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Youth Digital Filmmaker Badge

Philadelphia Project Mastery (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grantee)

Philadelphia Project Mastery proposes a youth digital filmmaker badge that allows students to try on the role of director and produce short films from concept to final product. The principal domain of learning is digital filmmaker.  The primary skills involved include concept development, interviewing and storyboarding, scriptwriting, camera work, and editing.  This badge will accelerate the development of technology and writing skills for the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) students earning English/Language Arts (ELA) core credit in the Project Mastery Initiative.

Project Mastery, a newly implemented proficiency-based-pathways (PBP) project, is focused on helping Philadelphia students and educators transform their teaching and learning practices to those that are mastery-based and Common Core aligned. The SDP will work with its partner organization, The Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), to implement the youth digital filmmaker badge system. This badge initiative will effectively augment Philadelphia’s PBP project by diversifying the ways and locations in which students can demonstrate mastery of critical reading, writing, and communication skills via multiple options to publish and produce film media.

By earning the digital filmmaker badge, a student will have demonstrated mastery of both narrative and documentary film media.  To earn this “master” level badge, a student will have to earn a series of smaller badges denoting mastery in both narrative and documentary areas of filmmaking. Badge levels and the skills validated at each level are listed in the following chart.

These skills focus on filmmaking technologies embedded in the production of multimedia projects that are authentic artifacts of student learning and mastery. SDP and PYN learning platforms will support students using online collaboration and social networking tools to facilitate peer review, revision, and editing, thereby providing students with an audience to try out their digital voices. A digital filmmaker badge may be issued by the SDP school or PYN Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) community-based organizations to students that move along the pathway described in the above badging system.

The badge pilot would involve working with ninth and tenth graders to develop their identities as digital filmmakers. ELA teachers and community-based organization staff, serving as formal ELO partners, will participate in professional development. SDP Educational Technology staff will provide professional development on iMovie or Movie Maker. Students will be trained by staff on both movie-making programs.

This proposed badge initiative would allow us to enhance our current performance-based assessment design work.  Helping students learn and master digital filmmaker skills allows for the expansion of choices to include film-based capstone projects that embed rigorous technology, research, and writing skills and that push students to master the following Common Core Standards:

Production and Distribution of Writing

  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.
  • Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link information flexibly and dynamically.

A digital filmmaking curriculum developed as part of a larger SDP digital media program will serve as the foundation for this badge; its scope encompasses multiple content areas and resources for differentiating instruction. The badge program will be structured following the Curriculum for Digital Media Creation: Sixteen Lessons from Storyboarding to Producing a Documentary. The full curriculum aligned to the Common Core Standards described may be viewed in the following wiki link:

The teachers and PYN providers will use the PA Writing Framework, and the PA Computer Fair Digital Movie scoring guidelines to assess the competencies identified in the films produced.  The guidelines define proficiency with regard to design and storyboard, technical elements, film content, flow, and appearance.

The badge will appear on both PYN’s and SDP’s websites.  An explanation of the skills represented by the badge will be available for public view in addition to a summary description of the pilot model and process for attaining/conferring a badge. As they are awarded, students would be encouraged to feature their badges in various e-locations including their SDP and PYN managed portfolios.

WHYY, Inc., Greater Philadelphia's leading public media provider will serve as the validating entity for the youth digital filmmaker badge.  Craig Santoro, Director of Media Instruction, and Susan Poglinco, ED of Educational Programs, at WHYY have agreed to collaborate on the badges project by reviewing and advising on assessment rubrics, viewing and commenting on selections of student work, and attending professional development sessions with SDP teachers and PYN staff.  WHYY’s advisement and expertise in the development of assessment tools and critique of student product will ensure that our badge has validity and meaning to field experts, project staff, and youth.  

PYN in its workforce intermediary role will provide identification, resourcing, messaging, and branding to local corporate and education community partners. We are hopeful that we will be able to build a rich digital media ecosystem of badges within our public schools and youth workforce system that is recognized, valued, and understood by teachers, youth, community-based partners, and industry professionals.  


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