Some say that Andy Warhol was a visionary when he predicted in 1968 that “in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” With the explosion of web 2.0 and the constant demands of maintaining the interest of the online world’s alarmingly short collective attention span, sensationalism of the kind Warhol may have been thinking certainly reigns supreme.
The main question is, then, how does one plan on spending this technologically- assured window of opportunity? Having recently purchased eight digital cameras for my school, I’m delighted to see that by bringing filming into the classroom, we can teach our kids to do much more than set up 24 hour webcams in their bedrooms or film themselves doing chicken dances to broadcast to the world. In Year 8 English, we’ve been exploring some of the rudiments of Project Based Learning through a film activity which involves developing and filming a pretend news program. Students assume one of the following roles (the numbers and natures of which can be adjusted to suit your class):
Reporters (local interest, overseas, weather, entertainment, political, etc.)
Here’s a video of my class discussing some of their roles and some of the footage from the final cut:
Each role has a clear set of responsibilities which can either be specified on a role sheet or negotiated at some point. Students need to understand their role in the context of other students’ roles and navigate through the various obstacles that naturally get in the way of bringing the program “to air.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, kids take this kind of activity very seriously, as it relates strongly to real life circumstances, is a lot of fun and allows them to tap into their own “fifteen minutes of fame.”