Building Skills and Empowering Creativity

Digital Sandbox Program Equips Students for Future Careers
Serena Yoakum
Explain Everything Student Co-Facilitator, Media Marketing and Communications Scholars
At a Glance: 
  • Peer-led groups in the Media Marketing and Communications scholars program prepare students to learn in their future careers.
  • Students leverage Digital Flagship technology and apps to build digital literacy skills. 
  • Serena Yoakum leads a group focused on Explain Everything, helping other students improve their presentation skills and harness their creativity.

Modern careers require more than rote knowledge, especially for those students looking to enter the rapidly evolving marketing or communications industry. That’s where their Media Marketing and Communications (MMC) scholars program comes in with Digital Sandbox, a peer-lead program that gives them new opportunity to learn digital skills from Adobe to podcasting. 

“We designed this program to give students a chance to learn the emerging tools in their industry without necessarily committing to another class in their schedule,” said David McIntyre, program manager of the MMC scholars. “It’s a great lower-pressure way for them to try something new and get familiar with the learning process.” 

The subjects offered through the Digital Sandbox program have evolved to include free tools like Adobe Rush that students can use on their Digital Flagship iPads, giving more students the opportunity to try the creative cloud software without committing to purchasing a paid subscription.

“Having the iPads has given us a bump in terms of being able to count on students having a little bit of technology for sure when they come in,” said McIntyre. “We use Adobe rush with our beginning video group because the student that leads that group knows they all can get it on their iPads for free and it’s better than iMovie. It also gets them introduced to Adobe which is still industry standard.” 

Students in the program share their knowledge as they become instructors of subjects and teach the next group of scholars. To make the year-to-year transition more smooth, student teachers have begun adding their lessons to Carmen so others in later years can continue to build on their materials rather than starting from scratch. 

Serena Yoakum, who co-facilitates the Explain Everything project group with fellow student Bethany Johnson, has enjoyed getting to help fellow students develop presentation skills and harness their creativity.

“It's a very interesting app because it has functions that you don't really get in other presentation apps – it has a creative side to it, which I really like,” said Yoakum. “I think it’s exciting to share some of the features and then see some of the creative projects that students in the group make that I wouldn't have ever thought to have done.”

David McIntyre’s goal for the MMC Scholars Digital Sandbox program extends beyond teaching specific tools, he hopes the lessons students learn in their project groups make them more prepared for their future careers.

“I’m hoping these functional skills will help prepare students for industry,” said McIntyre. “So many meetings are people around a conference table where everybody has great ideas, but then everybody looks around and says, ‘all right, but who can actually do this?’ I hope our program helps them to be ready for that moment and feel confident in their ability to contribute.” 

He also hopes to expand student’s ideas of creativity and build confidence in their own creative power. 

"So many students think they’re not creative because they can’t draw – which seems to be the narrow definition of creativity they see in high school,” said McIntyre. “It is really exciting to see a student who opens a tool like Photoshop for the first time and finds confidence in their own creativity in that new tool.”

Try it Yourself 

Learn more about the MMC Scholars Digital Sandbox program on their website. 

You can find guides and more information about the free apps provided by Digital Flagship in the Digital Flagship Handbook.

Looking for additional support? Check out our tech tutoring program which can provide one-on-one support with apps provided by Digital Flagship.