This month we interviewed the winners of Trend Micro’s What’s Your Story Contest and Mike Scafati, a film teacher at Meadowbrook and leader of the school’s K-8 digital citizenship program.
“We’re really proud of these young filmmakers and the responsibilities they show as good digital citizens,” said Mike Scafati, a film teacher at Meadowbrook and leader of the school’s K-8 digital citizenship program. “Leighton and Evan impressively combined their creative filmmaking skills with their experiences online trying to discern what’s real and what’s fake. It’s nice that Trend Micro’s Internet Safety for Kids and Families has provided this great platform for students from all over the country to practice their digital citizenship in an authentic and helpful way.” Mike describes the comprehensive k-8 Digital Citizenship Program at The Meadowbrook School, designed to help their students be smart, safe, and kind online. He explains “Our digital citizenship curriculum covers topics including safety, security, digital footprints, cyberbullying, and copyright/creative work. We built and adapted much of the the curriculum off of Common Sense Media, but put our own Meadowbrook touch on it. Our program builds year after year, so we’re always exploring media literacy with our students to empower them to be powerful and savvy technology users. We are also a Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Certified School and as the leader of the program, I am a Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Ambassador. I’ve had the opportunity to present on digital citizenship at national and regional technology and education conferences.”
NAMLE had the opportunity to interview some of the winners and ask them a few questions about their films.
Evan Deede and Leighton Calhoun from The Meadowbrook School of Weston, were one two of the lucky grand prize winners for their film “Real of Fake? Use the Voices in your head”. Watch their film by clicking below.
NAMLE: How did you find out about the What’s Your Story? Contest and why did you decide to enter the contest?
We found about the contest in our film class at school (The Meadowbrook School of Weston, MA). We entered the contest because we thought it would be a fun challenge and a great opportunity to maybe win some money for our school’s film department.
NAMLE: Why did you decide to answer this year’s question in the way that you did? Where did you look for inspiration?
A lot of people get fooled by these types of online scams and they get hacked, get their identities stolen, or get taken for money. It’s almost happened to us before too. We actually learn about this stuff in school in Digital Citizenship classes so we feel like we understand the risks of scams and can identify fake sites. It is important to be able to tell the difference between what’s real to what’s fake because there are many programs on the internet that could steal your personal information or hack into your computer. If you can tell what is real or fake, none of that will happen and the world will be a happier, safer place.
NAMLE: Did anyone else help you with your video?
We worked on it in film class and brainstormed some ideas with our teachers before we started. Once we started making the movie, we did it ourselves – writing the script, filming our shots, and editing our clips – with a little help along the way from our teachers. It was the first time we used the green screen for chroma-keying, which was cool learn how to do.
NAMLE: What advice would you give to future contestants of the What’s Your Story? Contest?
Think of a unique idea with a good message before you film and write a script. Also practice good digital citizenship. Don’t be hypocritical by using copyrighted materials because the contest is trying to promote good digital citizenship habits.
NAMLE: How do you think your film helps others? I think it helped with media literacy skills because if people watch this video, they will hopefully take away the fact that everything is not true online. It raises awareness and gives you a baseline of how to check for fraud and they could use this information to improve their media literacy skills.
NAMLE: What was your reaction to hearing you won?
It feels amazing to win. It makes me feel good to know that I am helping the school and helping to raise awareness about digital citizenship issues.
Baylee Tran won the Catfish Edition with her film “How to Spot Fake News”. Watch the film by clicking on the image below.
NAMLE: What was your process in answering the key question?
It took me a few days to think about the different ways to answer the key question. I first brainstormed the different ideas (catfishing, scams, receiving fake news, etc), then when I came to the conclusion that cat-fishing was one of the best idea that would be the most relatable to today’s youthdue to all the communications that are being made online between the person behind the screen and a total stranger, I went ahead with it.
NAMLE How did you come up with the idea for your video?
I wanted my video to be unique and original, so I made the cast into different animals. I was inspired from an animated show called Bojack Horseman, where a lonely horse is constantly looking for redemption and love. In order to convey the key message, I set it up in such a way that the horse in the video found a new love interest through a horse dating site (which is nowadays comparable to Tinder, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram,etc), and when he invited the other horse over, they turned out to be a pigeon. When the horse was face-to-face with the pigeon, he was so embarrassed that he made a precaution video regarding meeting strangers on the internet.
NAMLE: How would you sum up the message in the video?
The message in my video would be to take precaution before trusting strangers on the internet with your personal information. Some of the precautions that people can take are; searching up the stranger on different social medias site, look through their friends circle to ensure that they are actual people, meet in a public setting if you are meeting up, and to do some research on the person that you are talking to.
NAMLE What was your reaction to hearing you won?
When I received the news that I won, I was extremely shocked and happy. I was utter disbelief and it took me a few hours to let the news sink in, after that I had to refrain myself from emailing a thousand thank you’s back to the sender.
NAMLE How do you usually discuss media literacy at your school?
At school, media literacy is something that I discuss through arts, films, presentations, and books. I express it through many different classes in school. For example, I create many pieces of art in school that would discuss the current events of the world and that would express my own opinion and feelings, present different powerpoint in many of my classes in order to convey information to my classmates, and making expressive films in communicative tech class.