Youth Media Arts Curricula

Welcome to our effort to build an online manual of youth media curricula with contributions from members all over our region. Materials contained herein range from media literacy training models to planning and executing youth media festivals. All chapters in this manual are listed below.

Account holders on are allowed to build pages and chapters in this book by posting curriculum and educational materials. Content published here is free for use by all educational organizations and institutions and free to distribute in all non-commercial venues.

You may contribute to this manual through this process:

Before posting or using curricula from this site, please read the agreement and understanding of use .

RYMAEC grooms the manual to keep categories clean and well defined, occasionally editing content for clarity. If you find errors or other issues, please let us know so we can fix it. This manual is a work in progress so please help us make it a success.

Audio and Sound Design

These curricula include anything that is sound specific, including music, radio, etc.

Hooky on the Harbor Audio Workshop

As part of the Hooky on the Harbor event, the digital studio will host an audio workshop. Educators will be invited to share their stories about when they played hooky, learn how to make audio recordings and share them online via the RYMAEC website. There will be optional tie-ins with the Damian Ortega exhibit.

Lesson Objectives

  • Participants will learn the basics of audio recording using digital audio recording equipment
  • Participants will learn the basics of audio editing using Audacity
  • Participants will learn how to post media content on to a blog, specifically the RYMAEC site (
  • Participants will join the RYMAEC site
  • Participants will learn some ways podcasting and digital media can be used in the classroom for free or minimal expense

Discussion Questions

  • What kind of equipment is viable for classroom use?
  • What kinds of programs can educators do in the classroom?
  • How will this affect lesson plans and course content?


  • Vocabulary will include basic recording, editing and media posting


  • Zoom digital recorders, Microphones, Mac G5s, Audacity Editing Program, Itunes, Rymaec website

Time required: 20 minutes


  1. The workshop will start at regular intervals for a limited number of participants (ideally 10 or less, depending on interest).
  2. Digital studio staff will give a basic overview of the zoom digital recorder and present other recording equipment options, ie: ipod recording devices or other digital systems. They will also give advice on mic placement, avoiding mic handling noise, etc.
  3. Interviewing and recording: The participants will break into teams of two and will interview each other about a time they played hooky (if they have no hooky story, they should interview each other about why students should visit the ICA if they are playing hooky – specifically, why they should see the Damian Ortega exhibit). Each duo will receive one recorder. They will use a digital recorder to record their hooky story. [each interview should take 5 minutes, total time: 10 minutes]
  4. File transfer and Audacity: Participants will transfer their audio files to the computers and import their files into Audacity. The digital studio staff will assist the participants with basic editing using Audacity. Ideally students will learn about copying, cutting and adjusting gain. The projects will feature a fade in, fade out and be less than two minutes in length. [5 minutes]
  5. Exporting and iTunes: Digital studio assistants will help the participants export the project as a wav file, then use itunes to create an MP3 file. The participants should get a sense that editing using audacity and itunes is easy and can produce great results. These programs are free and studio assistants should start to get participants thinking about how they can incorporate media projects
    into the classroom. [5 minutes]
  6. Posting to RYMAEC: After the project has been formatted as an MP3, the participants will post it to the RYMAEC site with help from the assistants. Participants will have to register with RYMAEC. Joe will explain RYMAEC briefly and how participation can help with enriching the classroom experience. Participants can post student generated content to RYMAEC back at their respective schools. Free tools for blogging (blogspot etc) can also be suggested. [5 minutes]

Participants should enjoy themselves and get a taste of editing digital media. They should begin thinking about ways to use media in the classroom. Perhaps their students can create podcasts, reviews and reports using audio recording technology. This could be great for students who are not engaged with traditional paper writing. Ideally participants will be motivated to download audacity and give it a try at home.

