Celebrating 21st-Century Learning at the International Student Media Festival by ProQuest


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									                                             by Johanna Riddle

    t’s a celebration of creative learning through technol-   That philosophy of student-centered education, stem-
    ogy. It’s a day filled with minds-on, hands-on, collab-   ming from within the schools, is fundamentally chang-
    orative learning experiences. It’s a mini-Oscar event,    ing the way that learning, and teaching, happens.”
complete with red carpet, lights, and paparazzi. It’s the         That shift in philosophy, and its impact on learning
34th annual International Student Media Festival.             and teaching, was evidenced by the gathering of near-
   Since 1974, the International Student Media Festi-         ly a thousand students, families, and teachers in No-
val (ISMF) has supported and promoted the power of            vember 2008 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., just across from
learning through student-produced media. Sponsored            Downtown Disney. Festival scheduling, location, and
by the Association for Educational Communications and         calendar of events proved to be just the right formula
Technology (AECT), the festival offers opportunities for      for 10-year-old Daniel Wedincamp, his classmate Zach
K–16 students and teachers across the globe to share          Rudolph, and their families. Though this was their third
their work, to acquire new skills, to collaborate on me-      time to submit their media projects to the festival (and
dia applications, and to acknowledge their mutual cre-        to receive awards for their work), this was the boys’ first
ativity and efforts. This initiative has grown to become      opportunity to actively participate in the festival.
the largest and most successful event of its kind.                After spending time online looking over a schedule
   AECT executive director Phillip Harris, Ph.D., at-         of class offerings that included digital photography and
tributes the success of the festival to a growing recep-      video, clay animation and broadcasting, digital story-
tiveness among teachers to student preferences for            telling, web authoring, digital music studio, and game
learning and communicating. “I often refer to the inte-       design, the boys chose a video editing workshop. “We
gration of technology in learning as a true school reform     ended up taking a class in Adobe Premiere Elements
initiative,” he explained, “as contrasted with so many        moviemaking. It was pretty good,” Zach said, adding
top-down mandates. This grass-roots change emanates           that their 2008 festival submission had been created
from the classroom, as teachers allow students to use         with Microsoft PowerPoint, a program with which boys
the tools that they are interested in to foster learning.     regularly worked at their school in Savannah, Ga.

22     www.mmischools.com
                                                                                             TECHNOLOGY          @   SCHOOLS

“Staying at the hotel has been pretty fun too,” he added.      vocabulary of stop-motion animation. Faith looks for-
Both boys also participated in the popular Photo Safari        ward to sharing the results of her work with her family.
class. “I take pictures a lot,” explained Daniel. “And I           “I can show the DVD [I made] on my computer or my
always want to learn more about that.”                         TV,” she explained. “It makes you feel pretty happy
   Active learning workshops offered at the festival are       when you can show people what you made yourself and
an important distinction in the International Festival.        say, ‘I made this. I created my own movie!’ ”
The collaborative nature of the sessions adds a unique             There are several sessions aimed at educators that
component to the event. When you walk into a lab, you          are new to the festival. First-year teacher Sasha Land
will find parents and their children learning together.        and his colleague Aaron Bork traveled from the Pinna-
Teachers and students work side by side to master the          cle School in Bloomington, Ind., to ISMF to scope out
application of new skills. Multiple age groups fill every      the event. Sasha participated in a teacher-targeted ses-
classroom, and new friendships quickly form as st
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