It has often been said that the best way is to “let the children lead the way,” and this is most definitely the case when it comes to allowing students the opportunity to showcase their talents as budding TV production teams.
In our ever-more technologically reliant world, we as adults are inadvertently standing in the way of young people when it comes to allowing them to express their technical and creative abilities through the use of video production.
As you read these words, anyone who is past the age of 25 today is technically a digital immigrant, with all those under that age, and especially in the pre-18 year old bracket, may be considered to be digital natives.
The terms “digital immigrant” and “digital native” aren’t new. However, what is new is the age at which we cease to be a “digital native” because it is dropping all the time!
During my travels reporting education TV news across the United States I’ve seen and marvelled at many things. However, none more so than witnessing a baby who was barely able to crawl and was given a Microsoft tablet to play with. Amazingly, this baby intuitively worked out how to use hand gestures and touch screen actions in minutes of holding the device. More importantly, when they were next handed a glossy magazine to replace the tablet, they were very obviously perplexed as to why the magazine pictures didn’t respond to the same hand gestures in the same way!
It’s becoming increasingly clear that as adults, and especially as teachers, we all need to cease hindering the progress of young people by getting in the way of their constructive use of technology. Even if we as adults aren’t 100% familiar with, or competent with the technology ourselves, this shouldn’t mean that our own inadequacies in this respect should hinder the progress of those we’re supposed to be teaching!
If we can’t provide senior students with real-world immersion experiences in relation to TV and video production, then we’re failing to adequately prepare them to leave school and enter the workforce prepared not only to get a job, but to do that job comfortably and well.
The student-led sports productions for MSHSL are a wonderful examples of what should be made a teaching “best practice” because they give students the finest real-world immersion experience they could wish for.
KSTP’s Prep45 and Grand Stadium TV produce TV broadcasts with the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL), and they are leading the way in this respect.
Students receive training in advance of going out into the field from industry veterans, and then coaching from those same veterans during the event production process itself.
The students really do lead the way and carry out all manner of tasks related to producing a TV broadcast. So what you’re watching during any game is literally a showcase of outstanding ability.
Students undertake all production roles including those of camera operators, vision mixers, sound mixers, directors, and on occasion the on-screen talent.
No matter what role they undertake, they all learn in the best way possible, and have fun as they prepare themselves for higher education, employment or both.
I strongly encourage all states, all school districts, and all schools to follow this shining example of how it should be done. There is no finer way to help young people fulfil their creative, academic, and professional dreams and aspirations.
Let the students lead the way to their success.
Brian Sterling-Vete spent over a decade with BBC TV news, he’s a British author, Guinness World Record Holder, and film maker. He has worked extensively on both sides of camera, and even worked as a stunt performer for several years.
In addition, Brian also uses the skills he learned while he was with BBC TV News, to coach leadership and celebrities how to stay safe if they’re faced with a crisis, and a subsequent media attack.