Local Students' "Go Green" Films Premier at USF Nov. 5

TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 24, 2008) – A group of 64 sixth graders from Learning Gate Community School, a charter school in Lutz, got an early start on college when they studied an important aspect of filmmaking at the University of South Florida this fall. Their work will culminate in a premier of twelve short films Nov. 5 at the USF Marshall Student Center from 9:30 a.m. to noon. All of the films promote environmental awareness and responsibility taking a variety of approaches, some focused on recycling, some on pollution and other related topics.

James Welsh, from USF’s Florida Center for Instructional Technology, and Jenifer Schneider, associate professor of literacy studies have been collaborating with the students’ teachers Allison Papke, Reg Reese, and Holly Whelan Wednesdays for the past six weeks at USF’s College of Education in the Laptop Lounge. The students split up into teams and met with USF elementary education majors, who helped them learn to compose through filmmaking. The undergraduate students are enrolled in Schneider’s course “Teaching Writing in the Elementary Classroom.”

Welsh and Schneider have conducted several successful summer filmmaking workshops for children at the Tampa Theater. Schneider’s research team at USF has been investigating “new media literacies” and the Learning Gate on-campus collaboration is the latest in several studies on media composing that have involved undergraduates and elementary school students. According to Schneider, “It’s the composing process that is being taught and learned here. Undergraduates also benefit from actually teaching these approaches to real, live kids.”

During their classes at USF Papke, Reese, and Whelan circulated and offered teaching tips to the undergraduates while checking in with their own sixth grade students. According to Welsh, “One of the lessons we’ve learned from the Let’s Make Movies camps is the importance of personal ownership at all levels of the moviemaking teaching and learning process. So, the kids need to control the creation of their own movies.”

Likewise, the undergraduates gained experience through the teaching situations that grew out of supervising the small groups’ working process.

At Learning Gate, the teachers are planning their own premier when the movies will be shown as part of their school-wide “Go Green” themed celebration.

The USF College of Education is ranked 45th by U.S. News & World Report of graduate schools in the country, is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and is fully approved by the Florida Department of Education. The USF College of Education is the seventh largest public college of education in the nation. For more information on the USF College of Education, visit: http://www.coedu.usf.edu/main/ or itunes.usf.edu.

The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

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