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Visual S.T.E.A.M.Academy

Science; Technology; Engineering; Arts; Math.


Contact Ben DeSoto on this website or call 713.705.1470 to develop tailored after-school or evening Visual S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) workshops appropriate for any age group, kids to adults. 


Serving at-risk communities, native communities, immigrant neighborhoods, detention facilities.  Fee determined by program specifics, i.e., number of days/weeks for program.


 Visual S.T.E.A.M. is designed to develop the natural skills of creativity and personal expression, grounded in the natural sciences and hands-on photography—still photographs, audio and video craft skills.  These are the technical-life-skills grounded in visual and media literacy which is the ability to create and appreciate the mediums of writing and photography.

  • Provide a direct connection between scientific rigor and artistic expression.

  • Combine human curiosity with technological innovation.

  • Courses crossover the TEKS of science, language arts, fine arts, career and professional development.

  • Engages self-reflection, and reflection on family, community, culture and society.


The results of these creative workshops are exhibition work for exhibits and relatable festivals and events, public broadcasting and webcasting opportunities.  Through these outlets, participants can demonstrate both technical life-skills and artistic expression.  These presentations also allow participants to interact with the community that will in turn enable interaction with participants via feedback and invitations to continue work, i.e. commission work.


 Core Curriculum

All Students will experience the natural wonder and history from the camera obscura as the starting point of training in visual activity:  the history of photography, the rules of thirds, a working knowledge of the eye, how we see.



Six weeks, one hour per week, four hours prep, 12 students.  Budget: $1200.  Classroom.

Over six weeks, we learn some exercises for the Right Brain (we are already getting Left Brain training through basic school education-math and science) to become an effective Whole Brainer. Benefits for many people who learn Right Brain exercises (besides becoming a more expressive person) math and science concepts can be better understood.  (Many thanks to Daniel Pink and his book “A Whole New Mind, Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.”)

Each week we will learn about one of the six values or Senses for The Cognitive Age.  The Cognitive Age is a logical step to follow the Information Age in our human creativity.  We are to make bold decisions for action after gathering facts and insights.

We will begin to think about life and work in terms of these three questions:

  • Can someone overseas do it cheaper?

  • Can a computer do it faster?

  • Do I offer something that satisfies the nonmaterial (Spiritual), transcendent desire of an abundant age?  (Are we giving something special coming out our life experiences to some one able to appreciate what we are offering?)


The Whole New Mind Workshop has been taught to clients of Harris County and Ft. Bend County Juvenile Probation Departments.


DIGITAL STORYING TELLING Workshop:   2-3 hours, once a week for 12 weeks, 24-36 contact hours, 12 students.  

Classroom and computer lab, standard software. Optional  or mobile video editing lab.


During the course of 12 weeks, students learn how to shoot video, basic editing and broadcast.  Students include still photography and writing as they perform work on one three disciplines:

  • art of the interview

  • art of making public service announcements

  • art of making an original scripted piece

The camp format, workshop format are interchangeable.  The Whole New Mind Workshop material (see below) is embedded in both camp and workshop formats.



 VISUAL PHOTOGRAPHY CAMP:  3weeks, daily 4-6 hours, 60-90 contact hours, 8-12 students.

                                                              Darkroom, classroom, computer lab.

Week 1

Students work with hands-on science in a traditional chemical wet lab darkroom, and move through language arts as they write in relation to the resulting handmade prints.  This experiential learning will create concrete reinforcements to:  math, science, and value concepts of enough, too much and not enough. Students will write in their “original voice” through processing the print they created from camera to film process to tray processing to exhibit.
Without darkroom: use of cyanotype in science lab process and sunlight.  Values of time; enough, too much and not enough light for exposure.  Use leaves and flowers to expose for veins.  Introduction to mobile camera obsurca and history of photography.

Week 2

Students move to the computer lab to continue their digital photography and multimedia education.  Activities include ongoing photography training, digital darkroom techniques, and printing to exhibit.  Topics in class discussions involve civic citizenship and expand on the concept of citizen journalist.  Highlight of this week is assembling their digital camera (Hot

Week 3

Students continue working with digital photography and expand into web based -blogging, therefore exposing them to multiple platforms –broadcast web. By this time they will be simultaneously engaged in science (technology), language arts, fine arts and career develop.



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