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From Learners to Leaders

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King’s digital media courses put exploration, design, and production at the forefront of learning
From Learners to Leaders

King’s aims to transform students from passive receivers of information to active creators and innovators” says computer science teacher Sanad Haddad. This is especially true when it comes to digital media. As leaders and change-makers, students at King’s Academy are already at the forefront of creating films, music and apps that they are sharing with the world beyond King’s. Many new courses are giving students the boost they need to enter the digital realm on their own terms, using their own skills and voices to shape the global conversation and enter the global market.

Olfat Abdelqader, another faculty member who teaches advanced courses in computer science and programming, notes that the work students are doing gives them “abilities they need to confidently face and handle the digital era and lead in the software development sector.”

Abdelqader also notes that creating digital content gives students a sense of pride in their work, as well as a wider skill set that is applicable in many different disciplines and sectors. “The creation of this content increases students’ problem-solving skills while also enhancing their creativity,” she says. “Students are motivated to learn, and the challenges they confront inspire them to learn more and be more innovative, and the sense of accomplishment they gain from finishing these programs encourages them to pursue more.”

From Learners to Leaders

This was certainly the case for Hani Alkarrain ’22, who used his coding skills to create a game app that has been released to the Google Play Store. He then continued to produce even more digital games on his own since his class ended. For Alkarrain, “seeing people play the game I made and have fun while doing so motivated me to become 10 times better and to make games that are more fun.”

Likewise, Oday Fraij ’22 has used the sound production equipment to record his first single, which has been released on all major digital music platforms this year. For Sam Hennessy, who teaches a new course in music production, “the most significant accomplishment is witnessing students relax their inhibitions and go out of their comfort zones. So often, students are fearful of being scrutinized, and it takes a lot of courage to show off musical ideas to peers or record vocal ideas in the presence of other students.”

Students in my own film studies course agree. Talya Karay ’22 says she learned to not be scared of trying difficult things. “As long as we aren’t wasting time, we will have enough time to make mistakes and fix them later on, she says. “This is much better than not making any mistakes because it allows us to be courageous filmmakers and learn from the mistakes.”

Nadine Ismail ’23 discovered the joy of working with others: “I enjoy the amount of teamwork that goes into creating a film, because it means there is four times the amount of creativity. It’s about teamwork and using collaboration to your advantage.”

Haddad adds that these courses “put exploration, design, and production at the forefront of learning.”

Digital media revenue globally is estimated to have reached well over US $300 billion this year, and four of the top five companies globally (Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon) are digital content producers. Hennessy is confident that King’s students are ready to take advantage of these expanding opportunities. In these courses, he notes, “learners become leaders” – which is one way King’s is matching its mission to the 21st century.

Tony Lilly is the assistant head of school for academic and student affairs and an English teacher in the Department of Communication, Rhetoric and the Literary Arts.

From Learners to Leaders

A Conversation with Digital Music Teacher Sam Hennessy

What digital content production do your students engage in?
The students have engaged in making music using iMacs and Logic Pro X software. The projects are fun, creative and exciting. Students experiment with digital audio workstations to compose original music, remix other songs and apply sound effects while editing. They sequence instrumental beats in the style of their favorite artists, sample video clips, record foley, and design sound for games and animations. During the course, music-making is balanced with exposure to the entrepreneurial endeavors of production and marketing skills such as logo design, promotional artwork, and website design.

Where do they share their work? Who is their audience?
There are regular assignment submissions on Canvas, which are designed to simulate the industry deadlines of a working producer. Students have also set up Soundcloud accounts to distribute their music online. In addition, they have built artist websites using Google Sites to showcase their work. The course is relatively new, and the students are finding and developing their unique style of writing and producing.

Are there any particularly noteworthy projects you could tell us about?
The Music Production classroom has benefited other areas of the school and enabled high-quality pre-show voiceovers for the fall play and school meetings and the creation of scary sound and visuals for the creepy cinema room in the Haunted House. The facility has also benefited particular students, who do not take the course, interested in pursuing careers in the arts. For example, one student used the equipment to record his first single, which will be released on all major music platforms this month.

Why is digital content production important for our students?
According to, the employment of broadcast, sound and video technicians is projected to grow 21% from 2020 to 2030. This is much faster than the average for all occupations. The skills to create digital content and be fluent in production techniques are also essential for building and scaling a business. When faced with a world where technology is a crucial component of daily personal and professional lives, students must have a firm grip on the basics and gain a competitive advantage by showing curiosity about the technical innovations emerging before us.

How is digital content production linked to King's mission?
The course aligns with King's mission of guiding learners to become leaders as students are expected to be autonomous and take control of their portfolio work. Furthermore, the vision of King's Academy is to provide an educational experience unlike any available in the region. King's Academy is the first and only school in Jordan to offer and provide music production education to this age group.