the most money to continue development of the app. These were some of the best presentations I have ever seen, really entertaining.

Check out the video (below) to see the students’ work on the mobile app prototypes.

The Warhol Project

The DME-110 Introduction to Digital Media students recently completed the Warhol project. The project is based on the work of Andy Warhol, who was an American artist that led an art movement known as pop art. The students began the project by taking a photo of themselves using the webcam built into the Apple iMac computers. Then, they edited the photo in Adobe Photoshop by using a filter to convert the photo into line art. The students learned about the different selection tools as they made certain selections to color the images. They also learned how to duplicate layers to create multiple images. I think even though the students were following the same procedures for the project, each student found a way to express themself.

The Photo Letters Project

The DME-110 Introduction to Digital Media students completed the Photo Letters Project this week. This is one of my favorite projects because I get to learn a little bit more about my students. The students begin the project by searching the Web to find photos that represent who they are. Then, they use Adobe Photoshop to place the photos inside the letters of their first name. The purpose of the project is to learn how to use the text tool and layer mask technique in Adobe Photoshop. We had a great time sharing our projects in class and learning about each other. Please browse through the photo gallery below and let us know what you think.

I Am… Poems on the Radio

The Advanced Technology Academy just finished a collaborative project with Mrs. Robinson’s American History classes. Each American History student wrote a poem about a famous person in American history. Once the students’ poems were finalized with Mrs. Robinson, the students came to the Advanced Technologies Academy to record their reading of the poems.

Bradley and Jennifer, Advanced Technologies Academy juniors, took the lead with this project. These two students setup the recording studio with a MacBook Pro, GarageBand, and a professional quality microphone. Then, they helped the other students use the equipment to record their poems. Bradley and Jennifer also helped with scheduling the recording appointments and editing the audio files to prepare them for the radio.

The poems will be aired January – March 2020 on local radio stations, WJRI – 100.5 FM and 1340 AM; WKGX 104.5 FM. Be sure to tune into these stations to catch these student poems on air.

Josh is helping Max with his poem recording.
Josh is helping Max with his poem recording.

New Promotional Videos

This video was produced by Bradley, Haylie, Jennifer, Josh, Katie, Maddie and Max, juniors in the Advanced Technologies Academy. The video is tailored for parents interested in the Caldwell Applied Sciences Academy.
This video was produced by Callie, Deny, Garrett, Megan, Morgan, and Owen, juniors in the Advanced Technologies Academy. The video is tailored for students interested in the Caldwell Applied Sciences Academy.

Students in the Graphic Design Tools class submitted their final cuts for the new CASA promotional videos today. The students worked in groups to create the videos. One group produced a video tailored towards parents and one group produced a video tailored towards students interested in the Caldwell Applied Sciences Academy. The groups delivered their videos along with a group presentation. In the presentation, students reflected on their work. They discussed how they contributed to the project, how the group worked together and communicated, what were some of the challenges and how they overcame them, and how closely the project followed the original plan.

Each group had to create an outline of the video during the planning stage. They discussed what topics needed to be included in the video and what supporting details were needed. Once they had a solid outline, the students wrote a script for the video. This may have been the most difficult part of the project for them. This forced them to think about the content and visualize the video before it was created. It is so tempting for them to just grab a camera and go out to see what happens. Once the script was written, the group had to create a storyboard. This really made the students visualize the video and work out potential problems before recording began. After the planning stages were completed, the students then had access to the recording equipment.

I think the students learned many lessons during the project. This was a huge project to manage. Time management and problem-solving skills were put to the test for sure. One of the final steps in the project was to create open captions for the video. This proved to be more time consuming than the students originally thought. For the open captions, they had to create subtitles for what was being said in the video. This will make the video more accessible for people with hearing difficulties. As the students were rushing to beat the clock, I’m sure they left a mis-spelled word or two in the videos.

I must say my favorite part in producing these video was turning my pen into a lightsaber. How cool is that?!

Josh making some adjustments to the parent video storyboard.
Megan and Morgan recording Garrett for the student video.

New Academy Advertisement

Benjamin Cederberg, a junior in the Advanced Technologies Academy, has designed a new informational flyer for the academy. In the class, DME-115 Graphic Design Tools, Benjamin used Adobe InDesign to create the advertisement. I wanted something that we could hand out during parent nights and 8th grade tours. The flyer begins with a short description of the academy. I also thought it was important to include a list of classes that are included in the academy. Students can find a description of each course on the website. This will give students a better idea of the classes they will be taking. It was really difficult to decide which examples of student projects to include on the flyer. There are so many to choose from. We decided on the fun Adobe Illustrator Snail project, the class poster project, the photo of the 2018 prom DJs, the photo from the production of the school promotional video, and the photo of Mr. Bones a prop that shows up from time to time. The flyer also includes a few possible careers students could pursue with their skills and knowledge gained while in the academy. We end the flyer with a list of credentials student will earn during their four years in the academy. Below is a link to download a PDF file of the informational flyer.

Class Holiday Card

A few students in the junior class wanted to create a holiday card from the Advanced Technologies Academy. I thought it was a wonderful idea. So, we planned for a day to take the photo and talked about how we wanted the card to look. The students brought in their holiday gear to wear for the photo. It was great! We recruited Mr. Pitts to be our photographer. Thank you Mr. Pitts for your patience as we decided on different poses. The students say that I don’t ever say no to their ideas. I’m sure I have, but I like to think that I won’t say no to a GOOD idea.