Photo of the 2016 Digital Media Academy students
Photo of the 2016 Digital Media Academy students

Twenty middle-school girls will plunge into “maker culture” during a June 5-9 Digital Media Academy at the University of Louisville.

The day-camp students, who just completed fifth grade at three Jefferson County elementary schools, will apply their technical skills in workshops on this year’s theme, “Me in the Making.” The doctoral program in rhetoric and composition in the College of Arts and Sciences offers the free camp for students chosen from Lincoln Elementary Performing Arts School, Cochran Elementary School and J.B. Atkinson Academy for Excellence.

The campers will work on a “photovoice” project by setting up photograph scenes and then writing accompanying narratives to show through image and text what it means to be a girl in their community. The girls also will use Snapchat, collaborate on team movie projects and explore Speed Art Museum’s Art Sparks area.

Camp leaders are four UofL graduate students from diverse fields of study working with English professor Mary P. Sheridan to design, teach, operate and evaluate the camp; learn about meaningful team-teaching with technology; and later publish journal articles and share their research results. This year’s leaders are from rhetoric and composition, public health, exercise physiology and women’s and gender studies/social work.

Begun in 2014, the academy is designed to increase the girls’ problem-solving and storytelling confidence and technological competence as they learn to be producers as well as consumers. Their team-produced movies and individual photovoice projects will be shown in a public showcase that concludes the camp. Students will receive iPod Touch devices to keep; the work also is intended to help combat the oft-cited summer slide in reading and writing skills, especially in transitioning to middle school.