MA State Standards:

National Standards:

Lesson: Hooky on the Harbor Audio Workshop
Written by: Gracie Young
Recommended Grade Level: Educators
Subject Area: Digital Media

See for some ideas.
Audacity help and Tutorials:
RYMAEC site:
How-tos about audio recording/interviewing/etc.:
(see attachment for additional resources)

hooky-step-by-step-final.pdf64.13 KB
audio-resources.pdf52.35 KB

The Sound of Newness - Sound exploration piece

“New” is momentary
A Sound Piece

The ICA “will never be new again”. This is a moment to reflect on this wonderful opportunity that you, the staff, artists and the public are able to witness and enjoy. The beauty of contemporary Art is that it is always new. So in some ways this building will always be fresh. Thinking about the temporary nature of newness, generate a 1 – 2 minute sound piece that reflects on an aspect of the ICA, whether it is a piece of art, an area of the museum, a particular museum patron, a staff member.

Combine recorded and created sound
Repeat sounds, subtly

•People Talking
•Ambient Sounds
•Computer generated sounds
The piece must be less than 25 % interview

•Perfectly Recorded Sound (no wind pops, peaking audio, etc.)
•Audio Filters in FCP
•Experiment with Sound Field, include one pan change over time
•Add effect to sound element and set effect in particular place in sound field

Sound Piece - New is Momentary.pdf36.6 KB

Digital Photography

Introduction to Photoshop



Media literacy



* If students have not already done so, ask them to download their “Home” project photos to the computer for use in the class exercises
* Collect 5-10 digital photos that students can use during the exercise if they do not yet have original photography, and store them in a place that is accessible by all students; use student photos from in-class digital photography exercises if possible
* Review Web site links in Prompt discussion; add links for current events images if desired
* It is helpful if each student creates a “Sites” folder where he or she will store all of his or her Web sites prior to beginning this lesson. Inside of the “Sites” folder, have students create a folder for his or her “home” site, with the name of the folder containing the student’s first name (Example: C:/this student’s file location/Sites/jk_home). Remind students that this folder is not where design files will go, but rather, where HTML pages and images that go on HTML pages (JPG and GIF only) will go. Walk through the creation of these folders as a group if necessary. Also useful is another folder for design documents and in-class activities (Example: C:/this student’s file location/Design). Creating this folder system or a similar file management system that the entire class follows will reduce future complications with file management and FTP.

Prompt: doctored photos
multimedia Game: How to spot photo fakes

Review the following tips and play the game as a group.

discussQuestions for discussion: modified images

* When you see a photograph in a magazine or billboard, how can you tell whether or not it has been “Photoshopped” or altered?
* When it is appropriate/okay to “doctor” a photo? Inappropriate?
* What do you think it means to be an ethical designer or Photoshop user? Do you think doctoring photos is similar or different from lying? Does it depend on the situation? If so, how?
* What kind of power does it give you to be able to change photos that other people will see?

webAdditional resources for discussion

* Photo Ethics (with examples of famous doctored photographs)
* Greg’s retouching shop – shows an individual’s Photoshop work, and you can roll over to view the original
* NYC24’s “Thin, Pretty, and Retouched” article

hands-on follow-alongPhotoshop – interface and tools (30)

* Desktop set-up for Photoshop
* Photoshop 7 toolbar
* About layers
* Using the layers palette
* Entering point type
* Editing text in type layers

instructorCreating graphical text

* Using the filter gallery
* Enhancing type with layer effects

instructorEditing photos

* Cropping images
* About image size and resolution
* Changing image size and resolution
* About resampling
* Changing the pixel dimensions of an image
* Rotating and flipping entire images

instructorDrawing graphics

* Photoshop’s vector drawing tools
* Path + fill color
* Using the free transform command

instructorBasics of optimization: saving for the web

Handout: Image Optimization
instructorFormat: JPEG vs. GIF

Basic rule: Graphics = GIF, Photos = JPG GIFs work well for images with large blocks of color (graphics) and sharp edges. Notice the difference in file size. Using GIF format for this type of image produces a small file.

rose.gif GIF Format, 3 KB

rose.jpg JPEG Format, 16 KB

Zoom of rose.gif

Zoom of rose.jpg

JPEGs work well for images with continuous tones, such as photographs.
Again, notice the file size. In this case, the JPEG is smaller.

sunset.gif GIF Format, 38 KB

sunset.jpg JPEG Format, 20 KB
instructorHow to optimize

* In Photoshop, choose File > Save for Web.
* Set your image size.
* Choose JPG for photos, GIF for graphics, and experiment for an image that has both.
* Look at the 4-up view to see four options.
* Select the one that is the smallest size but still looks okay.
* Click “Save,” and put the image in your web site’s images folder. Remember the naming conventions for the web.

instructorThe balance


project time Project time: title image

Photoshop - Create a title image for home project (30)

Description: Students will create one graphic design in Photoshop that will contain the title of their “home” project and a graphical design. This will be the main design for their slide show project, and will go on each page. It is like a combination of logo and title for their project. The outcome should be a JPG or GIF file, optimized for the web.

