At TUMO, teens have a unique opportunity to learn and create anything that falls within the spectrum of technology, art and everything in between. The common thread connecting the diverse skills students acquire here is the digital world. Stories travel digitally today and it’s crucial to know how to effectively manipulate the digital tools available to have one’s story heard. For this reason, TUMO is adding a new skill to its students’ creative/tech arsenal: New Media. As opposed to old media, like television, radio and print, new media is disseminated through digital tools, like cell phones, computers and the internet. That’s according to Wikipedia, which is an example of new media, by the way.
The new media curriculum will develop TUMOians’ understanding of what makes meaningful and captivating digital content. Audiences today are more sophisticated than ever. Telling the stories they demand requires more than merely writing text and adding visuals. New media students will learn to use various digital tools such as photos, videos, infographics, GIFs and text to tell stories that they will write, edit, interview and record. Content management is the name of the game, and interactive media technologies are the tools of the trade. The content created in these workshops will combine real world stories with students’ own creativity and perspective. Let’s break down exactly what the new media curriculum will consist of.
In this level, TUMOians will produce a digital story about an inspiring individual of their choice. To complete the task, students will learn about text editing fundamentals, become acquainted with recognized interview techniques and develop an eye for how to effectively portray a story’s protagonist. Workshop leader Siranush Yeghiazaryan notes that what will likely be most memorable for teens in this level will be the opportunity to discover and capture the unique stories of interesting individuals.
By the second level, teens will have the opportunity to choose a story from a broader range of topics. Anything from street musicians, philanthropic work or big business is on the table. The critical skill will be selecting a subject and angle that interests not only the student, but also his or her audience. In the meantime, students will continue studying online media and learn how to be discerning when it comes to distinguishing accurate sources and facts. (Take a look this story about Yerevan’s street musicians created by TUMOian Anahit Hovelyan during the second level of the workshop.)
Students will take on a new challenge in this final level: They will work in teams, or, as workshop leader Elena Gevorgyan calls it, in “newsrooms.” Each student will play a role in the newsroom, be it that of editor, photographer, videographer, journalist or director. Each member is vital in the creation of multimedia content.
Surprisingly, new media is sometimes confounded with web design. Here, workshop leader Shoghik Vardanyan makes a good point: “Even though they aren’t programming, new media practitioners are creating websites. After all, what’s a website without content?”
As the saying goes, if a tree falls in a forest and nobody’s around to hear it, does it make a sound? This is where storytellers come in. They report on what they hear and inform the public on what’s happening. Creating relevant, captivating and well-researched multimedia stories is the only way to ensure a story is heard in today’s competitive information age. New media skills are not only desirable, they are a must, and we can hardly imagine TUMOians (future creative leaders and thinkers as they are) without them.