Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN) has partnered with Hartford Public Schools’ Journalism & Media Academy Magnet School (JMA) and the Institute for Advanced Media (IAM) to form an initiative that unites lifelong learning with public media. The Learning Lab is an innovative space that combines student-centered education with hands-on production and content-building experience to offer people of all ages instruction in media-based subjects.
Some of the resources that are available for children and parents include CPTV Kids and ScouTV Interactive, an initiative by CPBN Education to bring Boy and Girl Scouts into the Learning Lab to become better, more effective communicators. Because the Learning Lab works with the JMA, teens can take several high school courses at CPBN in subjects such as film, gaming or youth radio. While they spend part of the school day at the Learning Lab, they have the chance to develop techniques from professionals in the field and learn to use industry-standard equipment. In addition, CPBN’s Media Lab gives college students in New England the opportunity to take for-credit courses that solidify a foundation in media-based learning such as storyboarding, video production, web content creation and social media.
An example of an ongoing project produced from the Learning Lab’s collaboration with JMA is a web show called Ethan’s Music Room. It is a series of 70-second interstitials created by a team of nine high school students who were part of the JMA. Now Ethan Bortnick, a 14-year-old musician, composer and entertainer, can share his passion for music with children of all ages on the show, encouraging them to find how music and the arts are all around us. Check out a behind-the-scenes look of how one of episodes of Ethan’s Music Room was produced.
CPBN also offers a private vocational training school for adults known as the Institute for Advanced Media (IAM). Courses in this program are offered in the evenings at the Learning Lab and include video production, documentary storytelling, programming and web design, project management, graphic arts and digital design. The Veterans Vocational Training Program is a separate program offered through the IAM that serves post-9/11 veterans and their families who are looking to transition from the military to civilian life and may want a career in media arts. While the IAM school is open to all professionals, the courses that are part of the Veterans Vocational Training Program are free of charge to veterans, their spouses and family caregivers.
Support from the Wounded Warrior Project, the Newman’s Own Foundation, the Walmart Foundation and other sustaining partners has enabled the Learning Lab to become a leader in media arts education. The high levels of success at the Learning Lab’s current location have prompted a call for expansion that will increase both CPBN’s efforts to train the next generation of media professionals and students’ opportunities to learn from experts in the field, no matter how old or young they are.
View an overview of the Institute for Advanced Media program in the video below.