Year 9 Health and Well-Being students at the British International School of Washington (BISW) completed their Connections unit in November with an interdisciplinary project that asked them to use imaginative ideas and camera techniques to express the need for connection in society and the experience of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The students spent time outdoors and made creative use of technology to record short films and develop other artistic works. The project sparked discussions on how the pandemic has caused isolation and other impacts. There were in-person groups, virtual groups, and hybrid groups with students from in-person classes and online classes.
“At BISW, we want to connect the in-person students and the virtual students however we can,” Ms McErlane explained. With the topic of this unit being Connections, it was the perfect time to find ways to involve the students from one group with peers in another.
In the groups, some students created short films, and some pitched smartphone application ideas. Some storyboarded animation, while others used music and special effects to show the monotony of quarantine and how it feels to have too little real-life contact with other people. For example, students Norah, Darya, Evie and Anjali created a short film called ‘Solitary’ in which a teenager explores the confines of the world around her in a time when the best connection she can make is with her reflection in the mirror. Similarly, students Esme, Rosie and Sali created an extra-short 22-second film that relied on a loop of images like fingers typing on a computer keyboard and students looking at a computer screen to express the repetitiveness of life in quarantine. Then, students Mattise and Alex storyboarded an animation to cover the topic of bullying prevention and the need to reach out to help other people. There were several other fantastic projects.
“This project felt meaningful because a lot of people around the world are unable to see their family and friends right now,” Year 9 student Norah said. “We thought about that while we collaborated with our friends to make our videos.” Norah and her teammates said the collaborative aspect of the project was the most enjoyable part, which underscored the importance of the topic itself. Darya enjoyed the chance to showcase her performing arts talents, and her teammates had fun as they developed the script and gave direction.
Ms McErlane showed the students an example YouTube video as inspiration for the project. The video, which YouTuber Liv McNeil titled 'Numb' and uploaded in June of this year, resonated with viewers for its representation of the emotions people feel during isolation. The video now has more than 1 million views.
The BISW students uploaded their videos and other works online, and you can click here to see them. After the class completed the Connections unit, Ms McErlane moved on to the topic of Mental Health Awareness to give the students a comprehensive knowledge of the need for mental wellness.