Three years ago our instructional technology department decided to create a film festival for our K-12 school district. We worked hard to plan it, promote it, and put on the culminating awards ceremony. We provided workshops for teachers on how to shoot and edit video, and we assisted teachers and students with classroom video projects.
There are several reasons why we decided to do all of this. The first reason is video production can be a powerful tool for expressing creativity, demonstrating understanding, or telling a story. Another reason is that video production encourages communication, collaboration, and critical thinking – three key 21st century skills. Tying in to these reasons, we developed the following purpose statement for the film festival:
The festival is designed to showcase the amazing talents of our students and teachers by providing a platform for community recognition.
(To learn more about our experiences from that first year, please read the following articles on the Edutopia website: First Steps Towards a Student Film Festival; First Steps Towards a Student Film Festival: Promotion & Professional Development; First Steps Towards a Student Film Festival: The Conclusion; 7 Tips for Starting a District-Wide Film Festival).
The film festival has grown tremendously since that first year. As awareness and interest have increased, so have the number of participating schools and entries. From 76 entries that first year to over 220 this year, not only has the number of video submissions tripled, but the quality of the videos has continued to improve. As a department, we could not be more proud of how the festival has progressed.
But that’s not really the point.
For me, the point goes back to the power of video. I am a strong advocate for using video production in the classroom to help teach the curriculum. Through my own experiences as a classroom teacher and through research studies I have conducted into the phenomenon, I have personally witnessed what the process of creating a video can do for student interest, engagement, and conceptual understanding.
But moving beyond the classroom and the curriculum lies an even more powerful effect of video.
When students learn how to produce a video, they are empowered with a skill set that allows them to begin telling their own stories.
Stories that might not otherwise have been told. Stories that will move you. Stories that will open your mind, Stories that will break your heart. Stories that just might very well save a life.
This is the point:
Thank you students for your powerful videos. Your stories are most certainly the fruit of the labor.