I am Kevin McNulty, and I teach high school language & media classes in northern Indiana. I also offer professional development on a variety of subjects, manage my school’s television studio, and help students and fellow teachers craft mass media messages. I hold an MA in English from Middlebury College and a BA in English from Indiana University. Read more…
My name is Kevin McNulty, and I teach English, Honors English, and Mass-Media Studies at Penn High School in Mishawaka, Indiana. I began my tenure at Penn High School in 1998, and have been advising the Penn News Network since 2001. PNN got its start in the mid-nineties, and you can find us at work everyday at pnn.phmschools.org.
In my role as the teacher-adviser, I also manage the television studio, advise the Penn News Network (PNN) organization, make professional development films, and help teachers and students mass-communicate better. As an ENL teacher, I help multilingual students gain skills in English, and I help their teachers differentiate their curriculum to accommodate English-Learner needs.
A television program and all the work that goes into it provides a great mechanism to teach language & communication. Though project-based learning was not yet in my repertoire in ’01, I knew that was the basis for instruction in that space. It is not just a buzzword (phrase) in the PNN Studio and newsroom, but a way of life. Every story is a project, and students work in teams to tell those stories.
A lot has changed since 2001. I took over an already-successful program with just one class, so I recruited students and added two more. With that group of students, we broadened the curriculum to include hands-on learning modules as well a more theoretical curriculum in developing individual media literacy. We were also making the move from an analog production to digital, and that provided its own project-based learning opportunities.
By 2005, I introduced the Seminar in Film Literature and Recording Arts Class in a new lab, and through that class we made independent films such as music videos, PSAs, mini-documentaries, and short narrative films. That year we hosted our first of nine film festivals. Since then, we have added a telecommunications class, which is a production class that focuses on shooting daily segments for students, teachers, and the administration.
In the summer time, the PNN Studio stays in production by hosting a media camp. The media camp uses a cross-age mentoring model to allow for current PNN students to work with middle-schoolers both in the field and in the studio. The media camp is a week-long news cycle where students are shooting stories in the field Monday and Tuesday, editing Wednesday and Thursday, shooting and posting a news show on Friday. Sometimes the camp takes place in South Bend, and other years it returns to Penn High School.
In addition to teaching students…
I also work with teachers on a couple of different projects. Foremost, as an ENL teacher, I host professional development sessions on how to differentiate one’s classroom to help multilingual learners. As a hobbyist, I also like to work with teachers in using digital technology. I have taught graduate classes in productivity software, web design, and instructional technology integration. Currently, I work with teachers in using learning management systems such as Canvas, by Instructure. I help them design blended classes that allow them to meet their students more effectively.
Throughout the years I have produced films for educators as well. For more information or to get in touch with me, please use the contact form on this page.
At Penn High School, I teach classes in mass-communication. Since beginning my career in 1994, I have found that having a real audience motivates students to write with a higher level of concern. For that reason, I try to give all of my students a real audience.
Mass Media and Technical Communication is the first class I see on a Gold day. They are the second and third-year publications students who make PNN go. They work hard to produce as many as a hundred shows a year, and they take on other production jobs around the school. They develop portfolios as they build and maintain our website, our show, and PNN’s legacy.
Journalism Broadcast is the introductory class students take in mass-communications. In this class, students learn about the inseparability of media and culture and the fundamental elements of mass communication. In the second semester, these students take over the PNN show so that the advanced students can work on in-depth news packages.
Telecommunications class is one where students learn to operate a studio for regular live recordings in front of studio audiences. We schedule live shoots during this hour so that students can learn the dynamics of multi-camera, multi-microphone, multi-set recording. These students also produce segments out in the field, but their work centers around using the television studio for purposes other than the news.
Mass-communication in Biology is a thirty minute enrichment class where honors biology students can study baboons of the Kenyan savanna. Funded by the National Science Foundation and in cooperation with University of Notre Dame Associate Professor, Dr. Elizabeth Archie, this class teaches students how to mass-communicate about science more effectively.
