Los Angeles, CA, and Silver Spring, MD (November 18, 2006) – LIGHTS, CAMERA, EDUCATION!, the online application of the American Film Institute’s K-12 Screen Education program, debuts today on Discovery Education’s unitedstreaming service and will be kicked-off at a launch event held on AFI’s Los Angeles Campus. Hosted by actor/director Sean Astin, LIGHTS, CAMERA, EDUCATION! is an innovative tool for today’s classrooms that trains teachers to use filmmaking as a method to engage students in the learning process. LIGHTS, CAMERA, EDUCATION! is a video-based module that profiles actual teachers and students as they incorporate the techniques and collaborative process of filmmaking into the study of traditional academic subjects.

“As a filmmaker myself, I know the power and excitement of bringing a story to the screen, and I’m really honored to be a part of LIGHTS, CAMERA, EDUCATION! AFI K-12 Screen Education helps teachers harness the appeal of media technology and visual storytelling, and brings that enthusiasm into the classroom. When kids start making movies about what they’re learning, they can’t help but get excited about school,” stated Sean Astin.

In the five years since its launch, AFI K-12 Screen Education has given hundreds of teachers hands-on experience in scriptwriting, storyboarding, shooting and editing, which they can bring back to their students, guiding them through making films based on the subjects they are studying in school. The program has been successfully used for K-12 subjects, including English, social studies, history, math and science – and has additionally been shown to be especially well-suited for special needs, gifted and talented, advanced placement and English as a second language students. Independent evaluation by Performance Learning, LLP of the program shows increased attendance and engagement, higher grades and higher test scores among students whose classrooms participate in AFI’s K-12 Screen Education program.

“LIGHTS, CAMERA, EDUCATION! has laid everything out. It’s so user-friendly. Each step that you’re going through builds on the next one and it’s very easy to see what you’ve learned from one step to the other,” said Annie Mais, Discovery Educator Network (DEN) member and history teacher at Los Alamitos High School, Los Alamitos, Calif. “It’s definitely going to change the way that I teach.”

The LIGHTS, CAMERA, EDUCATION! modules found on unitedstreaming follow the sequence of the AFI Screen Education process. The exercise begins with “The Door Scene,” where teachers are given a video camera and instructed to interpret and shoot a scripted scenario involving a person about to open a door. This assignment is part of the AFI Screen Education 5-part process of integrating the techniques of filmmaking into the classroom. The program titles include “Script Development” “Scriptwriting & Storyboarding,” “Production & Filming,” “Editing,” and “Exhibit, Review, Reflect.”

The collaboration with Discovery Education allows AFI to expand the reach of the AFI K-12 Screen Education program online via unitedstreaming and, for those who prefer offline delivery, through videotape and DVD kits. Discovery Education’s unitedstreaming is the foremost broadband video educational service available to schools today and is scientifically proven to increase academic achievement. The program has previously only been available through hands-on teacher training workshops run by AFI.
“Discovery Education’s distribution of LIGHTS, CAMERA, EDUCATION! is a wonderful opportunity to broaden AFI Screen Education’s reach to tens of thousands of educators nationwide and give them the resources they need to encourage creative collaboration and curiosity among their students,” said Mitch Aiken, Director, AFI Screen Education. “The process is transformative for both teachers and students, introducing a new way of learning that has proven effective in classrooms.”

LIGHTS, CAMERA, EDUCATION! was produced by AFI Screen Education in conjunction with James Jackson Productions, Inc., and was made possible in part by a grant from the Best Buy Children’s Foundation.

About the American Film Institute

AFI is a national institute providing leadership in screen education and the recognition and celebration of excellence in the art of film, television and digital media. AFI trains the next generation of filmmakers at its world-renowned Conservatory, maintains America’s film heritage through the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and explores new digital technologies in entertainment and education through the AFI Digital Content Lab and K-12 Screen Education Center. As the largest nonprofit exhibitor in the US, AFI ON SCREEN encompasses the annual AFI FEST presented by Audi: AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival – as well as year-round programming at ArcLight Hollywood and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, including SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival. AFI AWARDS, the annual almanac for the 21st century, honors the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year, while AFI’s 100 Years . . . series has ignited extraordinary public interest in classic American movies. And, during the past 34 years, AFI’s Life Achievement Award has become the highest honor for a career in film. Additional information about AFI is available at AFI.com.

About Discovery Education

Discovery Education is a division of Discovery Communications, the leading global real-world and knowledge-based media company. The leader in digital video-based learning, Discovery Education produces and distributes high-quality digital video content in easy-to-use formats, in all core-curricular subject areas. Its award-winning digital learning resources are available to 30 million students across the United States. Discovery Education is committed to creating scientifically proven, standards-based digital resources for teachers, students, and parents. Through strategic partnerships with 25 public television stations across the country, its public service initiatives, products, and joint business ventures, Discovery Education helps educators around the world harness the power of broadband and media to connect their students to a world of learning. For more information, visit www.discoveryeducation.com.

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