By Larry Magid
If you’re an aspiring student filmmaker or a K-12 teacher with some talented students, consider entering the What’s Your Story video contest to share your or your students’ thoughts on what the Internet means to you. There are two $10,000 prizes with additional cash prizes for runners-up. One $10K prize is for an individual and the other for a K-12 school. It’s open to folks in the U.S. and Canada.
The “What’s Your Story? video contest began in 2010 “to enable and empower kids, parents, teachers and communities around the world to use technology safely, responsibly, and successfully.”
The contest is sponsored by Trend Micro’s Internet Safety for Kids and Families Program.
This year’s theme, said Lynette Owens, contest organizer and global director of Trend Micro’s safety program, is all about “what the Internet means to its users. From the good to the bad, the necessary and the not-so-needed.” The contest should reveal “what students and young adults’ experiences actually are, rather than assume we know what they are,” she said. Owens said that one of the purposes of the contest is to “help us all best focus our efforts in supporting people, young and old, to thrive online.”
I’ve been one of the judges in this contest since it was first launched and it’s one of my favorite projects, because I get to see some incredibly creative work. I can’t help you with your video but I can tell you that authenticity matters. Don’t show us what you think we want to see. Show and tell us what’s on your mind. You can be funny, dramatic or both. This isn’t quite a 15-second Vine video nor is it a full-length feature film. Videos should be between 30 seconds and two minutes. It needs to be a .mov or .mp4 file and no more than 100 MB. You can shoot it on any type of video camera you have, including a smartphone. And, all entries must be original and respectful of copyrights, including any music or images that you use.
Other judges are from Facebook, Twitter, iCanHelp, and National Association of Media Literacy Educators. I’m representing ConnectSafely.org, a nonprofit Internet safety organization that receives support from Trend Micro along with several other technology companies. Here are some examples of previous winners and, below, is one of my favorite winners from a previous year.