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Classroom Profile: At Palm Desert High School in California, English teacher Gary Wise and his students talk about their first-year experience with digital storytelling.

Transform learning with 21st century technology

As the world changes around us, so should the K-12 classroom. Today, with the accessibility of digital devices, many students enjoy creating and sharing short videos. In education, this is known as digital storytelling, and it’s revolutionizing the academic experience.

When integrated into core subjects, digital storytelling engages students in the learning process, promotes social-emotional growth, and expands their ability to communicate with the world they live in.

    Classroom Profile: At Palm Desert High School in California, English teacher Gary Wise and his students talk about their first-year experience with digital storytelling.

    Transform learning with 21st century technology

    As the world changes around us, so should the K-12 classroom. Today, with the accessibility of digital devices, many students enjoy creating and sharing short videos. In education, this is known as digital storytelling, and it’s revolutionizing the academic experience.

    When integrated into core subjects, digital storytelling engages students in the learning process, promotes social-emotional growth, and expands their ability to communicate with the world they live in.

      Classroom Profile: At Palm Desert High School in California, English teacher Gary Wise and his students talk about their first-year experience with digital storytelling.

      Transform learning with 21st century technology

      As the world changes around us, so should the K-12 classroom. Today, with the accessibility of digital devices, many students enjoy creating and sharing short videos. In education, this is known as digital storytelling, and it’s revolutionizing the academic experience.

      When integrated into core subjects, digital storytelling engages students in the learning process, promotes social-emotional growth, and expands their ability to communicate with the world they live in.

        DIGICOM Leads The Way In Digital Storytelling

        DIGICOM has been teaching digital storytelling to teachers and students in California for more than a decade. After researching the DIGICOM program, the Schools of Education at University of California, Irvine and Riverside, have found that the impact of digital storytelling on students and teachers is multifaceted:

        • Students are more engaged in the classroom, retain information longer, and have a deeper understanding of concepts.

        • Teachers and students have greater competency using 21st century technology.

        • Digital storytelling supports reflective processes, which helps students develop social-emotional skills.

        • For English learners, digital storytelling promotes literacy development and positive student identities.

        • The process of digital storytelling improves all four common core skills: communication, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking.

          For in-depth information on DIGICOM Learning and the effects of digital storytelling, download Digital Storytelling: A District Initiative for Academic Literacy Improvement, published in the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 2019. The article is based on research from University of California, Irvine, on digital storytelling implemented by DIGICOM throughout Palm Springs Unified School District. 

          Classroom Profile: Using digital storytelling, students at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Indio, California, had an easier time learning about “point of view” in Language Arts class.

          Classroom Profile: There’s been a chain reaction at Two Bunch Palms Elementary in Desert Hot Springs, California, where more than 90 percent of the teaching staff has been trained by DIGICOM Learning.

          DIGICOM Leads The Way In Digital Storytelling

          DIGICOM has been teaching digital storytelling to teachers and students in California for more than a decade. After researching the DIGICOM program, the Schools of Education at University of California, Irvine and Riverside, have found that the impact of digital storytelling on students and teachers is multifaceted:

          • Students are more engaged in the classroom, retain information longer, and have a deeper understanding of concepts.

          • Teachers and students have greater competency using 21st century technology.

          • Digital storytelling supports reflective processes, which helps students develop social-emotional skills.

          • For English learners, digital storytelling promotes literacy development and positive student identities.

          • The process of digital storytelling improves all four common core skills: communication, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking.

            For in-depth information on DIGICOM Learning and the effects of digital storytelling, download Digital Storytelling: A District Initiative for Academic Literacy Improvement, published in the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 2019. The article is based on research from University of California, Irvine, on digital storytelling implemented by DIGICOM throughout Palm Springs Unified School District. 

            Classroom Profile: Using digital storytelling, students at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Indio, California, had an easier time learning about “point of view” in Language Arts class.

            Classroom Profile: There’s been a chain reaction at Two Bunch Palms Elementary in Desert Hot Springs, California, where more than 90 percent of the teaching staff has been trained by DIGICOM Learning.

            DIGICOM Leads The Way In Digital Storytelling

            DIGICOM has been teaching digital storytelling to teachers and students in California for more than a decade. After researching the DIGICOM program, the Schools of Education at University of California, Irvine and Riverside, have found that the impact of digital storytelling on students and teachers is multifaceted:

            • Students are more engaged in the classroom, retain information longer, and have a deeper understanding of concepts.

            • Teachers and students have greater competency using 21st century technology.

            • Digital storytelling supports reflective processes, which helps students develop social-emotional skills.

            • For English learners, digital storytelling promotes literacy development and positive student identities.

            • The process of digital storytelling improves all four common core skills: communication, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking.

