Students in schools across the U.S. are conducting an eight-week pilot filmmaking course being taught through the Internet, which should be completed by the end of April. Sponsored by the Scholastic Network and co-produced by Children’s Video Report and the Children’s Media Project, The Video Exchange Project offers a new approach to branching into multi-disciplinary learning.
Students are creating short movies about their own lives, either self-portraits or portraits of people they know. The movies can be animations, documentaries, live-action narrative, or a hybrid of any of these. The emphasis in the project is for kids to connect with their inner voice and to make observations about their immediate world and what is real to them, not to create clones of Hollywood-type action movies.
The Video Exchange Project begins by sending videotapes of student-made movies through the mail to each school. These movies are made by kids in workshops given by the Children’s Media Project in Wappingers Falls, New York. The young filmmakers function as peer mentors to the students learning the filmmaking process, offering guidance and inspiration through on-line chats during which questions and answers are shared.
Teachers are sent weekly e-mail instructions, generated from the Children’s Media Workshop Workbook, taking them step by step through this movie-making process. An on-line message board offers a forum for questions, problems, inspiration, observations and support.
Maria Marewski, director of the Children’s Media Project, says: ‘Using technology as a tool, rather than as an end, encourages students to use video equipment to create their visions and the computer to connect with other kids about the creative process.’
Organizers will be looking for corporate sponsors at the end of the project with the hope of expanding it in the future.
According to Martha Dewing, publisher of the Brooklyn-based Children’s Video Report, who d’es the coordinating between the schools and the project: ‘Video production is the very best way for kids to learn to think critically about what they watch on TV and at the movies.’
Contact: Martha Dewing, Children’s Video Report, 718-935-0600, CVReport@aol.com or Maria Marewski, Children’s Media Project, 914-227-1838, CMediaProj@aol.com