Private Sector Education Efforts

In a stack of papers called Connections.

  • Mar
  • 03
  • 2006

I’m excited about the chance to expose my students to documentaries and to teach about film. Young Minds Inspired (YMI) and the the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are making it easier to bring elements of film making into the classroom.

A friend handed me a packet of material from YMI designed to introduce documentaries and general film literacy to high school students. The useful stuff was accompanied by a much-bigger-than-necessary poster advertising the Academy Awards. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to say that, today, the poster finally completed its long journey to the trashcan. Rest in peace, my paper friend.

The rest of it, though, looks pretty golden and it sits on my coffee table: a DVD with selected segments from 10 documentaries and narrated by none other than Morgan Spurlock, a teacher’s guide explaining the unit and prescribed lessons, and 5 reproducibles, all gearing students up to understand documentaries more and, perhaps, putting them in a position to create one. That’s my biggest hope.

The other 6 parts in the series focus on other facets of film making. A knee-jerk recommendation is that you get your hands on the other parts. The YMI and Academy Web sites don’t seem to provide information for getting the hardcopies of the material. They provide electronic versions of the handouts, but I got a DVD with selected scenes and a narrator for this one. I want that for the other parts, too! The DVD receives no mention on the information page about the documentary packet, so if I didn’t have it in my hand, I wouldn’t even know it exists. Are there DVDs floating around for the other parts? I shot an email off to the contact person at YMI; let’s see what he says next week.

Of course, this comes on the weekend when I really have to buckle down with the grading, but I’ll likely scan through all this and see what it has to offer. My idea of students filming a documentary this semester might come to fruition. Why haven’t I heard of this before? I wish there was a way to stay on top of all the education-related efforts of companies in the private sector. Some of them are doing cool things and making our jobs easier. Thanks to all of them.

Do you have links to any of those cool things some companies are doing for educators? Post a comment and we’ll try to get a list so we know what’s out there for us.

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