Using film making in the classroom has become a regular part of my practice. For most of my teaching career, I’ve done this. Thanks to the example set by my first principal, Bob Thiele and through the work and support of programs like the New Media Awards, run by Kym Nadebaum, film making in the classroom has been a very positive experience for all involved.
We all know that engaging kids in deep learning can be a difficult thing. Using film takes care of that problem. All of a sudden kids who are disengaged become willing writers. Kids who produce ‘that’s good enough’ work begin working at their best. It’s fantastic to watch.
This year has been no exception. Being a part of the New Media program has given us an opportunity for kids to create learning to share with a wide audience. Having the chance to learn more about and share something that they are passionate about has been a powerful experience. This year, our team of students have created a film about type 1 diabetes. This is not something that they plucked out of the air, but a condition that affects one of their classmates. This project gave this student a chance to tell her story. It gave her friends a chance to learn more about her illness. It turned an unwilling writer into a champion researcher. Along the way we learned about creative commons, text structure, storyboarding, planning writing, purpose, audience and much much more.
This year’s subject was a personal one for our class. When our editors had completed the film, this student watched the finished product with tears in her eyes. You don’t get that by reading your essay out loud. Film making makes connections. Connections create learning.
Here is the team’s finished product for 2014: