Teaching through Contests

Students need authenticity. It is not enough for their teachers to tell them to turn a project in for a grade. They need an audience and a reason. Finding local, regional, state, national, and even global competitions allow an audience for your students to present to. What’s more is there are some pretty cool awards too!

This year I had students create a video for the Teen Dream Competition. Students were required to create a video that could be entered into this competition. (Though they were not required to enter). Students wrote a message, storyboarded ideas, directed, and acted in their video and edited and produced their finished videos. After turning the video in to me, and viewing their classmate’s videos they still had a month before the competition deadline to edit and redefine their videos before the official competition deadline. For a list of some other video competitions, see this website.

72 students created videos.  (all but one student, and I’m hoping she will turn hers in late) Here’s a compilation video of snippets of most of their videos:

18 planned to enter the competition.

5 students actually entered. Why such a low turnout? I think they were afraid of not winning. Next year I am going to make it about sharing the message more than actually the competition. Many of their dreams need to be shared as the messages are so important.  (Here are 4 of the student videos below):



Categories: Pedagogy

1 reply


  1. School Film Fest – edTech unZipped

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