Month Seven: Rethinking


LTSC (and quite a few other CA orgs) lost out on a big time federal grant. We're facing a pretty big budget shortfall, and a bunch of projects and plans are going to have to be slimmed down or eliminated in order to keep core programs afloat.

Month 10: IMC Fest & A Return to Research


April-May started with the IMC Fest, three days of music featuring nearly 30 local performers and an art show in partnership with the Champaign-Urbana Boneyard Arts Festival.

field reports? never heard of 'em.


Well guys, I've been working really hard (too hard to excuse not filing a field report….probably not) and I realized I haven't submitted one yet. Either way, I have been busy and I'd love to fill you in on what I've been doing.

Comment from Edward Gonzales on October 22, 2008 - 2:48pm

Hi Will!

I am happy to hear that you are busy and doing well up in Seattle. You should post a picture of your bike. Also glad to hear you will be at the CTCNet Conference!

Just to clarify: will you present student material samples to the places you will traveling in Washington?

Comment from Josh King on October 27, 2008 - 5:21pm

Hey Will,

I hope you have a helmet! I wish there were more bike paths around here, we have so many crazy drivers from the local university that it gets pretty hazardous. Sounds like it's pretty hazardous there, too. Maybe we should all have government-issued brass knuckles to protect ourselves on the job.

In Solidarity,

Josh King

Digital Media Group Updates March


The Digital Media group had a great call last Friday around finding, developing and sharing curricula for digital media programs.  We're aiming to share as much as possible on the CTC VISTA wiki page <> and shoot more proprietary stuff to each other by email.  Kevin and AJ also added a bunch of new pages so check out the Digital Media section for more content!

Youth Development


Tips for Teaching

Some Examples of Digital Media Curricula Created by VISTAs


Here's some curricula and/or handouts created by VISTAs:

  • Shot Composition Packet (Media Bridges - Lauren)
  • MOSAIC, Digital video bootcamp (english high school) (HOME Inc - Kevin/AJ)
  • Digital Photography Course Packet (Media Bridges - Lauren Bratslavsky)
  • Media Literacy (Project Think Different - Colleen)
  • Basic Computer Skills (Shaneka)
  • PhotoBooth (Media Bridges - Lauren)
  • Digital Storytelling (Center for Digital Storytelling - Jessica)
  • ?? (Computers 4 Kids - Ray)
  • Video (Reelworks - Will)
  • After school Curriculum with a Radio Station (Lashanda)
  • Creating a Youth Online Radio Station (Pink House - Renae)
  • tips/forms for student project management

Also, here's some curricula used/recommended by VISTAs from other sources:

Need basic curricula templates/guides?

Moving right along


Hi. Just an intro for the new vistas, I've been working on developing and starting a youth media program at the public access center in Cincinnati. It started off slow and bit discouraging but it's starting to gain speed and so on.

Last Wed, I started teaching a video production/media literacy class for a group of high school students from a charter school. This week would have been week number two, but Cincinnati had a snow emergency on Tues and Wed which also meant a snow day! (the city shut down early, if that's possible because of six inches of snow, people freak out with even the mention of snow around here....). Anyways, I'm basing this class off the Youth Channel's PSA/documentary curriculum, available on their website . It's my first real teaching experience. And it's not so bad so far, though I did accidentally say shit, which they thought was a riot.

Comment from Rebecca White on February 9, 2007 - 7:06pm

Maybe you know about this, but there's a button to compress the pictures in a Word (or Powerpoint) document on the "picture" toolbar (it shows up when you click on a picture, or when you right-click a picture and tell it to show the toolbar). It looks like a box with arrows pointing in at the corners. Word tends to save as much info as possible about a picture, so this can really reduce the size; one of my recent documents with a single PNG went from 3MB to .5MB.

On Being a Community Servant


by Nichole Payne

I was having a conversation with an intellectual recently. He was debating whether or not he should take time off to do community service or go straight to graduate school. He noted dispassionately, “In two hundred years, we’ll all be dead anyway.”

His idea seems to be that we are in some kind of rat race to achieve our goals and make something of our lives. This idea only makes sense, though, if those achievements will be completely permanent, and I don’t believe they can be. Even if you produce a great work of literature that continues to be read hundreds of years from now, eventually the solar system will cool or the universe will wind down or collapse and all trace of your efforts will vanish. And in any case, we can’t hope for even a fraction of this sort of immortality. What my friend doesn’t understand is that change is personal, and if there is any point at all to what we do, we have to find it within our own lives. This is the reason I joined up, as did so many others, to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA.

Lessons Learned: Summer Youth Tech Program at C4K


[From the blog of Raymond Varona, August 23, 2006.]

CTC VISTA Ray Varona
Raymond Varona

During the summer, most of our population was made up of kids whose primary language wasn't English and who had never used a computer before. As a result, the workshops were more like guided activities instead of real skill-building sessions since I have to literally show them, step-by-step, how to do every action (including opening files and browsing through folders). So I started off with an intro to Photoshop and gradually worked my content down to the point where my last workshop was on how to change fonts in different programs... Online Curriculum-Sharing


by Rob Lucas

Rob Lucas at CTC VISTA Pre-Service Orientation
Rob Lucas at Sept PSO

A great lesson can change a student's life. Perhaps the most famous life-changing lesson was the one first taught by Jane Elliot who, in the aftermath of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, taught her Iowa schoolchildren about the profound effects of discrimination by grouping them by the color of their eyes. While few teachers or lessons achieve this level of renown, nearly everyone I meet can cite some lesson that changed the way they saw the world—a science experiment, for example, a simulation of the UN, or a poetry reading. I became a teacher because I wanted to have this kind of impact on students.