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STUTTGART, Germany — Anything to get the kids interested.

“They’ll fly with it,” said Marty Kober.

“They’ll pick it up faster than us,” added Patricia Kiebler.

Digital video is not just cool, it’s used throughout the business world. So 36 teachers from across Europe came to Stuttgart last week to brush up on their video-making skills and get ideas to bring back to their classrooms. After all, school starts Sept. 7.

“Our schools are being reinvented and rethought to meet the needs of our kids in the 21st century,” said Pat Ridge, the liaison for video curriculum for the Department of Defense Dependent Schools in Europe.

“In a video lab, you’re dealing with actively producing something, working with a team and handling expensive equipment.”

Digital video technology is used by television, for business presentations, on the Internet. It is why DODDS is trying to install and improve video production classes at its schools.

On Thursday, the teachers trained on equipment and shared teaching ideas. On Friday, they had to put themselves in their students’ shoes. They formed groups and scripted, planned and shot video, then made it into 30-second public service announcements.

They also learned firsthand about deadline pressure. By mid-afternoon when time was up, some of the teachers hadn’t yet finished their assignment.

The teachers were sure that their students would love working with video.

“You turn it on and the crowds come,” said Becky Connolly, a teacher at Vilseck, Germany, American High School. “They like to see themselves on the screen, and they like people to see their work.

“The ones who have done it have so much pride in their accomplishment.”

“They’re going to want to do video for everything, all their projects,” said Brandy Bell, who teaches at La Maddalena Elementary and Middle School in Sardinia.

Larry Bruce, education technologist for the Bavaria district, said the courses began in DODDS in 2000. Only a few schools had the curriculum then; now most do.

“The work force wants students to collaborate and work together,” Bruce said. “This really lends itself to that collaboration.”


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