Lights, Camera, Education!

I had a chance to attend an event at the American Film Institute in Hollywood. It was the launch party for their program Lights, Camera, Education! I’ve been really fortunate to be part of a partnership of training with AFI in the summertimes. Their Screen Education program is a great way to bring filmmaking skills to the classroom. In my time at the Los Angeles County Office of Education, our Multimedia Services Division (led by the wonderful Julie Drake) partnered with AFI to create the Digital Multimedia Workshop. We utilized the Screen Education curriculum and would train at least 60 educators each summer of filmmaking skills and integration strategies to help enhance the curriculum.

Our partnership was just a small part of what Frank Guttler, Mitch Aiken, and Bob Jennings do at AFI. Their Screen Ed program has been used coast to coast across America. And now, they’re bringing it to more people. In this partnership with, they have created a series of short videos that really represent the Screen Ed curriculum. Although nothing beats a well-done face-to-face, hands-on training, logistically, it’s hard to train huge groups of people. By working with, AFI is spreading the word to thousands of educators.

The videos are hosted by Sean Astin (of hobbit, Rudy, and 50 First Dates fame) and features great tips, advice, pertinent information for all educators interested in boosting visual literacy and problem solving with video in education. The quotes from the kids at I-Poly High School in Pomona are especially thought-provoking because they come from the mouths of real students who have gone through the program.

If you’re a user, look for these videos. They’re awesome!

One of the cool thrills was meeting Sean Astin at the event. I’m not much of a star-watcher, but I had to admit that it was pretty neat shaking his hand and getting introduced as a “stellar educator” by Frank and Mitch.

Kudos to AFI and the program!

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