Seminar in Film Literature is the class where students get to make independent films. Students begin with shorts such as music videos, PSAs, & commercial spots and they move on to documentaries and narrative films. Beginning with the basic shots, students learn to use images and sound to convey emotion and tell stories. You can watch the latest film festival films here.
Media Camp is a summer camp offered to young broadcast journalists of St. Joe County. Student journalists cover camps that are taking place at Penn High School and tell the stories of those camps and the kids who take them. They use cameras, tripods, microphones, and the PNN Studio in order to gather these stories. In the summer of 2015, the Media Camp went west to South Bend to cover the downtown and some of its attractions. In the summer of 2016, the camp will become a Language Academy, and it will be geared toward second-language learners.
Teacher Training changes all the time, so keeping up with trends and innovations can be a challenge. For Penn High School, I have assisted in professional development in the areas of writing instruction, student portfolios, teacher websites, learning management systems, and classroom best practice.
If you are a student trying to access your class content, please follow this link to log in to Canvas. If you would like to know more about any of these classes or camps, please use the contact form to get in touch with Kevin McNulty.
As a mass media studies teacher, I teach students how to publish films as well as publish my own films. My Youtube channel can be found here. Please use the contact form on this page to get in touch with me about any film you see here or a film project that you have in mind.
I worked with Penn-Harris-Madison and New Avenues staff to shoot, edit, and distribute this film about the district’s employee assistance program. The project and its narration are very straight forward, and it is hosted at the PHM website.
Penn High School is a one-to-one school where every student has a Chromebook and a Gmail account. Since adoption three years ago, both faculty and students have become more dependent on these machines and the cloud in which they operate. Of course, there are going to be problems when 3,500 young people use their machine everyday. The Computer Support Internship (CSI) class is taught by award-winning teacher, Steve Sinish. This film takes a closer look at his class and the work they do to keep Penn High School online.
I created this film in a couple of days after I surveyed dozens of other teachers who run summer camps in the South Bend, Mishawaka area. I took all of their advice and boiled it down into five tips that I thought would help IUSB faculty run successful camps. Many in my audience were first time summer camp directors, so my goal was to give them the most practical advice I could find.
For the Environmental Change Initiative and ND Gain, I edited a series of films that were shot at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC in January of 2015. Most of my work required fixing audio and generating graphics. The films include meeting highlights, and several interviews with stakeholders attending the meeting. Interviewees include Ms. Kit Batten from US-AID, Ms. Jennifer Crozier from I.B.M., and Mr. Scott Appleby of the University of Notre Dame.
A couple of PNN students and I shot a ‘stand-up’ in a custodial closet in order to make a film that teaches custodial staff how to use a new cleaning product at P.H.M. Schools. Because of the tightness of the doorway, and the fact that we needed two cameras and a boom mic, we could not do much about the lighting, but it was a lot of fun to shoot and edit. The film is used by PHM custodial staff at the beginning of each year. You can watch the film here.
For three years I have been shooting, editing, and distributing the Monday Morning Memo. It is a fun little serial that our principal, Steve Hope, writes for the staff every week. I enjoy it, and I get a lot of pleasant feedback from the Penn High School staff. The March 7th episode from this year offered a unique opportunity to add some creative elements in the second half; it was one of my favorite episodes to edit, and I took a little more time with it to make work out just right. Watch them all in this playlist.
The Penn-Harris-Madison Visual Arts Academy attracts grade school students from all over the district. Teachers and administrators work together to create an summer-cam-like experience where kids get hands-on instruction in the arts. In 2016, the focus of the academy is on language- building. To help promote the academy, I shot and edited this film last year.
Kat Lubker taught Biology at Penn for a number of years. In this project, I interviewed her about her lesson plans for when she is absent. but my students (Caleb & Gary) conducted the classroom interviews and shot the b-roll footage. It was a fun and unique collaboration, and it was an interesting story to tell. You can see more classroom films here.
