Written by Cristina Calabrese, Director of Operations & Founding member of The Digital Arts Experience
When The Digital Arts Experience (The DAE) of White Plains opened its doors in July 2012, our main purpose was to provide After School & Summer Tech Camps to kids and teens throughout Westchester County.
As The DAE began to expand upon the courses taught inside our facility, so did the demand for us to bring our programs offsite as well. With this came the idea for our Mobile Classroom, The DAExpress (The Digital Arts Express).
The DAExpress was created to provide the most cutting edge technology in a state of the art learning environment available to the Westchester community.
Able to accommodate up to 10 students at once, The DAExpress is designed to act as one of our classrooms on wheels. With this mobile computer lab, we can offer nearly every single class that we teach in our White Plains facility, anywhere in Westchester, Southern Connecticut and Rockland.
The DAExpress is equipped with 10 brand new Mac Book Pros, a Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer, and the best digital teaching tools. We bring The DAE to you!
Since its inception in September, we’ve run classes and programs with nearly 15+ unique local schools and organizations, including:
- Children’s Village of Dobbs Ferry
- Don Bosco Community Center
- Greenville School
- Greenwich Academy
- Greenwich Country Day School
- Heathcote Elementary
- JCC on the Hudson
- Rye Arts Center
- SAR Academy
- Seeley Place
- Solomon Schechter School of Westchester: Upper & Lower School
- Westchester Hebrew High School
- Westchester Library System
- Westfield Day School
- White Plains YMCA
- White Plains Youth Bureau
…and more! We also run private, custom classes that we bring right to your door.
In addition to that, we don’t always use our Mobile Classroom when we travel to schools. Often times we will drive over and use the school’s computer room or media lab and provide classes out of there. In many cases, schools and organizations do not have the necessary equipment to provide such classes on their own. That is one of the reasons that The DAExpress came about.
The DAExpress allows us to bring everything: instructor, class content, and equipment. And the best part is – we come to you! Topics that we teach include:
- 2D & 3D Animation
- 3D Minecraft Animation
- 3D Printing
- Game Programming with Java
- Graphic Design
- Introduction to Computer Science with Python
- Scratch Coding
- Stop Motion Animation
- Visual FX & Video Production
We can also provide Professional Development to school staff. In short, there is a lot we could do with our Mobile Classroom. As time goes by, we discover new and unique uses for it. We are excited to keep it “rolling” and see where the future takes us!
Do you know of a school or local organization in need of After School STEM related programming? Contact us at info@TheDAE.com or feel free to visit our website www.TheDAE.com to learn more.
On Saturday, November 22nd, Rob Kissner and Cristina Calabrese of The Digital Arts Experience drove their Mobile STEM Classroom, The DAExpress, to George Washington Elementary school in White Plains, Westchester NY for a mobile Minecraft tournament!
Whether or not you like Minecraft, kids are simply obsessed with it. Often described as an open ended “sandbox” or virtual LEGO world, it allows the user to essentially create anything they can imagine. Some kids create elaborate homes, others medieval castles. Some opt to recreate famous architectural structures. Whether it’s a small wooden hut or The Great Wall of China, it encourages kids to explore, use their imagination and it certainly promotes creative thinking and teamwork.
According to an article written by Margaret Rock in Modern Parent entitled Hey, Parents. What Minecraft Is Doing to Your Kids Is Kind of Surprising:
The mystery of Minecraft’s near-hypnotic effect boils down its flexibility, engagement and community. Like most things, it can be taken to extremes. But overall, kids strategize, plan and connect with one another, learning how to set goals and work together to complete a task.
In accordance with PTA President Laura Reidy, Rob and Cristina hosted students 10 at a time who had signed up for different time slotted rounds and were given the challenge to build their own school using Minecraft’s creative mode. Rob and Cristina chose a winner and 2 runner ups from each round who were then entered in to compete in a final round to battle against all of the other winners!
The final round challenged the students to build the Eiffel Tower in France. Students took their creative energy and resources to not only construct their own twist on the Eiffel Tower, but to also create stunning scenery around the tower.
The winner of the tournament was given a free Minecraft party in The DAExpress at a time of her choosing. All participants left with 3D Printed creepers as well as gift certificates to The DAE!
All in all, the tournament was a huge success. Students were extremely focused, well behaved and driven to do their best. The DAE never hesitates to say yes to a Minecraft tournament because even though Minecraft is a video game, it has strong educational value as well.
Accoding to Minecraft in Education as featured on Minecraftwiki:
Minecraft can have huge educational benefits for children; it can help teach numerous subjects both with and without adult involvement. Learning in Minecraft can be faster than traditional methods of education, as children are often far more motivated, get more practice, and feel that what they are learning is useful.
The DAE believes that because kids can be so focused and engaged in Minecraft, it is the perfect educational tool to supplement learning. For example, The DAE runs a 3D Minecraft Animation class, where students use an advanced 3D Animation software called Blender to model their own original characters. By the final class, students create their own animated shorts with unique storylines that can even be used for a portfolio. View the video below to see an example of student work in our 3D Minecraft Animation class:
The class in itself is a 3D Animation & Modeling class, but we use Minecraft characters for several reasons. For one, Minecraft characters and objects are all block and cube shaped so they are non complex and easy to model in a 3D space. Also, Minecraft is a huge attractor to kids, so learning a complicated 3D Animation software is masked by the fact that they are driven to create something they are interested in.