Activity instructions:

* Create a new Photoshop document at Web resolution (72 dpi) and approximately 600 pixels wide by 200 pixels high. You can change this size later if necessary, but remember that this image should be visible without scrolling on a standard screen (800x600), and should not take up so much space that people cannot see the main content of your page.
* Use the text tool to type in the title for your project, and choose a font, color, and style for your text.
* Add at least one Layer Style (such as drop shadow, glow, bevel, or gradient) to your text design.
* Experiment with other effects.
* Experiment with the drawing and shape tools to add at least one additional graphic element besides text (such as an original photo, shape, or logo).
* Use at least one filter (from the Filters menu) in your design.

project time Project time: slide show images

Photoshop - Prepare slide show images for home project (30)

Description: Beginning with digital image files from a digital camera, students will perform the tasks necessary to edit, resize, and optimize at least five images for their “home” Web slide show. A completed activity should yield five JPG files, each approximately 800 pixels high or wide, with a file size smaller than the original, in an “images” folder inside the student’s Web site folder.

Instructor notes: If possible, have students download their images to the computer prior to beginning the activity. Have a camera and cable on-hand for students who may not have digital images prepared, and instruct them to take at least five creative photographs in the classroom for use in the activity.

Activity instructions:

1. Gather the source images. Remember that these are not the final JPGs that will be placed on your HTML pages, so save them in a location outside of your home site folder.
2. Inside your “Home” site folder, create another folder called “images.” This is where all of the images and graphics for your site will go.

Then, for each image:

1. Crop the image if desired.
2. Resize the image. A good size is that no edge should be larger than ~600pixels, so the image and your design and navigation will fit comfortably on the screen.
3. Edit the image – adjust the brightness and contrast, add filters or other effects.
4. Optimize the image (“Save for Web” in Photoshop)
5. Save the optimized image in your “Home” site “images” folder.

project time Project time: navigation

Photoshop - Draw arrow graphics for your slide show (30)

Description: The purpose of this activity is to generate navigation for the slide show “home” project. Slide show navigation will consist of two graphics: one “forward” button and one “back” button that will allow users to move through the slide show.

Activity instructions:

* Using the Photoshop drawing tools (shape tools, text tools, and pen tool), draw two buttons, one that will allow users to go “forward” in your slide show, and one that will allow users to go “back.” Other words that can be used are “previous” and “next,” or you can use only visual graphics such as arrows.
* Enhance the design of your arrow graphics using filters and effects. Remember that your navigation graphics should match or work visually with the style or design scheme of your header graphic.
* Optimize the graphics for the Web (Photoshop save for Web feature). Remember that graphics should be saved as GIFs.
* Save both navigation graphics in your home site’s “images” folder.

file.pdf7.21 KB

Photoshop and Digital Collage

Overview: Photoshop and Digital Collage Workshop

Age Group 14-18
(This is a four day, 3.5 hour per day workshop. However, this curriculum can be broken down into more sessions.)


1. To introduce students to Photoshop as a tool for combining meaningful information from several image sources, including personal photographs, the Internet and their community to make collages that are both printer and Internet ready.

2. To teach students how the different components of digital images affect the final product of a digital image, for example resolution requirements for printing versus screen resolution.

Aspects of Photoshop Covered:

• Basic edits including resizing, flipping and rotating images, and brightness/contrast.
• Copying and pasting layers
• Selection tool
• Move and Transform tools
• Lasso tools
• Eraser tools
• Brush tool
• Creating Solid Layers
• Text Layers
• Layer Masks
• Filters including Liquefy options

Media Literacy:
To engage issues of responsibility and ethics of using image found on the Internet. To encourage students to explore the relationships between everyday information and creative license.

