Learning in a Digital World

By Upper School Fine Arts Teacher Nick Simpson
Samantha Tancredi ’18 is troubled. Eyes squinting and brow furrowed, she stares into her computer screen at the rough draft of Signpost, Hutchison’s school newspaper.
As editor-in-chief she has many responsibilities, from copy editing, to budgeting, to mentoring younger students, but right now she is working on layout, ensuring that text and image marry in an aesthetically pleasing fashion that will appeal to our would-be reader. As I watch her work her magic, I am struck for the umpteenth time how blessed I am to work with such extraordinary students. I am equally impressed when, mere minutes later, the layout problem is resolved, the issue is complete, and our beautiful fall 2017 edition is on its way to our printing company.

Hutchison is unique amongst local independent schools in the breadth and depth of its media program. Our students have access to a film studio with high-end camera and lighting equipment, a suite of Apple computers, a sound recording booth, and professional-grade editing software. They use these extraordinary facilities to produce a wide range of media texts, from award-winning short films to journalistic publications to our new school radio station. Their generation is often criticized for being overly reliant on technology, and the Internet-based distractions to which it provides access, but five minutes with our talented, resourceful girls demonstrates a very different paradigm. Our upper school film and media students embrace the digital realm because it offers them opportunities to grow intellectually, to develop as visual artists, to make cross-curricular connections, and to build bridges within and around their communities. Their enthusiasm for their work is palpable, and they are always so excited to share the fruits of their labor with our Hutchison community.

I encourage you to check out the edition of Signpost included below. We hope that you find time to read it and that you are inspired to visit the student-run website, Beeline, where you will be able to view a range of videos and photographs that the girls have produced. Contributions to the website and newspaper are encouraged from all of our students, and many have submitted great work, but most of what you will see is created by a small, dedicated, wildly talented group of students whose passion and commitment are a joy to behold. It is my great privilege to teach them.

Please enjoy their work!


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Hutchison is the leading private girls school in Memphis for ages 2 years old through twelfth grade.