There’s nothing more exciting in digital storytelling than sharing. Whether it’s kindergartners or senior citizens, stories are made to be told and heard. It’s in our genes. ISMF recognizes that and, popcorn provided, set aside three rooms on Wednesday evening to screen any of the 900+ entries. Yes, I said any! Attendees’ work was given preference, but after that you could shout out a title from the list of entries that struck you and up it went on the screen. I hope the students that didn’t make the trip to Dallas got to hear the laughter, oohs, ahs, and applause at sometime somewhere. Rooms were divided by grade level and media presentations ranged from video to Flash animations to stop action filming to photo essays to web pages to sequential and interactive stills. Many of the youngest fans didn’t want to quit watching and held on until they couldn’t hold their eyelids up any longer. Just to point out a couple of the entries that really struck me, I saw a network worthy PSA (Public Service Announcement) explaining the restructuring of Hawaii’s department of education, a photo essay that was all reflections (puddles, windows, bumpers, and a few mirrors), and a hilarious crayon sketched story of one young girl’s family’s bad luck with pets. Thursday morning saw us taking over the main ballroom from the Association for Educational Communications and Technology who is the sponsor/parent organization and holds their annual (international and mostly college/university focused) conference at the same time. In the grand ballroom and on the main stage was a perfect place for the awards and closing ceremonies. A clown awarding stickers for hugs, a singing cowboy/emcee, photo ops, awards, door prizes, and sun glasses that came in our conference bags all made it an Oscar-worthy way to end the week. Over the next few months I will keep returning to ISMF themes and will beat the drum mightily to encourage students to enter next spring when the ’07 festival opens up and the cycle starts all over again. Wouldn’t you like be in Anaheim next fall to celebrate students’ media creativity?
Pictures by Johanna Riddle