Tuscarora Area Cycling Map – an MPMC and JBHS Digital Design Class Collaboration
By Elizabeth George MD
MPMC Tuscarora area bicycle maps are now available at numerous public places in Franklin County and at mpmcproject.org. This is the product of a collaboration between MPMC volunteers and JBHS students; Summit Health has generously funded the printing of the 1st Edition. Since our Feasibility Study on walkabiity/ bikeability, area cyclists, have been providing MPMC with their favorite routes for traveling to work and for exploring our beautiful area; many thanks to cyclists Sean Grove, John Johnson, and Ryan Smith. The map design work was done by JBHS Advanced Digital Design Class of 2015-2016 under the instruction of Mrs. Erin Martin.
Vice Principal Rick Burkette noted “this is a great example of ‘Experiential Learning’ – a student project resulting in an authentic product for the community.”
The assignment was kept intentionally vague to give students the opportunity to really create and develop the brochure. “Take this local map with color markings showing favorite bike routes and create a brochure that will be informative and inviting to people to explore our beautiful area. Include scenic, recreational, historic destinations.”
I went to my first meeting with the students and was impressed by their creative and practical questions – they had previously looked at MPMC and MACWell materials and started to think about themes – who’s the audience, size, how will it be used, what map style?
A key part of the project was getting out and exploring the community – students traveled by van to observe, take photos of favorite areas, create descriptions, “get to know their subject”. Mrs. Martin assigned each student one of the routes to investigate and research in advance; “they didn’t come up with much, But as they traveled out on the routes, they discovered so much to include and so many photos of historic and scenic locations, they weren’t sure how they would fit everything in.”
A month later at our next meeting all students presented a basic design concept for the map/description - their design ideas - their energy and creativity was notable. One student created a map that actually folded up into a hat; that would be a fun 2nd edition of the map. Graduated student Samantha (“Sammy”) Fritsche came up with the base design that was used for the final project along with additional design elements from the class.
Then the really technical part and fine-tuning began. Working with the base map (downloaded from County info) was a computer challenge – working with the “layers” of information and different computer programs is more complex than someone just looking at a map might realize. Carl Rosenberry commented that this part, “though challenging and often frustrating, was a valuable learning experience. “ Mrs. Martin said “I’m going to include this new knowledge in my teaching plans for future design classes”.
This fall I met with students again to go over our proofs. As we reviewed the map Jaiden Hart displayed a “magnificent eye” (as Mrs. Martin said) for alignment and find details on graphic design products
As the students looked at the printers proofs with great satisfaction – they reminisced over the project. “The hardest part was getting started - coming up with the design concept. Rick Burkett noted that this is a key learning point – “people in graphics/ advertising have to know how to get started on a project they are unfamiliar with. “
Sydney Jones said –“I really enjoyed our trip out – I learned so much about our community - I had never explored our area so much. Now, I can even find the alpaca farm.” And Jaiden noted, “it’s amazing how much is almost right next door to us, that I never really explored.” Mr. Burkett added, “It was motivational to get me out and bike more.” Mrs. Martin noted that only half the students had previously been out to the JB Monument State Park. (I don’t know if they had time to poke around under the rocks in the stream and find crawdads – a favorite Saturday activity last summer with my Grandkids). The students agreed that the trip up to white Tail was a favorite part – especially the extra treat of hiking up for a wonderful view from the top
As part of their “real world experience”, Jaiden Hart and Sydney Jones, along with Mr. Burkett and Mrs. Martin met with Lyndon Shank at Mercersburg printing to go over some final editing. Mr. Shank noted that he was very impressed with the design work and extensive computer skills of the students. Many thanks go to Mr. Shanks for his work on printing details.
Mr. Burkett summarized, “This was an opportunity for our students to gain real-world experience applying what they have learned in class to the creation of an authentic product for a client in the community. They learned so much more than digital design. The gained a deeper appreciation for the surrounding area. They learned how to work through the exchange of ideas between designer and client to create a quality product that represents both their hard work and also the interests of their client. They worked with a local business and toured their outstanding facility.” He added “I’m very proud of our students for their leadership and commitment to seeing this project through! I’d like to thank Mrs. Erin Martin and Dr. Liz George for their patience and willingness to engage our students in this valuable learning opportunity.” I would add that, once again, it was an absolute pleasure to work with JBHS talented and energetic students, and see their commitment to making a difference in the area in which they live.
Dr. Elizabeth George