Students Exhibit Product of their Project Based Learning Program

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Mine has been hectic moments for the last few days. Now I have some breathing space to share a few developments involving 24 learners of PMM Girls School involved in a purposeful media creation program that aims at giving a voice to express that which they feel and think about as a way of being change agents in their communities and the world. The program is called Adobe Youth Voices. One of the key features in the purposeful media making process is to reach out to their target audiences to exhibit their media and share learning experiences. PMM Girls’ School’s Adobe Youth Voice learners have always found themselves very much welcome at the Rotary Club of Jinja, where they have now appeared over five times with their media projects addressing different issues.

Here, I am glad to share with you a report of another exhibition by the new lot of Adobe Youth Voices learners of PMM Girls’ School.

In the evening of 26th February 2014, twenty four learners of the program who were involved in creating a media skit, Wrath of a Stepmother, traveled the short distance from the school to Crested Crane Hotel where Rotary Club of Jinja meets for fellowship every Wednesday.

Youtube link to “Wrath of a Step Mother http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZmm2SSMxmk

In their company was the new head teacher of the school, Mrs. Epenu Immaculate, who desired to experience for herself the things that learners of Adobe Youth Voices do.

Two of the learners, Akwero Vivian (the camera girl, editor) and Kirigwajjo Salama (actress) were the presenters of the exhibition. They first highlighted some of the major problems young people are facing and outlined the key ones raised in the skit, Wrath of a Stepmother: Child labour, discrimination of teenagers living with HIV, inability concentrate in school because of domestic hardships, and so on. They outlined their target audience as being stepmothers, step daughters and teachers.

Youtube link to reflections of the youths involved in the making of “Wrath of a Stepmother” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT5jJLHo4-0

The presenters explained that their main aim in creating the media skit was to raise awareness of the challenges young people are facing in the hands of their stepmothers and try to effect positive change.

They took time to give an account of the media making process, right from inception through production stages to exhibition and feedback from audience. The media had already been exhibited at two other occasions at school and at a Red Cross Youth Camp.

“Wrath of a Stepmother” features a teenage girl, Stella who is subjected to mistreatment by her stepmother and her daughter, Princess. Stella’s life at school and home gets adversely affected until her teacher decides she has to intervene. The teacher introduces Stella to a counselor who offers to talk to the stepmother. After some persuasion, the stepmother agrees to change her ways of treating Stella. The stepmother however needed more effort to bring her daughter, Princes to see things in a new light regarding Stella. Eventually Princes accepts Stella as a sister. She is forgiven by Stella and the two reconcile.

It wasn't all roses for the learners while making the media. They said that they faced challenges including lack of adequate time, the need to devote lots of time and effort in editing the media, lack of cohesion in decision making as a team, weather interference especially during on location video shooting, and the fear of facing a large audience in the previous exhibitions. They however said through persistence and patience, they have been able to overcome many of the challenges.

Youtube link to a brief video report of an earlier exhibition of “Wrath of a Stepmother” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQb55WySZ1k

They said the media project has made them learn new skills like editing of media and learning to create power point presentations. They have further developed communication skills and presentation skills; it has boosted their self-confidence and made them to discover new talents like acting. They said that it has also taught them to learn to focus on doing something important with less distraction from other things like entertainment and spending time chatting on the social media network, facebook.com

They pointed out that their knowledge and skills in media editing would eventually be used in another ongoing project of creating digital content in Biology – Dissection of a rat – in collaboration with the Senior Six biology class of PMM Girls School.

Youtube view of Rough cut of “Dissection of a Rat” by PMM Girls’ School students http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0wgioEoHcc

They said that they were looking further to sharing their media and its message with other audiences locally and internationally. Akwero Vivian said that she submitted a proposal to present her learning experiences in the media project for the fourth coming elearning conference due to take place in Kampala in May 2014. She said she was still waiting to see if her submission would be accepted by the conference organizers.

Website link to ELearning Africa 2014 http://www.elearning-africa.com/

Before showcasing the skit, the presenters outlined three guide questions for audience feedback:

  1. What have you learnt from the media?
  2. What have you liked about the media?
  3. How do you think we could have improved the media further?

Several Rotarians stood up to give their views about the skit. Several of them offered tips on how the girls could further improve their media: one of them suggested making more background information about some character roles like that of the counselor. Another suggested giving more depth to the character of the teacher in order to make her more convincing in expressing the concerns of Stella. Another Rotarian suggested finding a way of making the media shorter. At the end of the session, the two presenters were awarded certificates of appreciation, “in recognition of her informative address to the fellowship of the Rotary Club of Jinja…” the certificate read in part.

All the students were particularly thrilled to have their head teacher in their midst during the exhibition. She did share lots of things with the students, right after the exhibition. Going by what the students revealed to me thereafter, they had very fruitful talks on the head teacher’s full support for their program.

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