poster-for-real-words-1I teach the English Teaching Methods unit, and I’m a huge advocate for strengthening the digital literacy skills and actions of preservice teachers prior to their entry to the profession. A report released earlier this year was very critical of teacher education in Australian universities. But in reality, some of the report findings were ill-founded and to simply say teacher educators are not preparing new teachers adequately falls well short of giving a comprehensive picture of what is occurring. Initiatives like the Real Words Film Festival show that there are innovative and creative ways to help preservice teachers come to grips with the demands of digital literacy for the classroom.

Adding film to the curriculum

I was inspired by the UTS Power of Screen Presenting workshop that I completed, and used the three minute video produced from that to enter the British Councils FameLab competition – in which I was lucky enough to gain a place as a finalist. Having learnt a little about producing videos from this process, I was then able to structure my subject outline for the Autumn unit to include script writing and film production based on content in readings from weeks 4-7 and techniques used in the Power of Screen Presenting workshop. All of this activity coincided with the advertising of the Vice-Chancellor’s Learning and Teaching grants – so I applied and was successful. The video/screencast grant funds have been used to support the creation of the Real Words blog that will host the films for the festival – thanks also to Ariane Skapetis, Matilda Fay and Ollie Coady for their support. The blog will be iterative with plans for it to expand with preservice teacher created content from other curriculum units in School of Education programs.

The Real Words blog.

The festival

The festival runs from 19-21 June in Building 10 on Level 2 from 11am-2pm. Film titles include: Wide Reading, The Three Myths of Creativity and The Potential of Digital Storytelling to name just a few.

Come along next week – look for the blue phone booth opposite Cafe 10. You will be able to stand inside the booth to watch one of the films or you can check out the big screen which will run the films on a continuous loop. English Teaching Methods 3 preservice teachers will be on hand each day to answer your questions and you can even vote for your favourite film – why not drop by, grab a bag of popcorn and a delicious choc top! All free! What an opportunity – you’d be mad to miss it.

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