              For in-depth information on DIGICOM Learning and the effects of digital storytelling, download Digital Storytelling: A District Initiative for Academic Literacy Improvement, published in the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 2019. The article is based on research from University of California, Irvine, on digital storytelling implemented by DIGICOM throughout Palm Springs Unified School District. 

              Classroom Profile: Using digital storytelling, students at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Indio, California, had an easier time learning about “point of view” in Language Arts class.

              Classroom Profile: There’s been a chain reaction at Two Bunch Palms Elementary in Desert Hot Springs, California, where more than 90 percent of the teaching staff has been trained by DIGICOM Learning.

              Testimonials

              “Student voices are powerful. They are voices of the future. They’re voices for change. Voices of hope and perspective. Each one is vibrant and unique, and to bring out those voices, teachers in PSUSD received training from DIGICOM that enables them to engineer compelling learning experiences that are rich in opportunities for choice. When the whole world is paying attention to their YouTube channel, students work harder. They ask more questions. They invest more time.”

              Jessica Pack
              California 2014 Teacher of the Year
              James Workman Middle School
              Palm Springs Unified School District

              “My students are so engaged as they try to make their stories come to life. It is really exciting to see how excited they are each day and how much they are helping each other out. Using video is empowering in the classroom. Yes, it does take time and effort. But after seeing the end products, it is so worth that time. The students take such pride in what they are creating.”

              Mardi Hagar
              Teacher
              Nellie Coffman Middle School
              Palm Springs Unified School District

              “I see digital storytelling as a way to teach students to trust one another by sharing their stories, learning to work collaboratively toward a common goal, and appreciating individual creativity. I also think this is an excellent forum in which to teach the process and elements of writing. In content areas, I see DST as a way to deepen comprehension, interpretation, and point of view. I think it also helps to build community within the classroom.”

              Susan Davidson
              Connect Coach for Elementary Schools
              Tustin Unified School District

              Digital storytelling has been shown to enhance students’ curiosity, media literacy, and content organization; increase engagement and motivation; and improve knowledgerecollection, communication, and technical skillsSome indirect benefits observed were the development of a professional attitude, surfacing of new talents, improved relationship between the teacher and students, increased motivation toward school activities, family participation, community involvement, inclusion of students, and help with self-expression. The research on digital storytelling heavily supports its ability in raising student engagement and motivation in the classroom.

              Douglas E. Mithcell, Rabea Qamar, Garrett Brown
              Researchers
              University of California, Riverside

              “I wanted to thank you all for the opportunity to be in the first class of DIGICOM Fellows, but more importantly, for your vision in starting, teaching, programming, funding and spreading the enthusiasm of this fantastic program. I loved every class, all the help I have received and, of course, equipment! I have been teaching off and on since 1988 and DIGICOM has brought me a ‘winding up’ to my last decade of teaching instead of a burned out ‘winding down.’ I can’t wait to continue using digital storytelling in my classroom, inspiring my colleagues to do the same, applying for equipment grants, and entering future film festivals!”

              Elaine Gershenson
              Teacher
              Mount San Jacinto High School
              Palm Springs Unified School District

              “DIGICOM has helped me express myself by giving me a creative outlet in the form of video.”

              William Harris
              Student, Palm Springs High School
              Palm Springs Unified School District

              OUR TEAM 

              David Vogel

              CEO & Founder

              Maria Gitto

              Chief Creative Officer

              Terry Green

              Strategic Business Partner

              Max Finneran

              Executive Producer & Instructor

              Danny Hastings

              Senior Producer &
              Community Engagement Director

              Jen Winston

              Senior Producer & Instructor

              Alex Crews

              Producer & Instructor

              Ayrton Carrazco

              Producer & Instructor

              Georgiann Williams

              Office Manager

              BOARD OF DIRECTORS

              David Vogel, Chairman/Founder

              David Vogel served as President of Walt Disney Pictures for 10 years. During his 25-year career, he worked with Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and many other renowned directors. In 2010, Vogel was awarded the title of “Ambassador” by Palm Springs Unified School District for his creative contributions to DIGICOM Learning. 

              Larry Fulton, Co-Founder

              Larry Fulton is a retired motion picture production designer whose credits include Fried Green Tomatoes and The Sixth Sense. Currently he spends his time in his art studio in Palm Springs, California. 

              Lee Grafton, Ph.D, Co-Founder

              Lee Grafton, Ph.D, has been an educational media specialist and teacher for more than 25 years in Palm Springs Unified School District. In 2007, along with David Vogel and Larry Fulton, Grafton co-founded DIGICOM Learning and helped grow the program over 9 years before returning to the classroom. Prior to teaching, Grafton was an education technology manager at Fortune 500 companies, as well as a professor at Wright State University and Miami University of Ohio. Today she teaches 4th grade and co-runs a DIGICOM After School Club at PSUSD’s Two Bunch Palms Elementary School.

