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East Greenwich High School Library Media Production Lab: Grant Information

This project was made possible in part by a grant written by EGHS Librarian Michelle Steever from the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services using funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Media Production Lab

The standing whiteboard is helpful for student groups to write their outline and speaking tips to refer to. The stools and chairs provide flexible seating arrangements. Three microphones provide additional audio feeds. Space can easily be converted from a podcast for one to an interview or a group conversation. Storage cabinet to house supplies and equipment.

Project Overview

We want students to be smart, responsible problem solvers and critical thinkers.  If we want our students to advocate for change or help others envision an idea, our students need effective communication skills.  We must provide opportunities for all of our students to articulate their vision and become great speakers and communicators.  We must also provide students with an authentic audience.  Students complete assignments for teachers every day and turn them in for an audience of one (the teacher).  What if we gave their work a greater reach?  What if students knew that people they knew - and people they didn’t - were going to ‘see’ their work?  We are more likely to get students’ best work when they have an audience that’s important to them. 

Funding from this grant will convert an existing library office into a media production lab, complete with active learning furniture so that students can work independently and collaboratively to create podcasts and video recordings that will be shared with the greater community.  Classroom and community projects that students will complete as part of this grant funding will provide opportunities for multigenerational and inclusive learning.  These new educational opportunities will include, but not be limited to, the following activities: Students will interview school administrators, teachers and School Committee members about policies, procedures and other issues for distribution within the local and state community to further engage students in their school and community.  All 10th-grade students will record and contribute to a video / audio time capsule.  Business students will record, edit and distribute conversations they have with family members about financial literacy topics, a multigenerational issue.  Students in the Best Buddies International program will record, edit and distribute ‘day in the life’ Buddy interviews to help create a more inclusive school environment and break social barriers, working with students at the high school, as well as middle and elementary schools.

Students who create podcasts and videos will increase their knowledge and skills in media, digital, technology and information literacies, while continuing to develop foundational literacy practices of writing, reading and speaking.  This project directly aligns with the vision and goals of the library and school.  By enabling students to create their own podcasts, they can question, discuss and present their learning.  Students are taking control of their education and further engaging in the learning material.  These recordings can be available to their classmates so that they have the opportunity to teach each other. Podcasts can be downloaded to a mobile device, allowing the student to access the learning resources anytime, anywhere, with very little effort.  There are podcast subscription apps available for every smartphone and device.

All building teachers will also be offered workshops in using the equipment so that they can record their lessons and lectures, providing students with easy access to study aids.  Students can use these podcasts for reference purposes and preparing for exams.  Students can study the content and understand the topic at their own pace. This capacity to review, again and again, is particularly valuable to students from an international background or with learning difficulties.

The existing library office is a traditional office; a large wooden desk with an oversized leather chair.  This office is never used because the librarian is out in the library working with students.  The office provides the perfect space for a media production lab.  It is in close proximity to the circulation desk so that the librarian is within close distance to assist when needed, one wall of the office is a large window facing the library to ensure student accountability, and the office has a door that can be closed to provide the necessary environment to create quality recordings without interruptions and background noise.

This project would expand upon what is currently available to students in the library.  Students utilize the library office space daily to record video recordings using their Chromebook devices.  Unfortunately, the software and equipment available on their devices are inferior.

Vendors Used

  • Sound-proofing: Versare, Drew Brodbeck, 612.767.7106, drew@versare.com
  • Furniture: Worthington Direct, Jordan Baker, jordan@worthingtondirect.com.  Furniture purchased included Cascade Combo mobile storage in apple without doors, 3 elemental nest and fold tables with gray nebula top and apple edges, 4 18" charcoal seats with caster wheels.
  • Stools:  Four Grow Stools, from MooreCo.
  • Equipment: B&H Photo. Rode Podcaster, AudioTech microphones, tripods, lighting, lighting stands, pop-up green screen, and supplies.
  • Camtasia software.
  • Window Blind: The Color House, North Kingstown, RI. Christine Abbot, christine@thecolorhouse.com.
  • Signage: Denise @ Balloons Over RI, Warwick, RI. 401-921-8485.
  • Computers: 1 Desktop Mac was purchased as well as a MacBook Pro.  Camptasia, Garage Band and Audacity software are loaded on the computers for video and podcast recording.  The laptop is used for editing outside the media production lab.

Feeling Grateful

This project would not have been possible without the following organizations and people.  Thank you for sharing your time, knowledge and support.

  • The Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services and the Institute of Museum and Library Services,
  • Karen Mellor, OLIS Chief Librarian, for her time and the sound-proofing suggestion that has been a game-changer, 
  • Nicolette Baffoni, OLIS Adult Services Coordinator, for her guidance through the grant process,
  • Margaret McNulty, Woonsocket Public Librarian, for her time, library tour and advice. Stop by the Woonsocket Public Library to see their Studio Rhode Creation Lab - inspiring work!
  • Izzy Cava, EGHS student, for the design of the Media Production Lab logo,
  • Deanna Agresti, EGHS art teacher, for final logo design, production, and application of the logo,
  • Justin Coppa, Deputy Director of Administration, EG Schools, for handling all aspects of the grant funds, 
  • Frank Steever, for giving up his weekends to help his wife hang panels and put together furniture,
  • EGHS Teachers for their support of the library and embracing the idea of student-generated podcasts,
  • Michael Podraza, EGHS Principal, for supporting all of my ideas and promoting the Media Lab to the school community.

The Original Library Office

Office dimensions required to determine sound-proofing panel arrangement. Existing desk and storage. The wall pictured is concrete and abuts the teacher workroom. The wall pictured abuts the library entrance. The office has a window looking onto the library space.  The wall behind the door abuts the technology support person's office.

Office Transformation

A logo was designed by senior Izzy Cava, and ordered and applied to the Media Lab window by Deanna Agresti, EGHS Art Teacher. The four chairs ordered for the Media Lab, as well as other library furniture stored over the summer. All Media Lab furniture is on casters or light-weight for flexible seating. The Librarian and her husband installed the sound-proofing panels. The sound-proofing panels installed on the walls. The three tables had to be assembled. These tables are on casters and are collapsible.