What’s up in Digital Media (now Design Lab) class?

2018 update: if you are interested in the details of this class, check out my latest article about it here.

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I’ve been teaching English language arts for over 20 years, and as much as I love it, I have always wanted to add some variety to my work load by teaching an elective class.  I envisioned this class as a break from the deluge of papers and a respite from the pressure of test scores, a place where I could have more fun with my students and let them explore interests outside of the traditional academic subjects.  And I was right.

Last year my principal asked me to design an elective class around digital media, and she put her money where her mouth was by sending me to the CUE conference in Palm Springs, the ISTE conference in San Diego and a Google Apps for Education Summit in Santa Clara; and when I got accepted to the Google Teacher Academy, she paid my way there, too.  I spent last summer building a Moodle page for this new class, offering my students choices and tutorials in a wide range of digital media opportunities.

Our digital media class changes as often as we find more websites, programs and tutorials to add to our list of choices.  Take a look at what we have done so far:


10 thoughts on “What’s up in Digital Media (now Design Lab) class?

  1. Hi, I’m a student and soon I’ll be taking a digital media class. What is done in these classes?

    1. Hi Tenaya! Digital media classes are so new (and there are so many resources available for them), plus there isn’t one set curriculum or standards to drive instruction. In fact, in the four years that I’ve been teaching digital media, my class has never been the same from one year (even one semester) to the next. My students and I keep finding new (and free) resources online that I can add to our class options. My students choose from a wide variety of digital projects, like 3D animation, 3D architecture, 3D sculpting, computer game design, movie making/editing, infographic design, computer coding, etc. I suspect your experience with digital media will depend on what the particular teacher wants to do with the class. Hope you enjoy it, whatever it is!

      1. Is it any good for photographers to take? I’m a parent setting up a schedule. , sorry .

      2. Sorry I didn’t see your question, Mandy! My class is not a photography class. We have an art teacher who teaches a class specifically on photography. My class focuses on projects using digital programs.

  2. My class is going to be using digital programs for production. We will be using 3D modeling, animation, coding, etc….I am completely overwhelmed at where to start! Can you offer any advice on this??? It will be a year long class, so I have plenty of time to teach alot! Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Kelly! I just sent you an email to give you some specific suggestions about how you could set up your class. Let me know if you have questions!

      1. Hi Laura, I just found your blog in my quest for help… I’m in the same boat as Kelly (above comment). First year social studies teacher (even though I’m 40!), working as the librarian, and I’ll be teaching New Media next semester. The last time it was taught at this school was 1.5 years ago, so while there is a basic framework, it needs over-hauling.
        I know you’ve got to be incredibly busy, but I’m hoping you can send me a copy of the email you sent to Kelly back in July. In any event, I’m grateful that I found your blog! Thanks for your help,

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