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Apr 27 2011 - 01:09 AM
Obama's Race to the Top Commencement Challenge and HTHI!

Checking in to share some exciting news (and ask the EdLab/TC community for some help--see below): my students here in San Diego at High Tech High International have been recognized as finalists in the Whitehouse's 'Race to the Top Commencement Chalenge' and I'd appreciate your help by viewing the final videos and rating them! The Commencement Challenge, which asks students to highlight their schools efforts to lead as a 21st century school, began about 3 weeks ago when HTHI's students submitted their 2 minute contest entry, along with a series of essays, compiled and completed by a team of over 25 students. While this has been called a 'video contest' the collaboration and negotiation skills students displayed as they led themselves through pre-production meetings and essay writing sessions exemplified many of the grant-writing and collaborative production skills really needed in the 21st century--at least based on my experiences in Non-Profits. A week after submitting their video, our school was contacted by the Whitehouse, and instructions for the next phase of the challenge were shared: a producer from Viacom/MTV would be sent to each campus, along with a university mentor, and access to an editing station (in this case, I believe it was a Macbook Pro with Final Cut). To drum up excitement and drama, and probably to establish a more level playing field, each school was allowed 22 (monitored) hours to complete their second video: 10 hours to shoot, 2 hours to log video, and 10 hours to edit to a final cut. A quick review and notes for final edits were returned from Viacom and the videos were submitted to the Whitehouse website just 36 hours after production began. The results are fantastic. I encourage (beg!) you to view the videos--and please be sure to 'rate' them from 1-5 on each page. Here is some more info about the rating criteria and terms. A complete vote requires rating all 6 videos, so you may need about 20 minutes to view the whole collection. I promise it's worth it! It's inspiring to see what students can dream up and create with the excitement and imagination these videos reflect. I hope we'll be able to welcome President Obama to our commencement in June, but either way to be recognized as a finalist is amazing recognition--one which I believe my students deserve. My greatest pride in their video is that I never pressed record once, I didn't log a second of video, make a cut, revise a scene, or provide an audio track. Besides entrusting them with some equipment, space to hold meetings and the net learning from our collaborative discoveries in my class, this video was all their ingenuity--and positive mindset that they were going to produce the best video they possibly could. It will be interesting to see who the public picks as the 21st century school--and regardless of who wins it has been fascinating to watch this 21st century challenge unfold in it's own hyper-connected, multi-modal, 21st century way: the facebook promotional page, replete with trailer video and updates, coverage from local news, email blasts...and...now...me blogging about it. View the Commencement Challenge Videos and please be sure to rate all 6! Thanks for your support!
Posted in: FYITrends in Ed|By: Doug Beacom|7235 Reads