North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
Feb 21
Digital Media Academy students embrace autonomy

From creating digital masterpieces to designing self-driving cars and even a virtual reality tour of their new school – tech-savvy Argyle students are developing real-world applications and solutions from their seats in high school.

“It’s unlike any other class for many reasons,” attests Digital Media Academy Lite student Sophie Glaubach. “You’re given so much creative freedom and independence.”

It was a Christmas gift, an art tablet, which inspired Glaubach to reimmerse herself in a digital creative space at Argyle.

“I took the class again this year since I enjoyed it so much last year, but I wanted to do digital art this time,” Glaubach explains.

Having, at the ready, leading digital tools to get down to creating art is a built-in bonus of the Digital Media Academy, says Glaubach.

In a flexible learning environment, Digital Media Academy and DMA Lite students work on projects to integrate their knowledge of media design, technology, and project management.

Students learn to express themselves in the creation of simulations, animations, short films, audio recordings, video games, special effects, virtual reality, programming, robotics, magazines, websites, posters, marketing materials, and other media.

“I think no matter what you choose to do in DMA Lite, it teaches you to be organized, be self-directed, independent, stay on schedule, and lots of other little learning habits that will help you outside of the academy,” says Glaubach.

“I’ve adapted some of these skills into my other classes – and whenever I do, I normally get a higher grade, feel better about the work, and have more desire/motivation to work on it.”

Glaubach is joined by her friend Evelyn McCammon in the DMA Lite Academy. Together, the friends are working on a digital children’s book, designed to inspire young readers to be themselves and help them feel included and not alone.

McCammon has discovered a digital outlet for her art, through the academy.

“I am learning how to draw digitally, as I would like to do some form of digital art in the future,” says McCammon. “There are many jobs where they need digital artists, such as drawing posters or being a children’s book author.”


Student Evelyn McCammon shows sheep characters she digitally drew for a children's book. 

The independence factor makes this academy a good fit for them, both friends agree.

“I love the freedom of the class. I like being able to choose the art project I want to do,” says McCammon, adding the academy enforces good working habits by keeping students organized.

Both Digital Media academies challenge students to become independent, self-directed learners with the skills and knowledge to solve real-world design problems.

Projects can include exploring subjects of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) through coding, virtual reality technologies, use of sensors and film, among others.

In Grade 12, students have the opportunity to explore and further concentrate on personal areas of interest. A final DMA portfolio will include a variety of media to help students enter the post-secondary program of their choice.   

The Lower Mainland offers many opportunities for post-secondary training and careers in digital media including film and television, visual effects, animation, game design, and engineering.


To help prepare students for the future, DMA and DMA Lite offers an enriched, real-world learning environment where students rub elbows with digital media professionals in the field.

Embedded in the academy are a masterclass series, in-house presentations, guest speakers, workshops, and specialized field trips.

EA Sports, Story Institute, Vancouver Film School, Microsoft Canada, and agile42 Consulting are just some of the companies that have a mentoring partnership with the Digital Media Academy. Job offers for academy graduates have resulted from these meetings.

This spring break, 30 academy students will visit a country at the forefront of commercial design, gaming and animation innovation – Japan.

When they return home, students will be able to integrate the Japanese experience uniquely into their own designs and stories.

DMA Lite is for Grade 9 and 10 students and runs during the final block of the day.

DMA is for Grade 11 and 12 students and runs through Blocks 1, 2 and 3 – three blocks during Day 1.


Founding DMA instructor Murray Bulger has been teaching digital media courses since 2000 – and is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Chris Miller has been teaching drama, art, programming language, photography and media design courses in North Vancouver for more than 20 years.

More information about the full Digital Media Academy is available here, and the Lite program, here.

 Student applications will be accepted until February 24, 2020.


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