Green Schools 'War on Waste'
MEDEA Highly Commended 2010
Green Schools 'War on Waste' is a light-hearted short video about environment and recycling, created in 2010 by young pupils from primary school St Francis School, Priorswood, Dublin in collaboration with NearTV, Near Media Co-operative (Ireland). The pupils taking part in the video explain the importance of recycling and what type of waste can go into the different recycling bins used in Ireland. Because the Dublin City Council decided to put recycling bins into a local Travellers site for the first time (Travellers are an indigenous minority group in Ireland), pupils of the school that were also Travellers were involved in the making of this video to make them aware of the importance of these recycling bins.
The video was shown as part of lessons on the environment and recycling. As this was a community project with a particular emphasis on encouraging young people and their parents to recycle, a viewing was arranged in the school for everyone to watch the video. Near TV believes, that by creating a sense of occasion for the young people and their parents, they would see the importance in recycling and bring with them this new knowledge into their homes and daily life.
In this grassroots project the relationship between the media and the context of learning was particularly important: by having the young people themselves explain the importance of looking after the environment on camera allowed them to truly engage with the topic and understand it in a different way than just being told about it. They also had the sense that they were telling other people about the environment which encourages a sense of community awareness. It was done as an extra curriculum project in the primary school and a further added benefit was the confidence the group gained through the experience and they were proud to show it to their friends and family.
What the judges said of this entry:
The judges called this entry a very particular pedagogical project. It allows children to motivate their parents to recycle in a fun and entertaining way. The learning objectives are very clear and the importance of recycling is taught very attractively with a narrative (a video drama played by students) that flows very well, keeps the learners focused and attentive, and uses metaphors nicely with boxing/fighting and war on waste. The judges felt that it had been a wonderful experience for the young students, who could really engage with the topic as they talked about it on camera, which can also help improve their language skills.
The judges described this entry as a good and original use of television. It was clear that when producing the programme, and with their involvement in writing the story board and becoming actors, the children developed skills and knowledge for real life, at home and in the community. The choice and selection of the media (a video) as well as the script (scenes as rounds introduced by students) and the production quality is very good, appropriate to motivate and reach the target audience. It is a pedagogical product that combines blended learning (face-to-face and online/ TV video teaching and learning) for a large target (scholar, community, general users) and it is presented as a part of a lesson like a interactive inspirational moment.
About the creation of Green Schools 'War on Waste'
Fiona Moore, committee member of Near TV, Near Media Co-operative in Ireland, says: “The aim of the short video was to be informative but fun, and we believe it is a particularly useful method of teaching when trying to reach sections of the community that can be difficult to reach. The use of the medium of video allowed the young group to advocate for their area and we believe this can have far reaching benefits for the group in the future.
Video is a powerful medium in this regard and can break down barriers which can exist when trying to reach people on the margins of society. We chose to use video here because as a community television co-operative we believe video can engage young people in a way that other mediums cannot. The young people were enthusiastic about being in front of a camera. We also believe that using a visual medium allows the young people to see the day to day products that can be recycled and the children will be reminded of this as they use these products and continue to remember to recycle. Although having young people acting in the video can be a difficult process, this group started initially by acting in a play about the environment and so both aspects (play and green theme) were useful to turn to acting in front of camera. The young people had also become accustomed to projecting their voice and remembering lines through this drama. While the filming took some time the group was patient and eager to be in front of camera and this facilitated a smooth production. The turnaround time for the editing of the video was quite fast and we believe this is an important aspect of maintaining the momentum of the project.
They gained an understanding of the role they, and the media, can play in passing on information and asking other people to look after the environment. By simply introducing them to the concept of recycling, these young people have also learned a valuable skill and knowledge for life, which they can pass on to future generations.
The material will be shown to other school groups in the area and the length of the video was an important aspect of its re-use as its short length is suitable for holding the attention of young people (6 to 11 years old) in a class room environment. It will be used in its current format for the purpose of reminding classes of the importance of looking after their local environment. However our objective is also that other schools will produce their own similar short video as we believe this would encourage them to truly engage with the topic. ”
The video itself will be used by the Dublin City Council community liaison officer as she visits other schools in the area to encourage young people to look after their local communities.
About Fiona Moore
Fiona Moore works for the North Central Area Office of Dublin City Council where her remit includes environmental education and social inclusion. She has been involved in Near90fm for several years, giving interviews on the many facets of Dublin City Council. She also holds a commercial pilot's licence.
In recent times she has completed volunteer training with Neartv and from there came up with the idea of integrating community media with the work she does in Dublin City Council and the local community, an initiative that received funding through the RAPID Programme (Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development). It was through this that current project 'War on Waste' came about. Since then she has also joined the Near Media Co-op committee.