In this film, I worked with Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation Instructional Technology Coordinator, Lisa Kreiger, to examine the use of laptops in the Penn High School classroom. These laptops, configured into mobile labs, improved student engagement and content delivery, and they paved the way for P.H.M.’s 1-1 initiative which was ushered in by the fall, 2014. This film was screened on October 22nd, 2013 for the Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation Board of Trustees.
The students of the Penn News Network shoot their shows in the PNN Studio, but the first PNN of 2013 was shot in Kenya, in front of the tent in which I was staying. This film and the others I shot there represent fond memories for me. Lending my footage and stills to students for editing films is also richly rewarding.
In the Literacy Tune-up, six Penn High School teachers conduct professional development workshops for the Penn High School staff. These highly effective workshops keep teachers thinking about and employing best-practice literacy strategies. At Penn High School, these sharing that happens between its PLCs is a key factor in the school’s overall success as a 90-25-90 school.
In 2013, Penn High School instituted a positive behavior model in which teachers began focusing a positive approach to issues of behavior. That approach began with attendance in the classroom. In this film, Penn High School principal, Steve Hope leads members of the Penn staff through the model and how to approach students who are missing class on a regular basis.
Through the gracious generosity fo the Lilly Foundation of Indianapolis, I got to study the Kikuyu tribe of Kenya and the Mau-Mau Revolt of the 1950s. This short film was the first film that came out of the experience, and it is the beginning of the Mau Mau film project that is still in post-production today. My partner in the project, Mr. Joseph Karanja, has retired from teaching, but we still connect from time to time to make presentations on the subject.
You can find more films I have produced for our school district at this Youtube playlist.
What does modern instructional design look like? How does a teacher facilitate an optimal learning environment for all students in their class? How can a teacher design a skills-based learning environment that both challenges and supports? To begin with, it is important to understand, there is no one way to accomplish curricular goals. Each instructor brings a different set of talents, pedagogical strategies, and outlooks to the endeavor. However, with a few key axioms, one can work from an instructional playbook that ensures creating a successful learning environment.
- Positive and safe place where learning can occur
- Active participant environment (hands-on and fun)
- Objectives clearly defined
- Sound strategies employed
- Enrichment activities that promote deeper understanding
- Modeling and practice of skillful behavior
- Assessment and feedback
- Portfolios that showcase learned skills
For adult instruction and professional development, a more practical approach to planning instruction is the ADDIE model, which includes the stages of : analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation. Each of these elements exists in the secondary classroom as well. Unlike the days of old, the teacher planner is now the Learning Management System (LMS). The LMS has completely transformed the teacher’s workflow allowing more freedom, flexibility, and the ability to cull more resources in a smaller window of time.
Using a database, the modern LMS offers instructors a variety of ways to present content to participants, to assess their progress and understanding of the content, to communicate both synchronously and asynchronously, and more. With dynamic calendars that share information with social media and online calendars, the LMS offers a suite of tools that is a one-stop-shop for the twenty-first century instructor.
For student instruction, a project-based learning environment produces great yields in student learning. The PNN Studio is a place where high school students can use curriculum, skills, and technology to create mass media messages that they broadcast over various channels. Radio & TV classes are electives, but ENL classes prescribed for students with developing English Language skills.
Using the broadcast studio is beneficial for both sets of students. Each realizes voice and capability, and a project based learning environment is a fundamental motivator for production.
Collaboration is a key element to production. Teamwork begins in the newsroom where students develop show concepts and scripts. It extends to the studio and field where students complete necessary production in a lab-type situation. Finally, students work together to finish the product, to see it all the way through to completion.
That sharing of the work is essential, but it does not happen without understanding how to do it. Even though “digital natives” are heralded as saavier than their elders, they still lack understanding of how to accomplish their goals, how to organize their work digitally, and often, how to create and distribute products with purpose.
The PNN Staff Manual is our means of bringing young producers into the the pool of knowledge we cultivate in the PNN Studio and Newsroom.