edu|shorts: An Innovative Online Platform for Educational Activities Inspired by Short Films

edu|shorts: An Innovative Online Platform for Educational Activities Inspired by Short Films

Promoting Collaboration between English Language Teachers

edu|shorts is an initiative started by Athanasios Tsapelis, English teacher at the Second Senior High School of Kos and Fulbright alumnus (2013 Study of the United States Institutes for Secondary EducatorsSUSI), developed and designed, together with co-teacher educator Panos Kapiris, as a platform for educational activities inspired by short films. The program grew from the founders’ passion for cinema and films, and from their belief that short films provide a unique way to deal with issues of identity and self-awareness because they tell a story in a few minutes with an easily discernible set of ideas and values.

edu|shorts aims to present short and concise educational activities that can be easily adapted to satisfy a diverse range of educational needs. edu|shorts is bilingual: all texts are written in both Greek and English to cater for the needs of national and international audiences. Browsing for films is facilitated by synopses or themes. Educational activities are tagged according to suggested teaching strategies.

edu|shorts workshops are intended for school students and primary and secondary educators who would like to use short films as a teaching aid. Participants watch short films and are engaged in activities designed to promote self-awareness and empathy, including dramatization, role-playing, and free association techniques. These activities are aimed at developing the ability to recognize and express feelings and thoughts. Games and activities help participants get to know each other and express themselves.

Since its inception, a number of Fulbright SUSI alumni have invited edu|shorts to their respective classrooms for professional and constructive collaborations. Eleni Lykou (2015 Fulbright SUSI Alumna) invited Athanasios Tsapelis to the Junior High School of Krieza, Evia, within the framework of Erasmus+, the European Program, and the HEREDITAS (Here Discover International Treasure and Survive) project on cultural heritage. Athanasios gave an introduction to fellow teachers and students on the concepts of house, home, and mother country in a photo presentation entitled Home is.

Eleni Lykou spoke about the use of a cultural approach as a tool in the Intercultural Class, presenting work she had finished in collaboration with the University of Illinois in 2016 entitled From Kos to Illinois. This work concerns an educational scenario that presents a parallel approach to Greek and American history by touching on issues such as homeland, immigration, refugees, racism, cultural heritage, and human rights.

In the autumn of 2019, Evangelia Karagianni (2017 Fulbright SUSI Alumna and Education Coordinator of EFL Teachers in East Attica) followed suit with the organization of workshops entitled Engaging Students with Short Films and Creative Activities for her teachers at the Second General Lyceum of Geraka and the 11th Junior High School of Acharnes. The outcome was so positive that the creation of a Cinema Special Interest Group with local EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teachers is in the making.

Evangelia Karagianni’s motto, borrowed from Aristotle, seems to sum up this program perfectly: Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.

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Photo Credits: edu|shorts