By: Girish Gupta & Sandie Cheng
Run, hide, it’s coming! No, it’s not Godzilla—it’s another terrifying foe for all educators: the summer slide. It’s the notorious effect that rears its ugly head in the fall: the phenomenon of students losing learning during summer vacation. Recent studies have shown that reading skills decline heavily during the summer months, and it is very costly to reteach the forgotten materials in the new school year (Smith, 2012). Summer projects that provide students with a creative outlet and motivate them to actively acquire knowledge can go a long way in disrupting the process.
An example of one of the hundreds of videos we have in our library. Travis Grenier, a Project Ed creator, defines the word “activate” with examples from blockbuster hits!
Project Ed, part of Amplify’s digital curriculum division, is doing just this with a new initiative that puts students in the director’s chair. Project Ed hosts educational video contests that inspire students to create memorable short films that teach various K-12 subjects, such as vocabulary, science, and grammar. These contests give students a shot at winning scholarships and help create an open library of educational resources for teachers and eager learners.
Through Project Ed, any student can take on an educational challenge and create a short film around the chosen topic. Students can find a creative way to explain a concept, such as a vocabulary word or science topic, to a peer audience. To date, Project Ed has collected over 2000 submissions from across the US and Canada.
When students participate in Project Ed’s contests, they become part of a community of empowered creators to teach by doing, using core digital literacy skills. Young creators share tips and techniques in Project Ed’s community forum, they share constructive and positive feedback on their work and help each other develop creative skills.
And another great part of participating… Students can win real prizes, including scholarships up to $1500. That sure beats babysitting an annoying sibling or mowing lawns under the sun as a summer job. To select winners, Amplify’s curriculum team reviews all submissions to find the most engaging and effective film. These winning resources are then made available to teachers everywhere for free in the Project Ed Library and in Amplify’s curriculum Products.
The summer slide doesn’t have to be a daunting obstacle to overcome. Students can be the ones to promote ongoing learning by creating and sharing their own educational resources. Moreover, Project Ed provides a valuable and free resource for teachers to use once school starts up again in the fall.
Before the summer starts, you can suggest Project Ed to your students. There is ample opportunity for fun projects that you can showcase to your class throughout the school year. You can hold a contest of your own, and it will get them excited about returning to school, too.
To learn more about Project Ed, including examples of past contests, click here.
To learn more about Amplify here.
Girish Gupta is Associate Director of Social Learning at Amplify. In his work at Amplify, an educational technology company that re-imagines how teachers teach and students learn, Girish is helping design and develop new platforms and media that make learning unforgettable for K-12 students. He also leads Amplify’s open challenge initiative, Project Ed, which is focused on bridging the arts, technology and education.
Sandie Cheng is the Community Manager of Project Ed. She helps maintain the community and inspire creators everywhere to bring their individual voice in learning.