Day 1

*Start with getting to know each other games, assuming that this workshop has pulled students from several schools. This is crucial for helping nervous Photoshop newcomers relax.

*Walk students through creating their student folders for the class:

Student Name:
>Source Images Folder (Where you store images for your projects, no collaging from this folder)
>Working Images Folder (Editing happens here, copy images from the Source Images folder before changing them)
> Completed Images Folder (collages ready for printing and posting onto the internet)

*Project 1:

Successfully combine two images. Start by showing the finished project, so students can see what is expected of them. (This workshop covers a lot of information, so it is important to make sure each student has created a collage during this first class, so that they feel comfortable with new software.)

In one file that you have made accessible to every student, have the two images ready for them to open in Photoshop.
Walk through opening both files in Photoshop. Use magnetic lasso to cut out part of one image. Paste that selection onto the other image.
Walk through renaming and using layers, the move tool with transformation controls, eraser tools.
At the end, students will have created their first digital collage.

*At home Assignment:
Seek out and bring to following class, photographs/digital images from home and bring in one flier posted somewhere in your community.

Day 2-3:

What is a digital Image made of?
What is Image resolution?
Adequate Printing Resolutions versus screen/Internet Resolutions
The power of the individual pixel
How find high quality images for collaging
Jpegs, Tiffs and psds, what does it all mean?
Ethics: Copyright protected images

Looking at collage Artists, both who work digitally and by hand.

*Following Projects

Over the next few sessions, have student create 3-5 of their own collages large enough to print out using personal and found images. Review tools from the first Project, introduce text layers, filters, liquefy tools, layer masks any other functions relevant to a particular student’s need.
These projects will push students to explore Photoshop’s potential on their own as well as with guidance.

-Continue to emphasize good work-flow habits: properly naming filing etc…

Day 4:

*Printing and resizing final products:

As a group, go over Image sizes, file types and have them format copies of their own work for appropriately sized high quality prints web images.

This workshop has been taught at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston using Photoshop CS4 and an Epson 4800 printer.

Organizational Affiliation: 

Digital Collage at ICA

Recent work from a class in digital collage at the ICA using Photoshop and found images.

Filmmaking Process

This set of curricula includes activites and projects which help students along the road of creating film and video projects.

"Exploring Documentary Filmmaking"

"Exploring Documentary Filmmaking"


* Students will understand that there are various methods a filmmaker can use to tell another person’s story
* Students will understand that a documentary can be made with many different styles.


There are many styles and approaches to Documentary Filmmaking. In this lesson we have compiled a list of documentaries that range in their styles and approaches. For each film, use the SCMAA and story arc worksheets to aid in the film analysis.
Traditional Techniques

The following examples are considered “traditional “ style documentaries, using talking head interviews with b-roll, in which the interview subjects provide stories and information that are presented as facts and evidence in support of the themes being explored in the documentary.


Irmas Campus International Youth Media Summit PSA’s (2006) Racism PSA (1 min 6 sec)

Castle Square Community Center: Spring 2013 Youth Media Curriculum Outline & Video Samples

CURRICULUM OUTLINE: Middle School & High School


Group introductions in circle and icebreaker exercise; project goals and schedule for pre-production, production, and post-production.

Verbal brainstorming about issues important to youth; elements of a story; verbal story development; finalize story ideas and choose favorite (one film per team); writing and refining story; create storyboards.


Intro to camera equipment in teams: camera equipment exercises; discuss directing, crew roles (camera, sound, acting, interviewer, etc.)


Discuss editing techniques/styles; editing tutorial; discuss and choose/create any music needed for films.

Finish editing; make DVD copies/upload to YouTube; discuss how to present completed films to audiences; students invite family and friends to screening.

See video

Sequential Visual Storytelling


Your mission: Your first week of filmmaking is almost complete! Using what you’ve learned thus far, you are being asked to make a short comic book on any subject you’d like, but it must somehow involve shoes! You will take your finished pictures and assemble them into a finished comic. Yay!

