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Perspectives: Teaching Filmmaking with the Science Leadership Academy

by Celtx

Celtx is proud to assist educational institutions all over the world in cultivating creativity within their curriculums – from the elementary level to higher education.

The Science Leadership Academy (SLA) is one of the eight schools in the School District of Philadelphia that use the Celtx Studio to teach 1,080 class hours of scriptwriting and filmmaking to their students, as a part of their three-year CTE Digital Video and Cinematography program

Based in Philadelphia, PA, the Science Leadership Academy is an inquiry-driven, project-based high school focused on 21st century learning, and opened its doors on September 7, 2006. Students at SLA learn in a technology-rich, project-based environment where the core values of inquiry, research, collaboration, presentation, and reflection are emphasized in all classes. Celtx was a perfect fit for a school with these values at the forefront of their teaching methodology. 

Anna Walker-Roberts and her CTE Digital Video class.

“ I use Celtx to teach my students about scriptwriting and filmmaking, in one of the top 30 most diverse schools in the USA. The tools in the online Studio allow them to gain a deeper understanding of their writing process with built-in Insights, to make sure their voices are being represented fairly. Students can work closely with myself and their classmates on writing techniques in an intuitive and user-friendly environment that has raised the bar for my kids. Celtx helps make their projects happen – all the way from pre-production through production. ”

Anna Walker-Roberts
Instructor, Science Leadership Academy, School District of Philadelphia

Before adopting Celtx, CTE Digital Video Teacher Anna Walker-Roberts was using an add-on for Google Docs that allowed her students to get closer to industry-standard formatting of their screenplays. Her first-year students struggled to use it, because they were limited in their knowledge of how a screenplay should be formatted – the Google Docs add-on was just not cutting it.

Anna first started using Celtx in her classroom, and was impressed by how intuitive and user-friendly her students found the online Studio to be. Celtx allowed her students to start getting the hang of formatting at a quicker pace. Anna also feels that Celtx has been really helpful in being able to present her students’ screenplays, in such a way that they can be entered into the screenwriting or filmmaking competition packages; her students have since been recognized across the USA for their award-winning student films.

CTE Digital Video students Grace Conley, Sarah Son, Carlos De Jesus, Karen Ossowski, (Class of 2020) and Andrew Semisch (class of 2021) as part of a unit on cinematography. This film won 1st place at the FilmNow Film Awards in Ambler, PA, and was screened as part of the Philly Filmmaker Series

One of the Celtx tools that Anna really enjoys using in her class is the Insights tool; she loves to see how much time her students are spending thinking versus how much time is spent writing, so she can use that information to give them tips and tricks about their writing processes and help them with writer’s block.

SLA is one of the top 30 most diverse schools in the USA, so making sure that there’s diversity, inclusion, and equal representation of all voices in the stories their students tell is paramount. Anna uses the Insights tool with her students to look at how often each of their characters are speaking, so they can get a better idea of how they’re writing their characters and whose voices are being highlighted.

“Insights is a great reflection tool. The Insights into how long they spend thinking versus how long they spend writing – I think it helps give them back some good information about what their writing process is like. That’s helpful for me as a teacher as I guide each of them.”

Anna Walker-Roberts
Instructor, Science Leadership Academy, School District of Philadelphia

Overall, Anna believes that if you are an educator considering which screenwriting and production management platform to use, Celtx should be your go-to:

“I’ve had a great relationship with the different people who have managed my account over the past few years. They’ve always been available to help me and answer questions. It’s been a personalized experience – I’ve never felt like I’m a teacher that’s a drop in the bucket. I have felt very supported, and that I could always reach out and knew who to reach out to.

There are a ton of helpful features in Celtx that allow my kids to hone their skills as filmmakers, and accelerate how they’re thinking about their projects and how they’re actualizing them. Bringing Celtx into my classroom has been a great experience.

Anna Walker-Roberts
Instructor, Science Leadership Academy, School District of Philadelphia

If you’d like to chat about how to make Celtx a part of your course curriculum, and how we can help you and your students tell their stories – please get in touch! You can head to www.celtx.com to sign up, and get started with all tools free for your first 7 days.

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