McCallie's Dave Porfiri Named As A National Geographic Certified Educator

Monday, January 6, 2020
Dave Porfiri
Dave Porfiri

Dave Porfiri, director of the CAVE (Center for Animation, Video, and Entertainment) at McCallie School, has obtained his certification as a National Geographic Certified Educator. 

The certification process is for educators that are “part of a powerful movement to make the world a better place by empowering students to be informed decision-makers equipped to solve meaningful challenges in their communities and beyond.”

The certification process required 30+ hours of work, mostly spent developing a lesson plan incorporating the National Geographic philosophy of "learning about the world" and implementing their learning framework. The lessons plans had to incorporate a global perspective into any lesson plan for any classroom subject. 

For his lesson plan, Mr. Porfiri developed a major two-part project for his photography class. In the first part, students closely analyzed the photography in National Geographic magazine, getting a sense of why the photography is considered among the consistently best work published anywhere. They also focused on how the photography in and of itself tells a story about some aspect of the world. 

In the second part of the assignment, the students went out into the Chattanooga community and photographed a subject with the general theme of human world/ natural world interaction. Students could choose from a list of subjects provided or they came up with one of their own. The photos were arranged into a photo essay with captions. The captions required the students to do some research to learn more about their subject and to make connections with the larger world. 

“I think photography and filmmaking are among the most powerful ways to engage an audience emotionally and thereby to affect change,” Mr. Porfiri says. “I want to instill in my students a sense of power and satisfaction that comes with being able to use visual media to do good.”


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