Learning Gate After-School Program

About the Project

Allison Papke, an elementary school teacher and counselor from Let’s Make Movies, initiated an after-school filmmaking club in September 2008 at Learning Gate Academy. The school is an environmentally focused charter school in the greater Tampa. When Allison initiated the idea for an after-school program, she consulted with the CLC research team. Then she borrowed equipment—video cameras and Mac laptop computers—from the Florida Center for Instructional Technology.

One of the members of the research team, Deborah, is on-site weekly to help with both program development and logistics. Another research team member, James, has visited numerous times to both observe the process and work with the children. Allison also has recruited other teachers from her school (initially inexperienced with filmmaking) as well as two former camp counselors, to help with the program.

In the first semester, Allison followed the Let’s Make Movies protocol of training and practice. The students watched movies, learned cinematic techniques, created scripts, filmed movies, and edited their movies with iMovie software. Now, in the second semester, Allison has introduced stop-motion animation as well as traditional moving-image filmmaking. The students are gaining experience with both methods and will choose the medium for their projects.

About the Research

The research for the project is twofold. First, every week, Allison and Deborah discus s the re-appropriation of Let’s Make Movies concepts into the after-school community. Different from a summer camp, an after-school setting carries a “school-like” atmosphere that was less present during Let’s Make Movies. Additionally, the after-school program is a one-day-per-week program as opposed to the week-long structure of the summer camp. Allison and Deborah are working out these differences and documenting their program as a case study, to share with other schools.

The second area of research with the after school program involves the concept of fast literacies, or the bending back of new media literacies (from Let’s Make Movies filmmaking camp) into school contexts (bound by traditional concepts of literacy). In this project, the research team is documenting, through a cross-case analysis, how new media literacies are situated in different contexts.

Learning Gate Community School Website