In the second stage of the "I Am What I Learn" video contest from the federal Education Department (ED), 10 student videos have been chosen as national finalists–and ED is asking the public to help it pick the winners.

Since September, hundreds of students from across the country have responded to President Obama’s call to take greater responsibility for their education by creating videos explaining why education is important to their future. (See "ED announces student video contest.") Department officials say they received more than 600 video entries to the contest, which ED is hosting along with YouTube.

In their entries, students talked about their personal goals and the role education plays in meeting these goals. The submissions came from students of diverse economic, social, and ethnic backgrounds, and the content ranged from music videos to short skits. The common theme in all of these videos, ED says, is that education is the key to students’ success.
 
"We’re very excited about the tremendous participation and extraordinary creativity that our video contest has received," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. "I want to thank these students for sharing their stories and for being leaders in spreading this important message."

The 10 finalists’ videos, available here, were narrowed down based on the students’ creativity, strength and originality of content, and ability to inspire.
 
One video focuses on a young girl’s love for chickens. From her home, this student shows how all subjects contribute to her raising chickens. For example, she says science allows her to use an incubator to raise chicks; math helps her calculate how many antibiotics to put in the water, and language arts allows her to understand important vocabulary related to raising chickens.

Click below to watch her video on eSN.TV

doecontest1

"When I grow up, I want to be a chicken," she says. "No, wait–I want to raise chickens, and school is going to help me to fulfill that goal. I can be a vet, a teacher, an ornithologist, or even Queen of the Chickens!"

The entire video is set to the "Chicken Dance" music.

In another video, Kevin Phu uses hip hop and digital graphics to tell viewers about his dreams of joining the Navy and having a successful career.

Click below to watch his video on eSN.TV

doecontest3

Phu uses sound bits of Obama’s Sept. 8 speech to students to show that he is listening to the message: You have to work hard to become successful. Without a good education, you run the risk of falling short of your goals in life.

Only when Phu finishes his message does his image–which has been on the screen in black and white throughout the video–turn to color, like the images of his dreams.

While both of these videos feature their creator, one video chooses to focus solely on the creator’s chalkboard animations to tell her story.

 

 

Click below to watch her video on eSN.TV 

doecontest2

Through animated images that juxtapose old ways of teaching (on a chalkboard) with new ways of learning (digital animation), the narrator describes how her education is helping her to become a global citizen.

By having a dual heritage, the narrator says she has learned about tolerance; by learning Spanish, she hopes to interact with more cultures; and by learning science, she hopes to learn more about her environment and how to help it.

Twenty-first century standards "have helped me learn who I am," she says, " and I am what I learn."

These videos and seven others are available through the "I Am What I Learn" channel on YouTube.
 
Voting to determine the three winning videos runs through Dec. 4. The three finalists whose videos receive the most votes by that date each will win a $1,000 prize issued by ED.
 
Already, the submissions and stories from students across the country have inspired two other fans of education: Shane Battier of the Houston Rockets and Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle. Both wanted to share their stories about the role education plays in their own lives. Watch here and here.

Links:

U.S. Department of Education

Video finalists on YouTube

Note to readers:

Don’t forget to visit the Successful Video Production resource center. Knowing how to produce, edit, and distribute video gives high school and college graduates a valuable and much-in-demand skill. Go to: Successful Video Production


Add your opinion to the discussion.