Student Voice empowers kids of all ages to share their stories, perspectives, and passions which allows them to develop so many important life and academic skills. It inspired the creation of a non-profit called the Student Voice Foundation. In order to take the concept of this film festival worldwide, the Global Student Voice Film Festival was born.
The inaugural Global Student Voice Film Fest launched in the fall of 2017 and was a chance for students ages 5-18 to get empowered, amplify their voices and flex their creative muscles.
K-12 students from around the globe were invited to create a 2-minute video responding to our inaugural event’s theme: “In Another’s Shoes”. The winning filmmakers, in three age categories and an overall grand prize, were invited to screen their film and be honored at an official ceremony as part of ISTE 2018 in Chicago.
The 2019 Film Festival launched this week! This year’s film theme is “Activating Change.”We look forward to seeing students from all over the world sharing stories of activating change. To learn more, please visit www.studentvoice.org/filmfest.
Below is a reflection from the middle grades winning student film In Another Shoes adult sponsor John Hayman, Magnet Coordinator, Southeast Middle School, Baton Rouge, LA:
I was honored to attend the Global Student Film Festival at ISTE in Chicago on June 25 to watch three of my broadcasting students accept an award for winning the middle ages category for their film “In Another’s Shoes”. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the participating students and their families. Each of the winning films was screened for the large audience, and each group of filmmakers went onstage and shared some insights they learned while making their film.
I was amazed at the quality of the films shown at the festival. Each winning group tackled the theme “empathy” differently. One group told the story from the perspective of a library book. Another group used a small child to express their idea. Some stories were student-created, and some were told by using the voices of real children. All students approached the challenge differently, and we were rewarded with a very diverse, creative group of short films.
You don’t have to be a broadcasting teacher to embrace video as a tool for kids to express their learning, and it works in any classroom. The great news is that video production is easy, cheap, and can be accessible for all students. All a student needs is a smartphone or tablet. We prefer iPads at our school because everything is built into the device: a camera, a microphone, a video editing application, and the ability to share.
A lesson I learned from this experience is that extracurricular projects and contests are important. This contest is one example, but there are thousands of opportunities for kids to compete and showcase their creativity. We often think that we don’t have time to share these opportunities with students, but they are too important for a child’s self-esteem, engagement, and development to ignore. It is our job as educators to encourage students to reach their potential and follow their dreams. If we don’t expose children to competitions and opportunities outside of school, then we are limiting their potential. Winning the contest made my students want to pursue careers in film. They would not have competed at all had we not shared it with them and encouraged them to enter.
Video is fun, engaging, and a highly effective way to teach and learn! I challenge all teachers to consider incorporating a small video project in their classrooms. If you’re looking for a project, consider participating in the 2019 Global Film Festival.