There are currently 1.3 billion hours of video on YouTube and every minute 300 more hours are being added to that total. So why do we teach media production to students being raised in a world already so saturated with media? After all, the standards for becoming a content creator on a platform like YouTube is negligible. The purpose is not to teach students how to pursue viral fame or profit [fewer than 3% of videos on youtube get 1,000 according to a slate.com article ].
I have been a professional media designer for 15 years. In this time I have learned that the purpose behind why we create can always be seen in what is created. For example, If my goal is to create something that will popularize myself then I will create something that is outrageous, something flashy and something that derives its values from the dominant culture. However if my values are derived from scripture, as they ought to be, then my goal becomes to generate content that is educational in nature, improves the lives of those around me or testifies to the work of God in my life.
This semester I have had the great privilege of teaching Video production and Vector Drawing classes to the Junior and Senior high. What I believe sets these classes apart from other schools is that while I am equipping our students with skills appropriate to this day and age, at the same time, I work to maintain our mission of creating kind and ethical human beings.
This has been done a number of ways. First, our content for Academy TV is meant to amplify the sense of community felt by our students by encouraging collaboration and compromise. Second, our content highlights the type of exemplary behavior we want to see. Finally, our content has an educational slant that teaches our values and reinforces what has been talked about throughout their body of classes. With these 3 things in mind Academy TV and our other media arts classes have really opened up doors for our students to learn a skill that is more relevant today than ever before. At the same time these classes are tutoring them in the responsibility we have as followers of Jesus to let our light shine.
This model is talked about by Jesus in the book of Luke. Luke 11:33 says, “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.” This passage really captures the theory behind our practice. There is a big difference between lighting a candle in a small room and being a city on a hill (another metaphor used by Jesus in Matthew 5). A city on a hill can be seen by the masses and its purpose is to draw people in from all around. A candle placed on a lamp stand is to bring sight to those who have found the room. The purpose of our media classes is much more about bringing illumination to those who have already found the value of this wonderful school. I have enjoyed helping your student improve their ability to communicate a message, and I hope you see the benefit of this effort too.