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VFC Summer Institute: "Discovering Community: Students, Digital Media, and Place-Based Learning"
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7/7/2014 to 7/11/2014
When: 7/7/2014
Where: Middlebury, Vermont 
United States

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The Vermont Folklife Center’s Summer Institute, Discovering Community: Students, Digital Media, and Place-Based Learning, brings together educators for an intensive five-day program July 7-11 in Middlebury, Vermont.

The Institute offers participants basic hands-on experience learning the methods of community-based research, the process of making a mini documentary, and the skills of working with digital media in a school setting.

Past participants have come from a broad spectrum of roles in the K-16 system, including classroom teachers, special educators, librarians, and administrators. This diversity makes group process a rich opportunity to explore ideas, probe models, and collaboratively visualize site-appropriate applications.

Over the course of an action-packed week, Discovering Community participants work with cultural researchers, media specialists, and fellow educators to explore the power of ethnographic field research and techniques for working with digital audio, video, and photography as documentary tools. Using the Middlebury community as a classroom, Discovering Community models simple strategies for deepening students’ relationships to their own hometowns.

The Discovering Community Summer Institute builds on the Vermont Folklife Center’s many years partnering with educators on community-based projects, the ever-expanding array of digital devices with recording capabilities, and the do-it-yourself editing and production opportunity that digital technology affords. Three graduate credits are available through Castleton State College upon completion of this course.

Stories and storytelling are at the center of this experience, and as one participant observed, "The personal gain of realizing that there are millions of stories in our own backyards that are ten times more interesting than People Magazine is something that I will cherish.”

For registration, tuition, or other information about the Discovering Community Summer Institute and its nationally recognized faculty go to You can also contact 802-388-4964 or

The Vermont Folklife Center seeks to broaden, strengthen, and deepen our understanding of Vermont and the surrounding region; to assure a repository for our collective cultural memory; and to strengthen our communities by building connections among the diverse peoples of our state.

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