When I first started this film project with the intention of submitting it to the White House Student Film Festival, I wasn’t completely sure how to go about it. In order to fit the film festival’s criteria I had the option of showing either how technology is currently used in education or how it could be used in the future. My interest in visual effects is what initially motivated me to create a futuristic film, but I as I started to plan it out, I realized that there would need to be a whole lot more to it than just effects. Through this film, I wanted to show people how the classroom dynamic might actually change in the future.
The greatest challenge in making this film was the initial brainstorming process which required me to deeply contemplate what education might look like in the future. (It’s not as easy as it might seem.) I spent a lot of time talking to Josh Weisgrau and BC about how technology is changing the classroom now and how it might improve it in the years to come. I also had a chance to speak with Dr. Al Filreis, a humanities professor at Penn, who visited FCS as our Distinguished Humanities Lecturer in December. Ultimately, the conclusion was reached that future technology can’t just make what we already do better, it should improve the fundamental structure of the classroom, changing the role of the teacher and the students.
In this film, I decided to replace standard testing with a conceptual example of Objective-Based Learning. This allows students to work independently (with a teacher ready to assist), go at their own pace, and always be motivated to achieve the next objective (which, in this case, comes in the form of a virtual badge). It is an idea that may need a little tweaking, but I think it offers significant improvements to the testing system we use today.
A majority of this project was filmed during the week before winter break, after school and during STEAM. The editing process lasted from the start of winter break until the last week of January, when I uploaded the final version to YouTube. While I would have loved to spend more time on the film, I’m happy with how it turned out. I hope people enjoy watching it and get some new ideas for how education should change in the future.