Since 1974, the International Student Media Festival (ISMF) has supported and promoted the power of learning through student-produced media. After spending time online looking over a schedule of class offerings that included digital photography and video, clay animation and broadcasting, digital storytelling, web authoring, digital music studio, and game design, the boys chose a video editing workshop. [...] I made a little person out of play dough.
by Johanna Riddle I 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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