Think: Sequential Visual Storytelling! If it works on paper, it’ll (probably) work on film! Let’s see if that’s true!

Here are your rules:

- You are to storyboard a story in which shoes feature prominently.

-In your film, you must: Start somewhere, go somewhere else, and you must leave something behind. Cryptic enough for ya? You fill in the blanks.

-SHOT VARIATION!!! think about how dull the w.s. of the fight in Gunsmoke was. Move the camera! Get up close! Think about all your options!!! W.S., M.S., Tracking., O.S., P.O.V….on and on!

-RULE OF 3rds!!!! and Eye-trace. Be aware of how you frame your shot! If it’s mis-framed, it better be for a reason! Does the action unfold properly?

-180 degree rule. Are your characters going in the right direction?

-Tripod! You must use a tripod…or at least a mono-pod… keep your shots steady! (unless you purposefully want it shakey…for a reason!)

-12 shot minimum. No maximum. (don’t be afraid to shoot ‘too much’!)We will compare the shots that you’ve taken with your storyboards in class. It’s okay if you have too much footage. You’ll edit it down as you create your comic.

You will add titles, sound effects, and dialogue in post.

When you’re complete, we will print these out for you to keep! Hurrah!

Curriculum by: Chris Gaines
Director, Real to Reel
Digital Filmschool
RAW Art Works

summer sizzler incamera edit.pdf58.7 KB

Teaching Storyboarding with Comic Strips

MISSION: To make a short comic book on any subject you’d like, but it must somehow involve shoes! You will take your finished pictures and assemble them into a finished comic. Yay!

Curriculum by:
Chris Gaines
Director, Real to Reel
Digital Filmschool
RAW Art Works

check them out on the web!

Users Rights, Section 107 music video

Learn about copyright and fair use with this engaging music video from the Media Education Lab. This video supports the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education available at

See video

Media Literacy

This is the first chapter

Copyright, Appropriation and Fair Use with Teens

Last year, the Berkman Center at Harvard University ( conducted research on how students use and understand copyright law. Based on these findings, a team at Berkman decided to develop a curriculum that would treat students like creative artists who needed to know their rights. This curriculum is web-based and is now in beta stage. It includes a copyright licensing game and a fair use test. Rosalie Fay Barnes presented the licensing and fair use tools at the Nov 5th RYMAEC meeting in order to provide a mini-training and gather feedback about teaching fair use and copyright laws in the classroom.

Other links for more information:

Organizational Affiliation: 

Copyright Education User Rights, Section 107 Music Video

Learn about copyright and fair use with this engaging music video from the Media Education Lab. This video supports the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education available at

See video

Copyright, What's Copyright?

Sing along to understand copyright and learn about your rights to fair use.

See video

Learning Library

The Learning Library is intended as a multimedia activity center where people can come to learn more about the new media literacies, acquiring skills and practicing them through challenges, and ultimately, producing and sharing their own content with other members of the Learning Library.
We hope that the Learning Library will provide young people and educators alike a chance to share and remix media materials of their culture in order to learn what they need to do to become full participants in the contemporary media landscape.
The library is our approach to practicing what we preach. Originally started as short documentary segments produced on topics such as cosplay, wikipedia, graffiti, dj culture, and animation, it was increasingly clear that if we were to put our theories into practice we needed to create a more robust system for active participation in the learning process. The result was the current learning library where the materials we produced -- and countless other sites of cultural production and participation which are already in the web -- become resources for challenges which require a mixture of exploration, experimentation, self-reflection, and communication.

See video

Transforming and converging current web technologies into immersive, 3D spaces for art making and learning

Almost anything—text, sound, photos, motion media, music—can be digitized, and whatever can be digitized can be presented on a computer, transmitted over an online network, and even displayed in virtual 3D space. This presentation shows how the Web 3.0 platform is beginning to transform and converge current web technologies into immersive, 3D spaces for art making and learning. Nettrice Gaskins is using Second Life to expand art curriculum and open up new bridges to connect and collaborate with students on a variety of topics.

Nettrice R. Gaskins
Computer Arts Academic and Community Liaison Mass College of Art and Design

See video
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