This past month, over 100 media-savy educators attended the first Bay Area Media Innovators in Education event in San Francisco. The event was co-hosted by ITVS, KQED, BAVC, and the San Francisco Film Society.
At a time when school budgets are tight, it is rare for teachers to get treated to wine, gourmet treats, and free media content. But ITVS and four other leading Bay Area media organizations decided they deserved some pampering and inspiration. This past month, over 100 media savvy educators attended the first Bay Area Media Innovators in Education event at the Lab art space, co-hosted by ITVS, KQED, BAVC and the San Francisco Film Society. The event was a showcase for educational resources from each organization, and featured a panel discussion with four teachers who are using media creatively to engage their students.
Joanne Parsont, Director of Education at SFFS, moderated a panel featuring kindergarten teacher Liza Mathews who won the PBS Teachers Innovation award; Elizabeth Jackson, a 4th grade teacher at Bacich Elementary School; David Maduli, a 9th grade English teacher at Oakland Charter School; and Toby Rugger, a teacher at Oakland International High School.
The panelists discussed how they overcame technical and administrative hurdles at their schools to integrate media and media literacy into their curriculum. They talked about harnessing the omnipresent technology in students' lives to create meaning within a cluttered media landscape, and to provoke dialogue in new and interesting ways. As one audience member put it, teachers must stay current with new media tools or run the risk of losing relevance.
David Maduli, who uses ITVS Community Classroom film modules and lesson plans with his students, says he feels an obligation as a teacher interested in promoting social justice to also promote media literacy — both in terms of fostering critical thinking skills and thoughtful media making. Teachers listened in rapt attention and circulated gathering resources, and also networked with one another.
The consensus in the room was that the conversations were inspiring, and that this group should stay connected and plan similar events in the future. The next day, Jessica Hadid from Oakland wrote: "I just want to let you know how inspired and invigorated I felt having attended your mixer in the Mission last night. It was a great success, and I very much look forward to any subsequent meetings we can scrape together. As a brand new teacher who recently visited Palestine and Israel, I came home last night with many ideas on how to facilitate meaningful communication amongst this conflict-torn region's school population, as well as ways these students might be taught to empower themselves and bolden their voices with use of film, imagery, etc. Thank you so much for a wonderful evening!"
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