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Documentary filmmaking class a first for Burnaby school district summer school

High school students will study on SFU's Burnaby Mountain campus and make short docs featuring women in computing science
SFU computing science students and researchers program a humanoid robot

Burnaby high school students with cameras will be atop Burnaby Mountain this summer capturing some of the cutting edge things women are doing in computing science.

It’s all part of a new summer school course developed by SFU’s faculty of communication, art and technology (FCAT), faculty of applied science and the Burnaby school district.

Dubbed Documentary Filmmaking, Featuring Women in Computing Science, the course will see high school students pick an SFU computing science student, faculty member or alumna and create a short documentary on her work.

Classes will take place at the university, in university classrooms, and the students will get to use FCAT’s cameras and other movie-making equipment.

The course will officially be taught by a school district teacher, but SFU will also be hiring one or two FCAT students to provide technical support and mentoring.

“They will talk about what it’s like to actually be a student at SFU, what kinds of course projects they’ve done and what it was like, even, telling their parents they wanted to go to school to study in this particular field,” says Kim Hockey, FCAT’s associate director for alumni and community engagement.

The goal of the program isn't just for kids to learn some more advance filmmaking skills, according to Hockey.

Students will also be exposed to the “incredible strides” women have made in computing science and maybe woo them into that area of study.

Participants will also get a taste of what it’s like studying on campus, Hockey said.  

“It’s a great way to make the students feel more comfortable with post-secondary education and visualizing themselves being future student potentially,” she said.

Local school district officials are excited to be partnering with SFU on the course, according to Ces Martino, the district principal in charge of summer school.

Like Hockey, he thinks it’s important to give high school students access to the university campus.

“I think there’s a huge value to that,” he said. “From a young age, having that exposure, how cool is that?”

The district also liked the idea of “elevating women’s voices” in computing science and filmmaking through the course topic, according to Martino.

This isn’t the first time the school district has partnered with SFU on a summer school filmmaking course.

Last year, it offered a new course for elementary students called Cinema and Storytelling in partnership with SFU.

That course will be offered again this year, but this time it, too, will take place on the university campus.

The elementary and secondary courses will share a space but take place at different times, according to Martino.

Registration for the Burnaby school district’s secondary summer school courses opens tomorrow (April 5) at 10 a.m.

Registration for elementary courses opens on April 12 at 10 a.m.

For more information, check out the district’s summer school web page.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
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