Action! Middle school students find their voices through film

In a Los Angeles school, students use tech to direct, produce and star in civic-minded videos.

Full Transparency

Our editorial transparency tool uses blockchain technology to permanently log all changes made to official releases after publication. However, this post is not an official release and therefore not tracked. Visit our learn more for more information.

Learn more

Eric Winzenreid, Berendo Middle School media club teacher and resource specialist, helps students produce civic-minded videos for their community.

When Eric Winzenried started leading the media club at Berendo Middle School in Los Angeles five years ago, he found that some of his middle school students had given up on learning. What does it take to re-engage students with their own education? For Winzenried, a resource specialist with a background in film, the answer was clear: His students loved videos, movies and smartphones. When tech was used in the classroom, says Winzenreid, “they just suddenly came to life.”

With devices, data plans, and technology received as part of Verizon Innovative Learning, the media club was transformed. “We got all this amazing equipment from Verizon,” Winzenried says. Using a green screen and a microphone, students create videos in the style of public service announcements but with middle school style and flair. In one video, spearheaded by students Jordan Williams and Pablo Vargas Urbina, a rapping middle schooler encourages his classmates to get vaccinated so they can come to school. “They were able to demystify vaccinations for the community,” says Julia Glees, Verizon Innovative Learning School Coach at Berendo.

The videos also allow for English language learners, who represent a sizable portion of students at the school, to practice speaking skills and use their creative talents, says Glees. Students that Glees previously had to usher to class now jump at participating in educational opportunities involving technology.

It’s clear that the Verizon-provided tech is making the difference. “I never made a video before, but when I saw that iPad with that mic in my hand, I felt like I was on top of the world—I really did,” says 7th grade student Anela Herrera.

Anela Herrera, 7th grade student at Berendo Middle School, says making videos makes her feel “on top of the world.”

“I never made a video before, but when I saw that iPad with that mic in my hand, I felt like I was on top of the world—I really did,”

7th grade Berendo Middle School student Anela Herrera

Related Articles

Beatriz Llano-Scherker, a Verizon Innovative Learning School Coach at Hammocks Middle School in Miami, and Lois Seaman, Verizon Innovative Learning Lab Mentor, show no signs of slowing down.
Verizon Innovative Learning is a key component of Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan helping to move the world forward for all.