Incorporating filmmaking into the curriculum not only helps foster an environment of creativity for students and staff alike but also allows students to develop an appreciation for digital media that will undoubtedly play a role in their futures. Simon Pile, assistant head teacher at London’s Anson Primary and Into Film Teacher of the Year, believes that filmmaking benefits every aspect of education when introduced in the classroom.
Pile believes that one of the most important steps in getting filmmaking in the classroom is ensuring that teachers are on board. Teaching filmmaking to groups of energetic students could seem daunting to anyone, let alone those who may not have experience with digital media. Pile suggests hosting seminars to introduce teachers and educators to basic filmmaking techniques. These lessons not only allow teachers to understand the technology available, but also provide a framework they can apply to their teaching methods. By removing their fear of the unknown, Pile allowed teachers to become excited about new filmmaking curriculums, allowing their exuberance to transfer to their students. By encouraging teachers to film one-minute films on their phones, Pile showed teachers just how accessible filmmaking is.
Pile also illustrates that filmmaking should be treated like literacy, incorporating both film watching alongside the more practical media skills. Young people are very comfortable around technology and may find themselves using their mobile phones to film themselves and their friends in social settings. By illustrating how certain filmmakers frame shots during film watching lessons, students will be able to incorporate that in their personal future projects.
Filmmaking and film literacy activities, like watching, are also effective tools to be incorporated in classrooms alongside more traditional curriculums. Pile likes to use film techniques when discussing adaptation. Many popular books and literary series taught in schools at different levels have been adapted for television or cinema. By pairing filmic adaptations with their source material in classes, students are able to visualise what they’ve been reading as well as understanding that filmmaking is a process that begins with the conception of a story. Encouraging students to also seek out and read the books that inspired their favourite films is a wonderful way of ensuring they view media, both traditional and new, from an refined standpoint.
Incorporating filmmaking and film watching into school curriculums also helps students understand digital literacy. With the constant evolution of technology, young professionals are required to have a deeper understanding of technology and digital platforms than ever before. Introducing students to digital learning and appreciation at younger ages will only benefit them in the long run, encouraging then to understand the technology that surrounds us all.
Filmmaking is an inclusive and creative endeavour that promotes teamwork and collaboration. Taking advantage of VLEs and other online platforms helps benefit students and teachers by allowing access to research materials and filmmaking tips as well as providing an environment for students to share their films outside of the classroom, particularly outside of term-time. Filmmaking only helps add richness to traditional curriculums and by establishing balance between traditional and contemporary methods of learning, teachers will help prepare students for the expansive world of technology available to us all.