ExclamationOver the last several months, we have received increased email traffic regarding curriculum, lesson plans, student activities and projects that our readers can use to stimulate the interest and creativity of their students. Aside from several well-known websites and text books, these activities are left up to the creativity of the individual teachers, many of whom are new to the world of TV/Video/Film/Radio production. Beginning with our September issue, we will offer you increased content on these topics.

Video is an extremely powerful and sophisticated form of communication that has changed our culture and continues to have a profound effect on our society. Students' choices in fashion, music, and behavior are heavily influenced by the personalities, advertisements, and information they see on television, at the movies, and online. The video medium has more impact on modern students than any other form of mass communication.

The potential to exploit this medium for educational benefit is immense.

When broken down, video is simply a communication medium used to in­form, entertain, persuade, tell a story, and/or express oneself. The ability to communicate a message to an audience is one of the most important skills we teach our students. We strive to teach this skill through writing, projects, public speaking, drama, fine and performing arts. Adding video production to the list gives our students a new means of expression, employing the most powerful communication vehicle of their generation.

Today's inexpensive digital camcorders, computers and even cell phones, give students video-capturing and video-editing capabilities that were available only to professionals a few years ago. Technically, editing video using today's nonlinear editing systems available on low-end computers is simple and intuitive, yet it produces impressive results. (See Barry Britt’s articles on Editing on iMovie and MovieMaker ) Students feel empowered by their mastery of video and thoroughly enjoy having a new medium through which to communicate using images, music, narration, sound, text, and special effects.

Educationally, video production is a cross-curricular, collaborative experience that appeals to all types of learners and requires many different intelligences. By its nature, video production is cross curricular, combining writing, public speaking, acting, and aesthetic education with what­ever subject matter your students are documenting. Video is produced in a collaborative environment, requiring students to be active, contributing, productive members of a video crew. Video production is sufficiently complicated and demanding to keep several students simultaneously involved, working in concert toward a common goal. Video production also appeals to many different types of learners and is made richer by the collaboration of students with varied intelligences. The students of a video crew must devote their various talents to the tasks of writing, storyboarding, directing, acting, capturing, editing, and distributing an idea on video. Your students will connect with the content material of their video on many different levels and in many different ways.

Video offers a rich array of communication possibilities for the students. The text of the script allows students to communicate through words, symbols, and metaphors. (See Christina Hamlett’s articles on Screenwriting) The visual aspects of video allow them to communicate through images, acting, costuming, and props. The auditory aspects allow them to communicate through music and sound effects. The combination of these three aspects provides limitless opportunities for student expression and message creation.

We hope that you will benefit from these articles and use them in your classrooms and studios. Of course, we would love to hear from you about your experiences. Please email us at [email protected] and share your thoughts.