Over the course of the year, Spring Creek Teen Central has been developing TC Vision, a program that aims to enhance member’s awareness of technology, media trends, and tech careers. Aligned with NYC’s curriculum standards, the program will allow teens to increase their cognitive development by applying mathematical equations, algorithms and ratios to aspects of music production.
In addition, TC Vision will reinforce STEM and ELA Core Curriculum by showing students how to write scripts for podcasts/ radio shows, filmography, and conduct interviews with various guests. Both the audio and film editing processes follows the basic storytelling arch—a beginning, middle and end. These lessons will
teach students how to incorporate current events and literary lessons in their projects.
Earlier this month, TC Vision’s media lab was completed. Upon entering the lab, students are
greeted with an ethereal experience— a low-lit feng shui that embraces the creative flow of
energy. The room is covered in blue padding for soundproofing, decorated with mini-net lights, lava
lamps and other low lit materials as well as inspirational quotes painted on canvases. There is even a mini-waterfall as an added ambient sound and comfortable beanbags scattered around for meetings or creative discussions.
Divided into three portions, the media lab provides a storage room for equipment, a music studio and
photography section. Students can choose to either operate their laptops in the music studio portion of the room, using a piano, sound recorder and other equipment if they feel inspired to create their own songs or setup a photo-shoot in the back room.
Teens are not the only ones who are able to use the media lab. TC Vision is also collaborating with the Spring Creek Afterschool Program to create the Afterschool Media Club. The club met for the first time this month for digital photography with Teen Central Director, Lonai Mosley, and so far the class is filled with 11 enthusiastic fourth and fifth graders who are ready and eager to learn.
Mosley started her first session by showing the children around the media lab and introducing them to
a photographer’s vocabulary. Words such as DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex), composition, exposure, aperture, framing, pan, f stop and so much more were taught to the students. To make lessons more understandable, Mosley created a poster that compared a camera lens to the human eye.
For their second session, the students were refreshed with their newfound vocabulary by working on a word-finder puzzle. The children who found the most words would be the first ones to help set up the photo-shoot.
Mosley explained to the class that the majority of the stands and other equipment used to hold up the lighting, staging, and even cameras are called tripods. After assigning the roles of directors, stage managers, producers, light managers and photographers, Mosley asked the students to set up the various tripods around the set so that they could put together the equipment. The backdrop consisted of a large back curtain propped up on three poles and tripods. While some of the children organized the backdrop, the light managers were asked to assemble the lights and adjust the brightness using dimmers.
“It’s a puzzle challenge,” exclaimed Genesis Figueroa, who worked with her stage team to put up the curtain. Many of the children were happy that they could work together to build the equipment, while others were itching with anticipation to take pictures with TC Vision’s Canon DSLR camera.
Mosley took out the camera and showed the club how to set it up, which surprisingly many of them
knew because they have their own cameras at home. “I use an SD card at home for my Nintendo DS, and
then I use my Polaroid camera to take pictures of animals and things I find interesting,” Aiyanna Hendricks said.
After a few shots of the children posing together during the photo-shoot, Mosley asked them for constructive criticism regarding the images and stage setup. “I think today was a trial and error day. We should work on the composition and framing so that we can get everyone up close in the image, and also so it’s not blurry,” Jason Caton, 10, surmised upon looking at the photos.
The entire class still oozed with excitement after their lesson and is already looking forward to participating in another photo-shoot next week.
The Spring Creek Afterschool Media Club meets every Monday and Tuesday from 3:15 pm to 4:15 pm.
Photos by Amanda Moses