Film School's in Session

Note: To find out more about the Best Buy Te@ch Award go to Best Buy, scroll all the way down to “Company Information” and click on “Community Relations.” In the “Best Buy Programs” window look for and click on ‘Te@ch.” Applications for the 2005 awards are due by September 30.

This past year I have been fortunate enough to receive several grants for technology. The most recent was the Best Buy Te@ch Award, nationally recognizing educators who have written innovative lessons. I received $2500 to implement my project titled, iRead, iWrite, iMovie2, an interdisciplinary project where learners work collaboratively using project-based learning, integrating reading, writing, and the arts.

The process is simple. A class reads a book and then the students create individual summaries. We select one summary to be turned into a script. To do this we let students choose “guilds”: directors, producers, actors, cinematographers, art designers, etc. The goal is to produce a movie.

Learners raise their self-esteem when they are involved in hands-on self-motivated activities. Consequently this increases academic achievement, which is the project's intended outcome. Effective uses of new media include the integration of the latest technologies (Apple Computers' iLife) with the curriculum, replacing sometimes-outdated textbooks. This lesson addresses all learning styles through the total integration of the sensory, auditory, visual, kinesthetic and tactile modalities . Assessment is via a rubric, and, if it is a school-wide project, then an “Academy Awards” takes place to determine the winner according to different categories.

The purpose of "iRead, iWrite, iMovie 2" is to increase reading and writing skills as measured by standardized Comprehensive Achievement Tests. With technology as its vehicle "iRead, iWrite, iMovie2" is an interdisciplinary project where learners will work collaboratively using project-based learning. Learners will work together as a team using decision-making and critical thinking skills. They will be engrossed in learning a variety of skills while having fun creating, and producing authentic projects. When learning is meaningful it becomes long lasting. Effective uses of new media include the integration of the latest technologies (Apple Computers' iLife) with the curriculum, replacing sometimes-outdated textbooks. This project addresses all learning styles through the total integration of the sensory, auditory, visual, kinesthetic and tactile modalities.

Why did I think I was selected? I think the key to grant writing success is twofold; one is to make life simpler for teachers who really have no time to create these types of lessons. Secondly, I think that grant giving institutions are looking for lessons that truly impact learning, created by “out of the box” thinkers. Consequently, I embark in creating these lessons for teachers as my schedule is much more flexible and I have the time to search for those wonderful websites waiting to be discovered.

In all, the true winners here are the students themselves. There is no doubt in my mind that when learning is fun and self-directed it is by far one of the most meaningful experiences, and one that will be everlasting.

See more at iRead, iWrite, iMovie2

Rosa Duarte

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