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Teachers gain instruction, tips at NHS workshop

Terri McJunkins helps Tammy Lawrence of Foreman with her project as Jennifer Collier of DeQueen works on her computer in the Nashville High School iMac lab.

By Alli Davis
News-Leader staff

A 3-day Digital Communications teachers’ workshop was led by Terri McJunkins at Nashville High School July 6-8.

The workshop is mandatory by the Arkansas Career Education Department to give instruction to other Digital Communications teachers around the state, in which each teacher receives 18 hours for his or her standard professional development.

The frameworks and course name will be changing in the next year to reflect more social media aspects and have a standard business curriculum.

On the first day, McJunkins began covering the basis of Adobe InDesign and various teaching strategies for the program.

“I liked getting to use the Adobe software because it’s new to me,” Tammy Lawrence of the Foreman School District said. This is her first year learning the software.

The second day finished up the InDesign training with a lesson in typography and graphics, then after an hour lunch break, the group started in on Adobe Photoshop, which they would carry on with for the remainder of the week alongside Adobe Premiere.

“I’ll be able to use what I learn here on InDesign to help my students work on projects like brochures, so that it will be good,” Jason Blake of Cross County School District. Blake teaches a mobile app development class alongside Biocom, which is a combination of biology and digital communications.

McJunkins spent time going over the basics of InDesign, focusing on topics such as font and graphics. A typography layout was a popular project among her students, and she gave tips to keep students on track by evaluating the classroom during a lesson in order to decide the amount of points that will be given. She also discussed how to download different fonts from websites and install them onto InDesign, Microsoft Word and Photoshop.

For the past 10 years, she has taught the workshops, not only spreading knowledge, but gaining it also.

“I learned from the workshops when giving instructions there were some things I learned from the other teachers, like tips and different ideas on how to do things in the classroom. It always helps me grow when I teach,” McJunkins said. “Every year it is a good experience for me to grow professionally. These teachers bring things that I can use in my teaching. They are the window into their classrooms, and there hasn’t been a year that I haven’t learned.”

She appreciates the Nashville district and administration for the opportunities that students in her classroom and being able to have the recent updates for programs used by the students.

“Something Nashville has spoiled me in is allowing me the freedom and opportunities to show students these programs and download fonts. I’ve been hearing that other schools don’t have this access at this workshop,” McJunkins said.

During the Thursday portion of the workshop, McJunkins provided hard copy examples of typography layout projects and large printouts of former student projects to inspire future projects for the teachers.

The teachers were also able to create a selfie book about themselves in order to better comprehend how to relay the information and project to their own students during the next school year.

“Mrs. McJunkins always has great ideas and strategies that I can incorporate into my digital communications classroom, and we’ve used InDesign for the school newspaper in the past. I’ve seen ways I can use the software for journalism and photography,” said Valerie Bryant of Harmony Grove School District.

Teachers that attended the workshop included Jason Blake and Donnis Richardson-Snelling of Cross County School District, Valerie Bryant of Harmony Grove School District, Jennifer Collier of De Queen High School, Kimberly Davis of Deer School District, Tammy Lawrence of Foreman School District, Katie Oakes of Western Grove High School, Tamara Ross of Ozark Mountain School District, Amanda Trammell of Berryville High School, Ashleigh Westerman of Marion High School, and Nathan Yates of Westside High School.

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