Digital Cinema Students Teach Mobile Filmmaking for Southern Oregon K12 Teachers

Learners became teachers last fall, as Digital Cinema grad Andy Neal and current Digital Cinema students Karl Sorenson and PJ Doolin taught a media production workshop in smartphone storytelling for K-12 educators in Southern Oregon.

Man at podium narrates slide presentation on Smartphone Filmmaking Production for audience.
Andy Neal presents mobile filmmaking concepts for local K12 teachers at the Ashland Independent Film Festival’s storefront community center in Ashland

The training also showcased the Communication, Media & Cinema program’s ongoing partnership with the Ashland Independent Film Festival, which organized and hosted the training at its storefront community center in downtown Ashland.

The idea of the “Teach the Teachers” seminar sprang partly from the input AIFF received from teachers themselves, who struggled with the challenge of helping their students bring short smartphone films to completion. Instead of directly teaching individual K-12 students how to use smartphones, AIFF hopes that more students will reap the benefit of learning from their classroom teacher, according to AIFF Educational Director Jana Carole.

“The instructors brought their own experiences into the workshop as relevant examples,” said Carole, “so the teachers were able to get even more out of the seminar. It was a lot of material to convey in just four hours, but these three instructors were able to make it all very accessible to teachers and were able to instill a lot of skills and confidence that the teachers took away with them.”

The instructors also spent a lot of time in the workshop on one-on-one coaching, giving the participants even more confidence in their smartphone skills, Carole added.

“My process was to give the teachers the resources and practice to feel comfortable in continuing to learn more about smartphone filmmaking on their own,” Neal said. “In my section, we went over the basics such as landscape and vertical video, stabilization, types of shots, lighting, audio, and where to find resources to continue learning. I then sent them out to create a short one-minute piece that was edited during the post-production phase of the workshop.”

Neal’s primary takeaway from this seminar was that teachers today want to meet the students where they’re at. It was encouraging for him to see teachers who are not necessarily technologically savvy ,but are wanting to learn everything they could so they could respond to the needs of their current students.

“Everyone wanted to have more time to work on their videos,” Sorenson said. “During our wrap-up, we talked about possibly making it a two-day course. Then, they can go and work on their storyboard, film it and then come back and edit what they filmed.”

Sorenson also noted how engaged they were and excited to learn from former and current students.

“It was very inspiring to work with educators who, really, came from all corners of K-12 education,” said Doolin. “They were all very passionate and excited to learn. It was easy to love every moment of teaching them. As Jana stated many times, teachers are the best students!”

Doolin is hoping that this will inspire more young students to submit to the AIFF Launch Program for young filmmakers, and also give kids the tools they need to be outstanding and creative.

Story by Kelli Albert, Community Manager for the Communication, Media & Cinema Program at Southern Oregon University.



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Comm, Media & Cinema @ Southern Oregon University

Comm, Media & Cinema @ Southern Oregon University

Earn BA/BS Degrees and Certificates in Communication Studies, Social Media & Public Engagement, or Digital Cinema @SOUAshland. #ThatIsSOU