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Hit the lights! CAMPUS offers curated educational materials for the digital era

Education

This week marks the launch of the NFB’s CAMPUS campaign. For those of you who are not familiar with it, CAMPUS is the NFB’s educational online streaming service. It provides access to more than 3000 productions―with over 700 titles exclusive to CAMPUS.

Learning, growth, and creativity in the classroom

Every now and then I find myself missing school and the parameters it offered me. Yes, there were the  parameters of the social and extracurricular world, with its athletes, drama geeks, those who played hacky sack every spare moment, the student council members, AV club, and many other clubs whose modus operandi sometimes eluded me. But beyond that, I am speaking about academic parameters. There was a structure in place. We had grades. There was a curriculum, lessons and testing.

Now, leaving aside a discussion about the pedagogical merits and evolution of the above, I would like to speak to the most universal classroom  experience: teacher assigns a task, student completes the assignment. This very basic exchange is perhaps what I miss the most. It was the structure this process afforded that most encouraged my creativity and allowed me to grow.

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Focused teaching and guided creativity

Consider the following example for a moment. When you ask a child to draw you something, they will often reply: “But what should I draw?” Conversely, ask a child to draw you their dream home, a family portrait, a monster or a magical planet. In most cases, they will happily oblige and produce some zany masterpiece.

The same is true of research projects or essays. Think of what the following assignment might yield: “Examine the cultural identity of First Nations people living in non-Aboriginal communities,” in contrast to the vague directive: “First Nations People.” The first is focused, and sets the framework for some detailed findings, whereas the second is expansive and possibly overwhelming.

Educational materials in the digital era

In this digital world, the majority of students in Canada have access to vast amounts of information— in many cases, right in the palm of their hand. To argue that this is not empowering would be foolish and false, but it does place greater responsibility on the educator to provide filters and parameters that help guide the student in navigating today’s barrage of information. This is why we emphasize the importance of strong, curated educational materials.

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CAMPUS: carefully curated curricula

On the CAMPUS platform, educators are given advanced browsing privileges and the ability to search AV materials by curriculum subject area and age level. In addition, users have the ability to create shareable playlists composed of their own film selections and film excerpts using the site’s chaptering tool. This provides for exactly the type of focused and guided learning that has been shown to be so successful.

Educators can further customize their playlists by adding comments and discussion questions as well as providing links to external material. With the site also offering a plethora of educator guides and curated “learning bundles,” it isn’t difficult to see how CAMPUS has become a leader in digital educational content.

 Quality content for the classroom and beyond

The multitude of tools available to educators on CAMPUS has simplified the process of providing context or creating a framework. Teachers can take comfort in knowing that all of the content appearing on the site has been carefully selected by a team of experts and education consultants, not to mention that it is founded on the trusted reputation of the National Film Board.

Oh and did I mention that millions of Canadians already have access to CAMPUS but don’t know it? Your ministry of education or school board may have already purchased a subscription for you. Please click on the following links to check if your organization already has a subscription or to purchase a subscription for yourself or your school.

So with no immediate plans to return to school any time soon, and as the Community Manager for CAMPUS and the education team, I am more than pleased to help you navigate and find your parameters. What tools do you find most helpful when incorporating digital media as an educational resource? What would you like to see more of? In other words, what can I draw for you?

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