If you have a minute or two, take a look at the following video produced by students at Nolan Catholic High School, Ft. Worth, Texas:
Corey, a buddy of mine -- fellow daddy blogger, a colleague that I used to design schools with, and fan of Smoke Pit BBQ lunches -- sent me this video link to the Nolan project the other day. Been thinking about it on a number of levels ever since. Even left a comment of my own on the original Ft. Worth-based blog post that brought this student video to my attention, if you are curious. Encourage you to leave one of your own (time permitting).
On the way to my own school every morning, I pass Nolan High School, a private school in Ft. Worth, TX. Typical in many ways to my own -- save for the religious affiliation -- it is a school with a healthy reputation in the larger community but not one I know a great deal about internally.
And yet, with this single student video about urban grasslands research, I find myself wanting to make a bee-line for Dr. Kuban's classroom door (and his remarkable ecology program that really deserves some attention, as well as a bit of journalistic context on the grasslands story he and his students are working on together). Needless to say, Dr. Kuban is a teacher any of us would be lucky to send our kids to or to call a colleague/mentor. And definitely the kind of guy I need to meet in the near term (esp. considering we live 'down street' from one another).
The more I work with DK of UK-based MediaSnackers, the more I want to one day meet Marco Torres (one of the founders of the "iCan" student film festival), the more I am able to grab phone time with last year's Yahoo-sponsored "Totally Wired Teacher" winner Ben Wilkoff (podcast link, blog link, Academy of Discovery site) about what he has in the idea-equals-change hopper, the more I life/work-Skype chatwith Chris Lehmann with an ear open for the work his students at SLA are beginning to do, the more I think about what Wes Fryer has been saying for ages, the more time I get conversationally with mind-of-the-future-bending Ian Jukes, the more I think about Dan Meyer's increased blog-call to take note of the deep impact of "story-telling" (fueling even his "design" thinking) in all things we educators do, and the more I think about what the real end game is for my own students in the months and years ahead, the more I am convinced that a mindset of digital and F2F storytelling with a thoughtful eye on "change" advocacy must be at the center of what our educational programs produce.
Because high schools students -- almost by definition if you know them well -- are a group that dig "change", especially when their voices will be taken seriously in an advocates' position. Reinforce that inner youth passion with a fine-tuned sense of presentation and story-telling techniques (from concept to storyboarding to research to editing to production to publication and even getting messy in front of a real audience), give it access to digital creation/editing/storytelling tools on a wide array of fronts, and put their work in front of real-world audiences with an ability to sense quality/value...and you'll hook the kids. Undoubtedly. Unapologetically. And without limits.
And make a few parents, teachers, administrators, and community members take notice (and be proud) in the process. Maybe even create a few digital change-oriented teachers, too:
Note: first noticed this video from a recent post at Chris Lehmann's blog; followed up in detail to find out that the teacher -- WonderingMind42 -- has built a remarkable portfolio of videos dealing with the issue of global warming from a wide range of ideas; and love that he clearly uses a Ze Frank video storytelling style -- a la "the show" -- wink, wink.
You may have noticed the "Watch more videos..." note under the top clip above. Been exploring the QuantumShift.tv site and their high school video contest since the Nolan video came my way. Might be worth a peek if you have a few additional moments. The following contest description caught my eye this morning:
Quantum Shift TV is challenging students from grades one to twelve across the United States and Canada to participate in the “Be the Change" School Video Contest.
This contest will serve as a launching pad for a new spirit of youth engagement and activism as children learn from and are inspired by each other. For teachers and educational professionals, “Be the Change! Share the Story!" is a project-based tool to teach their students about social and environmental issues that can easily be incorporated into curricula.
Students are invited to work on a social or environmental project of their choice, and document their progress in two short videos to be uploaded on the Web. In addition to making a difference in their community, students have an opportunity to win $50,000 in prizes for their school. An original entertaining video puzzle game is woven into the contest to optimize the educational impact.
Again, might be worth a peek at the contest. WonderingMind42's work, too.