The DAE also runs a Minecraft Modding & Java class that serves as a Part II class to their Java Coding 101. In the Modding class, kids use their skill in Java, a high-end, industry standard coding language used to create various programs such as Android apps, to create their own modifications to Minecraft. Minecraft in itself is programmed using Java code, so the class allows students to open it up, explore, change things around, experiment and create their own customizations to the game!
Another class The DAE runs that can be related to Minecraft is 3D Printing. While in most 3D Printing classes, kids are encouraged to engineer and model their own original objects, many kids choose to create Minecraft themed models. What’s great about 3D Printing is that the final result is kids get to actually print their models to take home! It starts off with an idea, then transforms into a model, and finishes with physically printing a 3D object. Talk about full circle!
Interested in learning more? View our upcoming January 2015 class schedule here: https://campscui.active.com/orgs/TheDigitalArtsExperience#/selectSessions/630701.
Last month, The Digital Arts Experience started running classes out of our mobile STEM classroom, The DAExpress, at schools and private homes all throughout Westchester, Rockland and Fairfield Counties. While most of the classes take place on-site at schools for after school programming, The DAExpress also runs custom classes right outside of people’s homes and will soon start running Minecraft birthday parties for kids.
So what is the vehicle all about?
- The DAExpress is essentially a DAE classroom on wheels
- Can accommodate up to 10 students at once
- Equipped with 10 brand new 15″ Macbook Pros
- Makerbot Replicator 2 3D Printer available for 3D Printing classes
- Runs after school programs, private classes or birthdays at your location
- Equipped with 2 first aid kits, a fire extinguisher
- A DAE staff member that is trained in CPR, AED & First Aid will be present at all times.
Well, this sounds really cool. But is it safe for the kids?
Rob Kissner, President of The DAE said,
“We have taken all measures to ensure the safety of each and every person that sets foot in The Digital Arts Express. While a program is in session, the vehicle will be parked with the emergency brake applied and wheels will be secured with industrial grade chocks.”
Kisser also goes on to add that the vehicle uses an advanced ventilation system using BlueTEC Clean Diesel technology to ensure that fresh air is continually circulated at a comfortable temperature.
More about BlueTEC Clean Diesel:
- It’s the world’s most advanced, ultra-low emissions engine.
- Using a solution called AdBlue, the system converts typical exhaust fumes into nitrogen and oxygen, which is naturally in the air we breath.
- ADAC, Germany’s largest automobile association, rates BlueTEC as #1 in CO2 emissions.
- BlueTEC is the greenest & cleanest diesel technology in the world.
How can I get involved?
For local schools, we’ve typically worked with the PTA president or the person in charge of after school or lunchtime programming. If you are interested in getting your kid’s school involved, e-mail Rob Kissner at Rob@TheDAE.com.
For a private lesson at your home, feel free to reach out to our Director of Community Relations, Jess Hachigian, and he’ll help you with everything you need to get it all set up!
Sep. 4, 2014 – WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — On Wednesday, September 10th, The Digital Arts Experience (The DAE) team will open their doors and welcome the Westchester community into their 8,000 sq. ft. facility to learn about exciting new after school and weekend tech programs. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore a wide variety of classes that are available this Fall, as well as meet the instructors and interact hands-on with the latest digital arts tools and technologies. In addition, the DAExpress Mobile Computer Lab will be parked on premises, with tours being offered throughout the evening.
“Our open house is the best way to discover and experience what DAE classes are all about. There is only so much you can learn from reading a brochure, but when you come into our facility, meet our team, view student work from previous classes and and actually get to experience our technology hands on, you’ll get a much better sense of our classes and how we work,” says Rob Kissner, Founder & President of the Digital Arts Experience.
The DAE will introduce a number of new and exciting classes to their fall catalog including LEGO® Mindstorm Robotics, Minecraft Modding with Java, DJing Like a Pro, Holiday-themed 3D Printing workshops and more. These will be offered in addition to previously existing classes in 3D Printing & Modeling, Animation, Digital Music Production, Computer Programming, Graphic Design, Arduino and Visual FX & Video. Attendees will also meet The DAE’s talented team of industry active instructors and experience class work and projects firsthand. Each instructor will be posted at various stations around the facility with computers and technology in order to provide attendees with an opportunity to experience DAE classes first hand. Plus, same-day registrants will receive 10% off of tuition.
This event is open to the public on Wednesday, September 10th between the hours of 5:00pm and 8:00pm at the Digital Arts Experience: 170 Hamilton Ave. Suite 100 in White Plains, NY.
ABOUT THE DIGITAL ARTS EXPERIENCE: The Digital Arts Experience offers after school programs and summer camps for kids and teens in White Plains, Westchester, using the most up to date digital arts tools and technologies. From 3D Printing to Animation, Coding, Computer Programming, Graphic Design, Robotics, Web Design and more, The Digital Arts Experience’s 8,000 sq. ft. facility boasts four media labs, a photo/video studio, and professional recording studio.
The Digital Arts Experience