By Anne Collier
I have a bias because I’m a judge, but I love this contest because it turns digital video producers 13+ into digital-citizenship educators (and teen educators usually have considerable credibility with their peers). The international contest, TrendMicro’s “What’s Your Story,” invites teens to produce and submit a video for one of three broad categories: “Being a Good Online Citizen,” “Using a Mobile Phone Wisely,” and “Maintaining Online Privacy.” The first one is challenging, I think, but in a good way. Digital citizenship is a subject that’s almost as huge as offline citizenship, so there’s a lot of room for creative illustration, and I hope we (I’ll be one of the contest’s judges) get a good variety of treatments. Teen social Web users are definitely up to the challenge. I’m also excited about the mobile phone category, because I haven’t seen any video contests addressing mobile safety to date (we’re talking about anything from excessive texting to sexting to friendship or dating abuse such as stalking), and I think teens, who are avid texters, have a lot to say about this. The third category’s important because – though research shows teens are pretty smart about online privacy management when they’re thinking about it, they don’t always want to take the time to think about it, and producing a video will definitely require some focused creative thought. Can’t wait to see the results!
Another favorite aspect of this is that classes, not just individuals, can submit videos. Why is this cool? Because collaborating in digital-media production is itself a powerful way to teach digital citizenship – so contestants are learning by doing. As I’ve mentioned in the past, citizenship is a verb! It needs to be practiced, online and offline (see “School & social media”). Anyway, the grand prize is $10,000, there will be other prizes for both individuals and classes, and this will be a gift that keeps on giving to winners and audiences, because winning videos will be part of an ongoing education campaign throughout the year. Here’s the blog post about the contest from its director, Lynette Owens at Trend Micro.