Over winter break I stumbled upon the White House Film Festival contest for students about technology use in the classroom. The contest was for K-12 students to produce a 3 minute video about technology use in schools. I immediately thought of a former student and sent the e-mail off to his mom.
I heard back from the student pretty soon after as he was traveling back home. He promised to come by my room when we were back to school the following week. He was excited!
He arrived at my door ready with a plan! He wanted to create a scene in a classroom from a long time ago. He went on to explain his entire idea. I tried to coach him into how the movie could focus a bit more on technology, but being the creative genius he is - he politely chose to ignore my less creative ideas. What I have always adored about this particular student is his passion and enthusiasm. If this was what he wanted to produce, then who was I to tell him no?
We came up with a timeline of what should happen. First, he needed to put his ideas on paper. There would need to be a plan for what the screen play would consist of. I also advised him to create a plan for what images he would want to capture and not just the lines his characters would speak.
We went on like this for about a week as the deadline for the movie drew closer. I had a trip planned to London for Wednesday, January 22nd which was causing me to have to prep for several days of being out of the classroom. On Tuesday, January 21st my student flew into my room waving his final version of a typed screen play. He was ready to record. Knowing my flight was not until late Wednesday, I agreed to help shoot the video on Wednesday. I was asked to play the role of the teacher, so I could not turn down this opportunity for fame.
I will admit that my anxiety level was growing through the day as I wondered how I would ever be ready to leave for the airport.
We recorded the video after school in record time. I followed the directions I was given, since this was not my production. I again gave some suggestions, but it was not my movie. My student was in charge.
He used iMovie on his iPad to record the entire thing. He used images, as well as video for the production. He also showed me how he quickly edited the clips to exclude the *many* retakes I needed. With total ease, he navigated through what would have taken me hours to do.
Last Saturday he sent me an e-mail:
The movie was finished! I wasn't able to view it at first because of privacy settings, but tonight I checked again to see if he had made it public. The video is live.
I watched with great anticipation. As suspected, my role is not worthy of an Oscar. My student had decided to incorporate some of the pictures of current technology from school. He also changed the flow of the video slightly from the screen play I had seen.
As I watched the video, I realized the many reasons I had to celebrate this student. He chose to spend his free time creating this video. He put a lot of effort into it and designed the entire thing.
He also reminded me of what my role as a teacher is. It is not my job to control and define a task so much that it turns out just the way I would have done it. My job is to allow him the opportunity to take his learning and passion, and create something he is proud of.
Thank you DP for being you and pursuing your passions in life with such enthusiasm. I am so proud of you!
Based in Doha currently, I am a technology-advocating learning junkie.