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DIGICOM Learning Institute

DIGICOM Learning Institute provides teachers and students with the training and support necessary to enable them to facilitate digital storytelling in the classroom. DIGICOM has worked for the past eight years with the Palm Springs Unified School Distict (PSUSD) professional development department to provide training for teachers of all levels of experience to increase their digital storytelling knowledge and skills. Last year we opened our workshops to include districts across Riverside County.

The DIGICOM Leaning Institute provides training within a focused five-course sequenced curriculum structure in which teachers move from beginning to advanced levels of digital storytelling implementation.  The five-course sequence has been accredited by the University of California, Riverside.  Teachers that successfully complete all five courses earn the DIGICOM Professional Certification. Our first class or Certificed DIGICOM Teachers will be graduating in the summer of 2017.

Each winter and summer, DIGICOM delivers a week of multi-faceting training at the Palm Springs Unified School District Common Core Conference.  In 2016, DIGICOM also added a week of training for teachers and administrators across Riverside County. Over 130 teachers are trained each session, which included 90 veteran DIGICOM teachers who came back to advance their skills as they work toward their DIGICOM Professional Certification.  As a result, our DIGICOM family has grown to include over 300 teachers reaching over 7,000 students.  To ensure our program helps all learn how to incorporate the new digital literacies into the Common Core and Digital Arts curriculum, extensive in-classroom follow-up and support is provided by our DIGICOM Faculty.

During the academic year digital media specialists - distinguished community volunteers from the movie-making industry, our industry-professional faculty members, lead teachers from the school system, and accomplished video production PSUSD graduates - travel throughout the District visiting classrooms from grades K-12 to advise and support video productions.  On weekends and during vacation breaks, teachers and students are provided additional training through intensive and specialized workshops.

In 2016, the DIGICOM team also developed the infrastructure for the DIGICOM Fellows Program. Nine PSUSD teachers will be piloting the program in 2016-17.  The objective of the Fellows Program will be to provide just-in-time, on-going support for these teachers as they integrate digital storytelling throughout their curriculum.  One outcome of the program will be a library of “vetted” lesson plans that can be shared throughout the educational give an intentional boost to the cultural shift that has already begun in PSUSD so digital storytelling becomes an important means of communication in the classroom.  Through digital storytelling, students will demonstrate an in-depth understanding of essential concepts and meaningful engagement with vital 21st Century Literacy.

To support this effort and to help DIGICOM demonstrate scientifically that digital storytelling improves student learning, DIGICOM partnered with the University of California, Irvine to evaluate the Fellowship program over the next year.  University graduate students and professors will be assessing the impact of the Fellows program, specifically on the development student writing skills, as well as assessing the overall impact that of the DIGICOM Learning Institute on teachers’ instruction and student learning.

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