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CTC program merges student passion with high tech skills and tools

Digital Multimedia helps students carve a path to creative futures

JAN. 18, 2012 - Daeshan Buseck was always intrigued by the videos he watched on YouTube.

“I would see these really cool videos people were doing that used different video effects,” said the Johnstown High School junior. The footage featured highlights and “walk-through” tips of popular video games.

Digital Multimedia student Daeshan Buseck at his workstationBuseck began to explore various software programs used to create online videos, and soon realized he could make money by recording his own videos. He also discovered HFM BOCES digital multimedia and communications program would be a great fit for him.

“I knew this program was really going to help me for my future career of graphic design or video effects,” he said.

While he had gained a fair amount of knowledge about multimedia on his own – Buseck is part of YouTube’s Partner Program, which allows creators and producers of original content to earn money from their videos on YouTube – he appreciates how much he has learned since starting the HFM BOCES program in September. “I learn something new every day because these Adobe programs are so immense,” he said.

Most students don’t enter the program with Buseck’s level of experience. Yet, teachers Andy Huth and Phil Schuyler know the instruction and hands-on experience provided through the program – one of 17 career and technical education programs at HFM BOCES – helps equip students for their future in digital media and communications.

Students learn, among other things, to design logos, create websites, shoot video and add animated features.

“Our students get a lot of information and they get it very quickly,” said Schuyler. “They learn nine different software titles in two years. You could spend a whole year on Photoshop in college, but here you’ll do Photoshop and eight other titles in two years.”

“We keep a tight pace,” Huth said.

Welcome to the real world

Schuyler said students also learn interpersonal skills. In the first year, students generally take on a communications project for an HFM BOCES department. They may be asked to create a logo, develop an informational brochure or create a poster about a program.

“The students have to approach the faculty and get the information they need for the project,” said Huth. He said faculty give feedback on how students handle the task. “It’s great practice for when they go into the world and do cold calling.”

Schuyler said the 21st century skills students learn– skills such as how to communicate, work in a group and think critically – are invaluable. “It doesn’t help if you’re a genius at the computer if you don’t have interpersonal skills,” he said.

Throughout the two-year program, students work for local companies on a variety of internship projects, which in the past have ranged from promotional videos for Nathan Littauer Hospital to posters for the Business in Education Alliance. The projects, Schuyler said, are an essential part of the students’ education. “If you’re not doing real-world projects, you’re not a career and technical school.”

Digital Multimedia classroomHuth said their HFM BOCES classrooms – which includes state-of-the-art Apple computers and digital equipment, as well as audio mixing and recording equipment in a digitally equipped sound studio – provides a “perfect environment” for students to learn.

“Students realize the potential of multimedia and their world,” said Huth. “Rather than being a watcher, they can be a contributor. They come to a supportive environment and are rewarded for trying to go above and beyond.”

Schuyler agreed. “Even if a student doesn’t choose to go into digital media, the skills they learn here can be used in any arena. Say some student decides to become a logger. They know how to create a website for their logging company,” he said. “It’s going to be something in their pocket, and these skills are indispensible in any industry today.”

Huth has been at HFM BOCES for six years, Schuyler for five. They hear about some of the successes their former students are having, and they talk about creating a system to track their students. Both know they have successfully armed their students with skills that will make them college and/or career ready. “Every student who comes back says, ‘I am just kicking butt,’” Huth said.

Buseck realizes his BOCES education will help him in the future. “When you get to work with people and work hands-on, you build better relationships and better 21st century skills,” he said. “Being able to connect with people, talk with people, and share knowledge is definitely a key to being successful.”

Buseck said his family used to question the amount of time he spent on the computer. “I would tell them, ‘Trust me, it’s worth it,’” he said. “Now they see that it is.”

For more information on HFM BOCES’ Digital Multimedia program, click here 


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