At three in the morning on Wednesday, June 26, I found myself tiptoeing around my house, packing a Canon 5D and a PB&J sandwich, and hopping into a car with yellow government plates.
“GOOD MORNING” I remember shouting, in a weird, coffee-induced state, at my three co-STEM-reporters.
And at 4 a.m., we backed out of the driveway and hit the highway. We headed east towards the North Carolina Outer Banks and a professional development course for teachers on Bald Head Island.
Our job this summer, with STEMwire, is to create a conversation about STEM education. A lot of the focus is on how to inspire people to become STEM teachers, but another important component is how we train and develop good STEM teachers.
The Center for Education in STEM at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington has several professional development workshops for North Carolina teachers. One brand-new program is the Barrier Island Workshop, a week-long program held in the Wilmington area. Throughout the week, teachers go on nature hikes, paddle in kayaks and attend lectures.
This past week, we were lucky enough to accompany the group of 12 teachers on one day of their Barrier Island Workshop. Leading up to the trip, we decided that we wanted to do a multimedia story with video, audio and photo components.
Our experience with these mediums was limited, so went through an intense multimedia crash course with Reese News Lab Senior Producer Sara Peach that had us wandering around campus lugging cameras and recorders. Our initial footage was shaky and we struggled to get a variety of shots, but we pushed through and hoped for a miracle at the beach.
And we got it. Though, perhaps, it wasn’t a miracle. We’d trained, practiced and spent enough time in the field that we were bound to get something workable.
We came out with a reasonable amount of solid footage, photos and audio. We also came out with a million learned lessons. We learned how to adjust for movement and light, learned to throw awkwardness into the wind and put cameras as close to faces as possible and learned how to work together without stepping on each other’s toes.
Nearly a week after our beach trip, we’re still in the editing process, and are learning and practicing a whole new set of skills. Just as professional development courses for teachers are founded in the idea that learning never stops and that openness to new methods is one of the greatest traits, we here at STEMwire are committed to learning new ways to tell stories and are always searching for the new and effective ways.