Digifest 2011

The 'paparazzi' greet our young filmmakers on the red carpet as they arrive at Digifest 2011

Our 4th Digifest celebration at UGDSB has just come and gone – amazing how quickly time passes!    This year was incredible once again, and while all of the submissions are worthy of acclaim  two things really stood out for me this year.   First, it was really noticeable was how capacity has built over the past 4 years.  The grade 4’s who were our first group are now in grade 8 and their culminating projects were not only well planned and technically proficient, but they show a depth that happens with creative, on-going, cross-curricular projects.  Kids can do amazing things if we respect their interests and passions and we give them the time to create for authentic purposes and audiences.  The second thing that resonates this year is how joyful the students were in sharing their creations.   They were so respectful and appreciative of the efforts of our beginners, because they know the perseverance and courage it takes to not only conceive of an original idea and see it through, but to share it with an audience of your peers!   To see these students, working in production teams and through all the messiness that comes with constructing knowledge, it makes me really proud of them and of their teachers who support this kind of learning.   The smiles were everywhere! 🙂

In my travels as a coach I helped with introductions to digital storytelling, helped with software (moviemaker, Frames 4 and Audacity), taught students and teachers about Creative Commons, and shared my resources about Digital Storytelling for storyboards and access to images and sound.

Our festival (no voting, no awards, just appreciation of creative attempts at storytelling) is held for some of the elementary schools in my district that have classes for gifted students but of course, any teacher or school could do this.  They prepare their stories over any part of the year and we culminate in May.  Each of 7 classes can submit a pre-determined number of minutes which can be individual entries but are mostly production teams – one of the great things about Digital Storytelling is the team work that can happen!

The local high school has a 200 seat theatre (my husband is the drama teacher) so his students get involved by rolling out a red carpet and greeting the filmmakers as the ‘paparazzi’ screaming and cheering and asking for autographs. This really builds excitement as the students arrive to see their film premieres on the big screen.

All of the submissions were wonderful, and I think we are working towards having them all online next year using YouTube or Vimeo, but for now I can share just a couple.   These two submissions are from Grade 8’s who composed and performed an original song as a part of their music program and then created a digital story with it later.  I think you’ll find them both quite different, but equally engaging and touching!  Enjoy!

How are you sharing and celebrating the digital work that your students create?   Please share what your doing so we can all learn from it!