In today's digital world, one of the greatest powers we have is the ability to tell our stories — and share them with the world.
Teaching students how to tap into that power not only makes learning more meaningful, but it positions them to take their place in a digital society.
" "Every kid has a story, and we need to give them the opportunity to unleash that story," " said Bill Bass, president of ISTE's Innovative Learning Network and co-author of From Inspiration to Red Carpet: Host Your Own Student Film Festival.
" "Kids are grappling with what they see around them all the time. They see what's happening in the world, and creating with video helps them makes sense of what they see every day on the news." "
Many teachers still shy away from video projects in the classroom because they're complex, technology heavy and time consuming. But when properly integrated into the curriculum, creating a video can provide an authentic learning experience that brings together critical skills, such as analytical thinking, problem solving and collaboration.
" "Video gives kids the opportunity to create and analyze the world beyond just the traditional writing they do in classroom," " Bass said. " "It gets them thinking about visuals, sound effects and the impact music has on story. It really can bring about a lot of media literacy and visual literacy skills, and it provides an opportunity to bring all of those things together in authentic way rather than have them isolated in different content areas or different tasks students are working on." "
The power of sharing
Of course, the true potential of video lies not just in its creation but also in sharing the final product, a process that provokes students to think beyond the classroom and reach for excellence in a more authentic way.
" "It's a solid project that you can put out there to the world," " said film teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator Michael Hernandez. " "They can show it to their friends, they can show it to their family, you can show it to their parents and you can show the administration what you're doing." "
Whether students post their videos online or present them face to face as part of a student film festival, knowing their work will be shared with a larger audience gives them extra motivation during the learning process.
" "Students are motivated by transferring their knowledge and understanding to the real world," " Bass and his co-authors state in From Inspiration to Red Carpet: Host Your Own Student Film Festival. " "Ultimately, a film festival inspires kids and gives them a venue for showcasing that inspiration." "
Even the White House has acknowledged the importance of giving students a platform to showcase their filmmaking by hosting its second annual White House Student Film Festival .
Launching a video project
For teachers who are ready to give video a try in the classroom, Bass offered the following tips:
Find a partner. Collaborate with a librarian, instructional coach or administrator so you're not trying to tackle a complex project in isolation.
Relinquish control. Provide clear expectations, but don't paint your students into a box. Your role is to keep things organized and redirect when necessary while giving them space to tell their own stories.
Don't worry about the technology. Many students are already carrying powerful video creation tools in their pockets. It doesn't take a lot of technological expertise to make a video these days.
Finally, to help students create quality video projects, check out Hernandez's 5-minute film school: