Inside the classroom of "Global Teacher" finalist

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The multimedia class at Effingham High School spreads out well beyond one classroom; at noon on a Thursday, students can cluster in a school music room to compose a song or in a technology room keeping tabs on a 3D printer.

The course, which comes in two sections, teaches students to communicate through media both modern and traditional.

“There’s never been a time when students need to know how to collaborate, to write, to communicate on a global stage to diverse peoples than today,” said the class’s teacher Joe Fatheree. “For writing to matter to students in this program, you’ve got to find a way to connect them.”

In this course, there are many ways to make those connections, and students work on projects as diverse as music composition, filmmaking, video game design, computer-aided drafting and more.

“There’s Multimedia 1 that really works on understanding the concepts of creativity and inspiring students to take the fundamental knowledge they’ve learned and start figuring out how to apply it in a real-world manner,” Fatheree said, describing the class. “The second class is an innovation class where they’ve taken all of the concepts and really are building product or writing books, doing songs.”

Recently, Fatheree was named a finalist for the Global Teacher prize, one of fifty globally. Fatheree said his students have also shared their work on a global level, even being invited by the United Nations to give a presentation in Paris.

“They’re achieving, they’re being involved in other classes and they spread out well past my classroom,” he said.

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