JEAai session offers wealth of ideas for multimedia tools staffs can use

With COVID-19 continuing to impact the way that schools around the country operate, the online presence of student media becomes even more important. One challenge that many young writers struggle with is finding ways to tell stories with more than just words on a page or static images. During her “There’s a Multi Tool for That” session at JEAai this past summer, Monta Vista High School adviser Julia Satterthwaite highlighted ways that staff can use a variety of multimedia storytelling tools.

Satterthwaite said it can be daunting for a program to add multimedia storytelling tools.

“If you’re like me you look at professional publications like the New York Times, Washington Post, ESPN, etc. and you’re looking at their multimedia content and thinking ‘how in the heck can my students do that?’” Satterthwaite said. “I want them to do these cool immersive, fun exciting things but I’m not really sure where to start.”

That thinking is what drove her to encourage her editors and staff to find new tools and try them out, often by seeing what others are doing and finding a way to reproduce it.

“My editors look for new tools and present them to class for staff members to try, so looking at what other programs are doing is part of our culture,” Satterthwaite said.

Her presentation included several examples from El Estoque, her students’ online publication.

“I wanted to curate ways that my students have actually used these.  So you can see the way that high school students are using the tools so that you’re not so intimidated,” Satterthwaite said. “While we are trying to emulate the professional publications, it’s nice to see the way that high school kids are actually using the tool.”

As the virtual session ran, many participants added questions, comments or their own tools they use in the live chat. Adviser Matthew LaPorte highlighted the importance of using multimedia tools.

“I appreciate the ideas for ways to use the multimedia tools to break up text,” LaPorte said. “Especially on an online platform, readers are expecting this and it can be difficult.”

Here is a direct link to the project and an additional link to this site’s multimedia tool guide:

Link v.1 (fit):

JEA Digital Media Multimedia Tools Guilde:

Travis Armknecht

Travis Armknecht is a high school English, journalism and speech teacher and the adviser of GCAA Student Media at Grand Center Arts Academy in a 6 through 12 visual and performing arts charter school in the heart of St. Louis’ performing arts district. Armknecht has taught at GCAA since 2012, when he was the first high school English teacher hired at the school. He founded the school's journalism program in 2013 with a small group of sophomores who worked tirelessly after school to create the school’s first-ever yearbook. Now in its fifth year, GCAA Student Media is a fully converged staff that works on the Expression yearbook, website, and new GCAAtv broadcast program. Armknecht is a Certified Journalism Educator – a national certification designation from the Journalism Education Association. In 2016 he was named the Missouri Journalism Education Association Rising Star and was named a national JEA Rising Star in 2017. He is also the treasurer and co-president of journalismSTL, a St. Louis-based journalism teacher non-profit organization. He has a BA in theater and journalism from Concordia University in Nebraska and an MA from Webster University in Teaching Communication Arts, with an emphasis in Media Literacy. He lives in the south St. Louis city Bevo neighborhood with his wife and their young son.

Travis Armknecht has 3 posts and counting. See all posts by Travis Armknecht

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