In 2005 Nicole joined City Parks Foundation (the non-profit side of the New York City Parks & Recreation Department) and became the video teacher at Hook Productions.
In 2007 (after another trip to India) She was brought on by the New York City Parks & Recreation Department itself to be make use of 10 new Sony a100 digital SLR cameras and become the photography teacher within the same RECYouth Program at Sunset Park Recreation Center in Brooklyn.
By 2008 she was assigned to manage her own multimedia Computer Resource Center at Hamilton Fish Recreation Center in the Lower East Side, NYC.
Of all my classroom experiences, I enjoyed and found the most inspiration working with children, teens and young adults. Most of the time running after-school and alternative school programs, my goal was more about inspiring the students to want to create, than pressuring them to complete a particular assignment. In my mind, they didn’t have to be here (this was not regular school), it was my responsibility to make sure they wanted to be here (so they were not on the street, getting involved in gangs or drugs, etc.). So I made sure the room was lively, fun, exciting… and to several supervisors, my classroom may have seemed chaotic. I never pre-wrote any syllabus, I would however have prepared in my mind all the “how to’s” for what ever a student may have answered, when they entered the room and I asked them “So what do you want to make today?” To my students I hope my classroom felt like a creative playground, a free-space for exploration and expression.
With my experience and expertise I can bring to the table not only my unbound patience, enthusiasm, openness and willingness to learn and collaborate with my colleagues (teachers and students alike), but also a media-literacy and multimedia-arts based curriculum set that focuses on creation over consumption, critical thinking over regurgitation, and bridges the digital divide by providing the skill set to empower oneself with a voice to participate and make an impact among a global community. Furthermore, my curriculum set is one that builds upon steps towards empowering youth with the skills to become critical thinkers about the media that is set before them for consumption, to make use of all forms of multimedia (using industry standard software) as a venue for exploration, documentation and expression through authentic story telling, ultimately transforming them into potential citizen journalists, community leaders, and change makers through the media they create.
I have over 12 years experience teaching various forms of art, multimedia and media literacy within technologically marginalized communities. Her students have ranged from the elderly in attempts to catch up to their computer-savvy grandchildren learning to use the mouse for the first time; to unemployed adults building new Microsoft Office skill-sets, while learning to utilize social media to aid in their career development; to inner-city, under-privileged, under-represented, and often troubled youth and teens within various alternative education partnership programs, learning to dissect and critique the media they are expected to consume and then creating their own photographs, comic books, stop motion & flash animations, electronic music and thought provoking videos. I’ve been employed by non-profits, the Department of Education and other city agencies throughout Boston and New York City; yet honestly, in most cases I have felt stifled by our botched traditional (factory/market) education systems.