              Doug Donenfeld, Secretary

              Doug Donenfeld has served as a senior partner with the international law firm of SidleyAustin for 34 years. He’s also spent his entire career in leadership positions at nonprofit organizations that focus on children. As chairman of the Adler Planetarium, Donenfeld initiated a Chicago public schools teacher training program to make astronomy relevant to children. As a board member of Chicago’s League for Juvenile Justice, he worked to engage inter-city children in after-school programs, avoiding distractions that often lead to criminal activity. Donenfeld’s most recent public service position was immediate past chairman of Palm Springs Planning Commission. 

              Lauri Kibby, Treasurer

              Lauri Kibby has 30 years of experience in construction and development. She started her career with Irvine Retail Properties, where she worked on the development of 13 community centers and the remerchandising and positioning of Fashion Island in Newport Beach, California. Kibby then went on to become CEO of a construction company specializing in the restoration and adaptive reuse of historic structures, completing well over 150 projects in both San Francisco and Los Angeles. In 2006, she left the construction business and moved on to develop several small, single-family residential subdivisions in Southern California, as well as entitle several hotel mixed-use projects. 

              Larry Colton

              Larry Colton spent the first 25 years of his career as one of four partners at Goldman Insurance Services, ultimately serving as president for 15 years. After successfully selling Goldman Insurance to Willis Insurance Services in 2001, he became president of Willis of California, the fourth largest insurance brokerage firm in the world. Eight years later, Colton retired briefly, only to relaunch his career by starting an entirely new brokerage firm, G2 Insurance. He decided to sell his interest and remain on the G2 board, starting in 2017. With a commitment to giving back to the community, Colton has served on multiple nonprofit and civic boards, including the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. Today he serves on the board of directors of Recology in San Francisco and is an active member of the National Association of Corporate Directors.  

              Elizabeth F. Romero

              Elizabeth F. Romero grew up in Thermal, California, the daughter of hardworking immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador. Elizabeth attended Coachella Valley High School, College of the Desert, and University of California, Riverside, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. Romero also holds a master’s degree in economics and business from Claremont Graduate University. She is president, Riverside County Office of Education, and assistant vice chancellor of government & community relations, University of California, Riverside. 

              Chris Vein

              Chris Vein is chairman of Startup Policy Lab in San Francisco, a company that promotes innovative, open, and data-driven policymaking. His most recent positions include partner for global government digital transformation at PricewaterhouseCoopers, chief executive officer of Dome Advisory Services, and chief innovation officer at World Bank. Vein’s work has spanned all levels of government, from the city and county of San Francisco to the Office of Science and Technology at The White House, where he served as deputy United States chief technology officer for government innovation.

              SUPPORTERS

              DIGICOM Learning is a non-profit 501(c)(3) that’s completely funded by educational partnerships, grants, and major donors and sponsors.

              2018-2019
              (in alphabetical order)

              Anderson Children’s Foundation
              Jackie Autry
              The Bank, Palm Springs
              H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation
              Mike Brase and John Mullen
              Barbara and Bernie Cain
              The California Endowment
              City of Palm Desert, California
              City of Palm Springs, California
              College of the Desert
              College of the Desert Foundation, Patty and Arthur Newman
              Larry Colton AND John McCoy
              Chuck Conine
              Desert Sands Unified School District
              Desert Valley Disposal
              Douglas Donenfeld
              The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation
              John Doelstedt
              First Republic Bank
              GHS Charitable Foundation, Steve Tobin
              Anne and Matthew Golden
              Lee Grafton
              Terry Green And Jacké Green
              Renata C. Grossi
              Mark Hamilton
              Randy Harwood
              Jeremy Hobbs
              Patrick Johnson

              Lauri Kibby and Charles Kibby
              Geoff Kors and James Williamson
              Linda Lovett
              Linda McAlister
              Keith Markovitz and Dave Locke
              Carol and Mike Miller Foundation, Cookie Miller
              Ken Kuchin and Tyler Morgan
              John P. Monahan
              Palm Springs Disposal Services
              Palm Springs Unified School District
              Palm Springs Women in Film and Television
              Pass It on to Kids Foundation
              V. Manual Perez, Fourth District Supervisor, County of Riverside
              Don Perry and Linda Perry
              Larry and Lillian Postaer
              Richard R. Reed Foundation, Tamara Valdez and Jan Skogen
              Kim Renstron
              Riverside County Office of Education
              Elizabeth F. Romero
              Myra Q. Sanchez, Migrant Education Program Region VII
              Eileen and Marv Stern
              Jean Tello
              Lyn Tesler
              Trio, Tony Marchese
              Barbara Tulliver and Brett Schwartz
              David Vogel AND Larry Fulton
              Tim Wood and Jim Scheibel

              Thank You!