A success story out of Florida

Before I left on vacation (I'm back, by the way and officially jacked in...Go WiFi!
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor

Before I left on vacation (I'm back, by the way and officially jacked in...Go WiFi!), I asked what all of you were doing this summer. I heard from (and got a few ideas from) a tech coordinator out in Oregon. A couple days ago, I heard from a digital media instructor, Pete Episcopo, at Viera High School in central Florida who has found success in professional development and training for his counterparts, as well as exciting curricular work for his students. Here's his email (keep up the great work, Pete!):

I recently developed a program for Brevard County Schools (our district) that stresses 21st century skills and industry certification for students.

Basically, my passion for instructing students in everything from digital graphics, audio, and video to animation and effects exists due to the reality that they will communicating in this way no matter what their occupation. From creating exhibits in a courtroom to communicating scientific data in a college presentation, digital forms of communication are highly effective and the more able the author of these forms the better.

So, here's what I've been up to this summer in order to facilitate this challenge:

  • I taught a 2-week professional development workshop for digital media instructors from our district. The purpose was to give them the opportunity to get an Adobe Certified Associate certification and to help equip them for classroom success in their particular areas of instruction (web and print mainly). All 13 passed and even went on to gain other certifications related to their field. All this will ultimately make their classes more relevant, engaging, and fun for the students who are pursuing the same certifications.
  • Currently, I'm finishing the installation of equipment and software in an exciting, new initiative for Viera HS, The Academy for Digital Arts & Media. The Academy features a full HD Broadcast classroom-studio, a Lucas Films-quality post-production and graphics instructional area, and the opportunity for students to gain industry skills and advanced standing college credit in various digital technologies. Again, these "employable" skills are so relevant to students pursuing college or career paths after graduation.
  • As an Adobe Education Leader, I enjoyed the opportunity to speak at the Adobe Breakfast at NECC 2009 in Washington, D.C. on the topic of "Curriculum and Industry Certification, A Road to Somewhere." How awesome it was to share transferable and effective methods of implementing 21st curriculum and certification for programs of any size and budget. It's not out of the reach of anyone if they're longing to see it in their district.
  • In August, I'll have another AEL opportunity to speak to the New York City School District on the Implementation of Curriculum and Industry Certification. To know that our story is not just "our story" but a further movement in education around the world stressing skills that last for some time to come; especially in light of the fact that today's students may have 6 to 8 careers in a lifetime!

So being able to advance students, aid teachers and expand on their capacities in the wonders and challenges of digital communication skills and curriculum is making this a summer to remember for sure!

Regards, Pete

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