Students use new technology to create a daily news show, bringing classrooms closer together than ever before.

Spotlight on the Office of Communication and Community Relations 21 OCTOBER 2021
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At London Towne Elementary School, sixth-grader Taylor Martinez-Rodriguez, the “Morning News” anchor, sits in front of a green screen practising her scripts as the clock approaches 8:20 a.m. The teleprompter starts rolling after she checks her stance one more time. It’s time to put on a performance. On a webcast that is beamed into every classroom, Taylor leads the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s time for the first video after a few announcements. “Roll the tape!” Taylor exclaims firmly, and the video begins exactly on time.

Samantha Interiano Davila, a sixth-grader, uses a computer to ‘roll’ the ‘tape,’ which is actually a movie. Since technology has improved and new equipment has been accessible, tapes haven’t been used in the journalism profession for years; and that’s exactly what happened this year at the Centreville school. The kids are using a brand-new equipment that allows them to transmit the newscast into their classrooms using Zoom. Physical cords were spread across TVs and projectors to allow students to tune in before this year. The new software also helps the student production team to be more inventive in their presentation of the daily news.

“I enjoy performing my job because I enjoy working with technology,” said Lieimy Hernandez-Lopez, a sixth-grader. “I get to try out different buttons.”

Megan Carnahan, a librarian, has been a member of the operation since it began 18 years ago. According to her, news has evolved throughout time, and students are always fast to adapt to new technology. This is especially true this year, because the pandemic has pushed kids to become even more tech-savvy.

“It’s terrific to watch kids become enthused about anything!” I exclaim. Carnahan explained. “Last week, Lieimy found something in the software that we hadn’t noticed before. It was a means of making the screen larger so that the audience could see it. So when she found out, she was ecstatic and asked us all over to see. When they’re enthusiastic about their work, that makes me happy.”

Samantha Interiano Davila, a sixth-grader, uses a computer to ‘roll’ the ‘tape,’ which is actually a movie. Since technology has improved and new equipment has been accessible, tapes haven’t been used in the journalism profession for years; and that’s exactly what happened this year at the Centreville school. The kids are using a brand-new equipment that allows them to transmit the newscast into their classrooms using Zoom. Physical cords were spread across TVs and projectors to allow students to tune in before this year. The new software also helps the student production team to be more inventive in their presentation of the daily news.

“My favourite aspect is that every profession has elements to it, and computers are the most vital,” Samantha Interiano Davila explained. “Keeping the timing perfect is a difficulty; for example, if the anchor says something when she’s meant to and I’m on the wrong slide, everything can go wrong.”

“I kind of want to work in the news one day because it’s entertaining,” Mohamed-Saad Moataz, the teleprompter operator, said.

When she grows up, Taylor Martinez-Rodriguez wants to be a reporter or anchor. Working with the student newspaper, she claims, has helped her develop social skills.

“I was more nervous thinking about it ahead of time when I first started… but I wasn’t as nervous when I really got to do it,” Taylor continued.

When she grows up, Taylor Martinez-Rodriguez wants to be a reporter or anchor. Working with the student newspaper, she claims, has helped her develop social skills.

“I was more nervous thinking about it ahead of time when I first started… but I wasn’t as nervous when I really got to do it,” Taylor continued.

Carnahan agreed, noting that her work at the “Morning News” had helped shy kids break out of their shells and gain new confidence. She hopes that some of these students will use what they’ve learned here to pursue a career in journalism in the future. She also believes that the newscast is a terrific chance for students to take on a leadership position at school, meet new people, and form a sense of community.

“Now that it’s easy for everyone to view it in the morning using Zoom, the entire school watches it every day, and everyone can see what we’re doing.” Everyone is in agreement. As a result, I believe it fosters a strong sense of community.”

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