Sunday, 11 March 2012

Personalized Learning: Kony 2012

Well-Crafted Documentary + Social Media = Ignition

Michael Moore has got to be jealous...  When he produced "Bowling for Columbine" in 2002,  the first version of what would eventually become Facebook was still a year away from being invented by 18 year-old Mark Zuckerberg.  Twitter was four years away.  "Going viral" was still thought of as a medical term.   Kony 2012 was viewed by 55 million people in less than a week.  It's following continues to grow. It was the "perfect storm" of a popular cause with good film making and an even better social media strategy that targeted celebrities and policy makers. 

When I think about the goal of Social Responsibility in our district, I believe we need to empower our students to develop similar skills for local or international issues - particularly the skills to create a good documentary.  Unfortunately, documentary film-making has often been the purview of fringe or political organizations, relegated to late-night TV.

The art of documentary film-making is a very personal and creative experience.  There is hardly a better example of Personalized Learning as the director/student reveals an issue literally through their lens.   It also reminds us that being passionate about something is the ultimate motivation.  In British Columbia, there is the occasional film competition that gets sent out to schools such as the one to produce a commercial to stop drunk-driving as well as the BC Student Film Festival held each year at Capilano University.  Recently, a few students from our district - SD60 - created a promotional video on the Energetic Learning Campus that demonstrates a lot of style and creativity:

Nevertheless, I believe the art of documentary film-making can be better developed in the North.  What is particularly encouraging is that it no longer requires highly specialized equipment and complex software.  A student could make one with their smartphone.  And as far as distribution goes, the students are already experts: it's called Social Media...

Until we develop a broad range of expertise in our region, there are some training opportunities in larger centers for both students and teachers.  One in particular that I attended a few years ago is the Gulf Islands Film and Television School - G.I.F.T.S.  Here is an example of a short documentary made this past summer by some high school students in the lower mainland.  It is called "ME" and is about acceptance of who we are:

The session I attended was over the course of a weekend but there are a variety of courses and time commitments that can fit any schedule and there are bursaries/scholarships available.

Rather than talk about Social Responsibility with our students, how about we let them take over.

Have a great week,

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