Australian Teachers Magazine writes about ChildFund Connect's Our Day project

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Article first published in Australian Teachers Magazine 

STUDENTS at a Queensland school have gone behind the video camera to document their lives for an international children’s project.

Brisbane’s Mayfield State School secured a $20,000 Artists in Residence (AIR) grant to take part in the Our Day collaboration across four countries.

It used the money to buy 20 Kodak Playsport video cameras and opened up the three month film project to students from Prep to Year 7 and their families.

“Basically, it documents a day in the life of children from all around the world,” principal Doug Lange explains.

“The [students] use the cameras, take them home and do the filming over a weekend or longer, then bring them back.

“We’ve always made films in the school. We wanted [this project] to have a community flavour, and we ended up with about 30 families,” Lange adds.

Children in Laos, Vietnam and Timor — and closer to home in New South Wales and the Northern Territory — also collected footage for the ChildFund Australia Connect Project.

The task of editing down the many hours of raw video fell to artist in residence Clinton J Isle, a local filmmaker who has been working with Mayfield State School for more than a decade.

“We worked out there was about 160 hours [of footage] across the four countries. I’ve been working to collate the videos and turn them into a narrative,” he says.

“We decided to have a montage sequence at the start and end, so videos that don’t make the body of the film will still appear.”

Isle started a filmmaking program at the school about 12 years ago and says it has continued to grow and prosper. “The children have been making short films and telling stories through documentaries that are screened at festivals and other events, so we had that platform when we looked at the AIR grant.”

The school had already worked with the Connect Program on videoconferencing and other initiatives when the opportunity to apply for AIR funding arose.

Now that the project is complete, Isle is working with teachers in a PD capacity, looking at ways to make best use of the video cameras in school in the future. Lange says one of the aims is to use the technology to develop literacy skills.

“That’s my long term view. The kids have taken to the cameras very easily and also the teachers dare I say!” Lange adds proudly.