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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Investing in education

“If we want to win the future - if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas - then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.”

President Barack Obama, State of the Union address, January 25, 2011

Last Tuesday evening, President Obama highlighted education as one of the most critical elements in the economic recovery of America. He called it a “Sputnik” moment in education reform and innovation - except instead of competing against Russia to get to space, the country is competing technologically and economically against Asia, particularly China and India. Essentially, the education “arms race” is on.  As he put it, “the question is whether all of us - as citizens, and as parents - are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.”

Education reform will take many forms. More teachers, more respect for the teaching profession, more teacher training, more school funding, and new teaching methods with modern tools. Obama pointed out that “people need to be able to train for new jobs and careers in today’s fast-changing economy”. It’s not good enough equipping them with what their parents needed to know, and that means having access to modern technology that fits with the way things work now.

Moviestorm is proud to be able to support this initiative, not just in the USA, but worldwide. Video is becoming an increasingly important part of people’s lives, and the ability to create and communicate through video will be critical in the coming years. Producing coursework with video as well as text allows students to add extra depth to their understanding of a subject, and using video as a teaching tool can be more effective than text in some cases. As one teacher told us, “This product can solve so many of our problems and I can see many applications where it would be useful to us.”

Video-based education can be used at all levels, from young children to university age, and in a variety of contexts.  While the most obvious use is in media-based courses, educators themselves are quick to point out many other uses for video tools. At BETT in London two weeks ago, we heard many and varied examples from teachers including planning rescue and emergency procedures, a character generator for police photo-fits, stage and lighting design for drama groups, storyboarding for drama, language teaching, and working with disadvantaged/ disabled children and children with learning difficulties such as Asperger’s Syndrome. “The more I play with it, the more ways I can see to use it, and the more places I realise it would fit with what I’m teaching,” says James Martin from the University of North Texas.

Clearly budgetary constraints are something educators need to worry about. Software-based solutions like Moviestorm offer an affordable way forward.  It’s much cheaper than having to equip students with cameras, lights, editing suites and studio space.  “This provides students with a great opportunity to write, direct and create films they couldn’t normally do on a student budget,” notes James Martin. And, as part of our commitment to education, we offer Moviestorm to educational institutions at a significant discount.

In his address, the President outlined Race to the Top as a way to stimulate educational reform. “When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance.To all 50 states, we said, “If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we’ll show you the money.”  If we raise expectations for every child, and give them the best possible chance at an education, from the day they are born until the last job they take—we will reach the goal that I set two years ago: By the end of the decade, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.”

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

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