The Story of Stuff
I ran into this New York Times article
about The Story of Stuff
, a 20-minute short video about the cycle of human consumption, and found it as an interesting approach to bringing social issues into the classroom.
This video is created by a former Greenpeace employee Annie Leonard. She gives an effective lecture in the video by using lively animation and providing solid facts, personal reflection and inquiry. Her reflection on a $4.99 radio from Radioshack and externalized costs is an engaging example(see Distribution section, or 8:30). Though some parts of the video present an oversimplified logic, this video provides a great starting point to ignite heated discussion about environmental issues in classrooms.
The educational potential of this shorter video than those traditional documentaries is well illustrated by a California teacher Mark Lukach:
“Compared to ‘An Inconvenient Truth,'” he said, referring to Al Gore's one-and-a-half-hour documentary on climate change, “it is much shorter and easier to compact into a class segment. You can watch it and then segue into a discussion.”
If “grammar of schooling” is not going to be changed in the near future, more similar videos addressing social issues are needed.
It also removes one barrier for me to introduce it to Taiwanese educators: it has Taiwanese/traditional mandarin version available on their official site! Great!