Ron Heinen, 61, an art teacher who took it upon himself to teach students how to represent themselves in a digital world retired from teaching this year.
Heinen, an graduate, began teaching in Ames schools 32 years ago, back when there were two junior high schools: Welch Junior High and Central. He taught at Welch before the new middle school opened in 2006.
Heinen started teaching film 10 to 12 years ago, but an audiovisual lab was part of the new middle school allowing him to go further.
“Kids need to know how to present themselves in a digital world,” Heinen said. “It's a YouTube world.”
Heinen had no formal training in teaching film when he decided to teach students what it was about.
“I just decided it was necessary and it needed to be taught somewhere,” he said.
All students first learn how to use garage band in music and take a story telling seminar before spending 12 weeks filming and editing movies in Heinen's art class.
For the last four years, the movies have been presented in a film festival in the Ames Middle School auditorium.
The movies attached to this story are just some of the best movies 8th graders made in art class this year.
Heinen was recognized as educator of the year by the Iowa Technology Education Connection Conference in October. The digital movies eighth graders create were called “a hallmark of Heinen's innovative use of technology in the classroom.”