We constantly hear reports in the news of diminishing literacy standards in our kids. If you believe what we are being told, we will soon live in a world where most people won’t be able to read or write effectively. Is this really the case or is there a different problem?
In a world of devices where kids are constantly stimulated with access to multimedia based learning, I believe we are missing the mark with what we are asking kids to produce. Our teaching programs still require kids to produce old fashioned essays and written reports. These tasks have their place, but if we are only asking for these, we are failing to teach our kids new forms of literacy.
Asking kids to research and share learning through creative tasks allows our students to work with the technology and tools that they have grown up with. Often, using one device, our students have access to a complete film making suite. They have access to postcast creating tools and equipment to record and share their own music. The technology they have in their pockets is far more powerful than anything we had when we were at school.
So why aren’t we using it? We wouldn’t have a week at school without traditional writing tasks, so why not let kids turn these into something that has meaning for them? The movie making process requires planning texts, story boarding, script writing, editing and constant revision of text. Kids enjoy the process and can produce much deeper learning than our traditional tasks allow.
The following two films were written and produced by grade 6 and 7 students from my class for entry into film competitions. I think they are good reasons to give kids a camera, some structure and a little bit of trust and see what they can do.