DIGICOM will now bring its digital storytelling program into more valley middle and high schools thanks to a $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. DIGICOM teaches students the fundamentals of using easily available digital technology such as cell phones, tablets and computers to create thoughtful short stories about their communities, their lives, and dreams, as a means of learning academic content.
Through their elaborate media arts program, DIGICOM fosters critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration, which are cornerstones of the Department of Education’s Common Core State Standards. The organization, which has benefited more than 7,000 Palm Springs Unified students annually since 2009, will use the grant to expand the program to Desert Sands and Coachella Valley Unified School Districts.
“DIGICOM empowers young people to share their life experiences by giving them a voice through digital storytelling,” said David Vogel, DIGICOM founder and CEO. “First we train the teachers interested in incorporating the DIGICOM program into their classrooms, then students learn scriptwriting, videotaping, editing, and production. Often the use of video is incorporated into other lessons, so students are not simply learning to create videos, they are learning how to communicate through digital media, which is everywhere today.”
Students of DIGICOM are given the opportunity to enter their films in one of the three film festivals each May. More than 1,500 students, teachers and family members attend the annual Film Festivals, which provide students the opportunity to show their work and be recognized.
“DIGICOM was so successful in Palm Springs Unified School District; it’s wonderful we can extend the DIGICOM experience – as a potentially life-changing opportunity – to more young people in the community,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director of the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.
Along with the grant, the Coachella Valley Spotlight partnership offers recipients publicity opportunities. DIGICOM was featured on CBS Local 2’s “Eye on the Desert,” in public service announcements and on the cbslocal2.com website throughout the month of May.
“Digital storytelling is becoming more and more prominent in our world, and teaching students how to use this medium productively is commendable, and something we are very excited about,” said Mike Stutz, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates CBS Local 2.
For more information about DIGICOM and the DIGICOM Film Festivals, visit http://www.digicomfilmfestival.com.