Challenge Based Videos

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In this time of global connectedness and emphasis on not just digital citizenship, but responsible, global citizenship in general, Challenge Based Learning would seem to go hand in hand with challenge based living. And I can’t think of a better tool to express and share solutions to those challenges than digital storytelling. I believe it was David Warlick who once said that home-made videos were the letters to the editor of the future. As much as student made videos for specific topics in classes are valuable, the real payoff might be a life skill that gives each person a voice to participate and a more critical eye and ear as they weigh the voices of others. A few recent contest/festivals come to mind as good examples of how students’ voices can reach beyond the classroom.

Our own Discovery Education and 3M Young Scientist Challenge asked students in grades 5-8 to submit their applications as a video that offered scientific solutions to one of the four challenges: preventing germs/disease, food safety, sun protection, or wind resistant structures. The finalists will be announced this summer and plans are already underway for the 2011 call.

Former Wilkes University digital storytelling student Michael Gori’s own students were so moved by what they learned interviewing the staff at their school for his broadcast journalism class project “Yo Teach,”  they made a special 10 minute version for the American Film Institute’s ScreenNation TeenDocs documentary festival. You can see the trailer on AFI’s YouTube channel or the entire 40 minute documentary on the Liberty H.S. Broadcast Journalism page.

Last fall Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, invited students to share their thoughts on education in a video that followed the theme “I Am What I Learn.” You can view the three winning entries at the site or use the Gallery tab to look through the top ten. And if you’d like to peruse the other 600+ entries, just search “i am what i learn” on YouTube.

WGBH’s “Open Call” invites people to submit their stories on a given subject. Recent calls have ranged from your own video diary inspired by Ann Frank’s to the history connected to an antique to students’ views on life and evolution. They have a wonderful page of resources and, depending on the current subject, they occasionally  provide stills, videos clips and sounds that you can use.

We have the tools, in schools and in homes, and there seems to be plenty of places that invite solutions and encourage constructive discussion. How will we help our students’ voices be heard?

This is a cross-post from the Discovery Education/Wilkes U. blog.

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