Howard Bishop Creative Virtual Academy
The University of Florida Center for Arts, Migration, and Entrepreneurship (CAME) teamed up with the UF Center for Arts in Medicine and the Digital Worlds Institute to create a virtual arts-infusion program for Howard Bishop Middle School.
The Virtual Creative Arts Academy offers activities that challenge students to create content using dance, spoken word, photography, video editing, animation, and computer programming to explore the concept of “going viral.” The students are also given the opportunity to engage with their peers through facilitated, online chat rooms.
Dr. Dionne Champion, a research assistant professor in the Center for Arts in Medicine and CAME affiliate faculty member, is a major contributor to the VCAA, alongside other College of the Arts faculty.
Latoya Jennings-Lopez, the coordinator of the Community Partnership Schools initiative at Howard Bishop, reached out to Andrew Telles, UF’s Director of Collaborative Initiatives, after seeing a need to provide creative activity to their students learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program not only encourages innovative and creative flexibility but can also be accessed through multiple platforms.
As students progress through their individual projects, they move on through a leveling process, as one would in a video game. With each progression, the students hone their skills by utilizing the elements of the previous level by adding them on to the components of the following level. They also have the chance to redo each level to improve upon their work after receiving feedback from faculty and peers.
For example, level one of an animation challenge might ask students to upload pictures or video of themselves in a space. Level two might ask students to remove the background of the image and drop it into an online animation program. Level three might take students through the process of programming their images to move around on the screen to make it look like they are dancing.