The mission of`Olelo Community Media is "To strengthen our island voices and advance community engagement through innovative media.." Anyone can produce a video and share it on one of `Olelo's channels for free. When `Olelo opened a studio in Wahiawa at Leilehua High School, several of our teachers participated in their training and learned the basics of videotaping and editing. At first, we were interested in videotaping school events to show on one of `Olelo's channels, but today, these teachers are using what they learned in that class and teaching students how to create and produce videos to share their learning.
For ten years, `Olelo has sponsored a Youth XChange Video Competition. This competition started with a few entries and has been growing steadily since. I attended the awards ceremony last year and was amazed and impressed at how students shared their important messages in such diverse and creative ways. I witnessed how a thirty second video can leave an audience stunned into silence by its powerful message.
This year, there were 658 Youth XChange entries from students at all levels -- elementary, middle school, and high school - and for the first time since we began entering this competition, three of our Hale Kula entries were selected as finalists. What an accomplishment for our students and their teachers!
Producing a 30-second public service announcement or a short 3-5 minute video takes collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity, the 4C's of 21st Century teaching and learning. Producing a video which captures the message succinctly and creatively is not easy. I have observed disengaged students suddenly become excited learners when given the opportunity to participate in this project. It requires students to research about the issues they are interested in. Our students watched commercials and public service announcements and discussed the effectiveness of the message. They shared ideas and while they didn't always agree, students learned to listen and respect the ideas of others and to collaborate to complete their project.
This type of project can have a profound effect on a child. If we want an informed citizenry, we need to start with our youngsters and get them involved in thinking about issues which will impact them in the future. We need them to ask questions and to share their concerns with others, and we need to hear their voices because they have important things to say.
I urge you to check out the Youth XChange videos; I am quite sure you will be impressed. Finally, I would like to thank `Olelo for giving our youth an opportunity to express themselves through this competition.