George Lucas Educational Foundation
Administration & Leadership

5-Minute Film Festival: Best Kickoff Videos

VideoAmy has collected a playlist of brief, compelling videos about education that can be used to start meetings with a bang and get everyone from parents to teachers engaged.

January 11, 2013

Sometimes you just need a short, powerful video to start a meeting, an event, or a presentation—something that really makes everyone sit up straight and start listening. It's the beginning of a brand new year, in the dark and cold of winter, and it seems like the perfect time to offer up some meeting opener videos that will leave you feeling energized and excited. And since they say you only have a few moments to get your audience's attention, almost all of these videos are under five minutes.

I'm reluctant to say these are "motivational" or "inspirational," since both words conjure up visions of teamwork seminars, self-help books, and cheesy piano music slideshows, but I dare you to watch a few of these clips and not feel just a little empowered to go out and change the world. Whether your New Year's resolution is to get parents excited about supporting your school, get a sleepy team of colleagues enthused about a new project, or just get yourself to get off the couch to do something amazing with your students, let these video picks help jump-start your ambitions.

Video Playlist: Ten Great Videos to Get People Jazzed About Education

Watch the first video below, or watch the whole playlist on YouTube.

  1. Expanded Learning Opportunities (02:21)

    I loved this video, by the Colorado Legacy Foundation, for its positive message -- we already have all the resources we need to make changes in education; we just have to think creatively and harness them better.

  2. What is 21st Century Education? (02:11)

    In just two minutes of high-impact graphics, this video makes the case for a sea change in the way we teach our kids. This shares some DNA with the much-loved series of "Shift Happens / Did You Know" videos created by Scott McLeod and Karl Fisch.

  3. Educate the Heart (02:00)

    This lovely animated piece is perfect for introducing the importance of social and emotional learning. Created by the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education as part of their Educate the Heart initiative.

  4. Learn to Change, Change to Learn (05:37)

    In this simple but compelling video from the Pearson Foundation, various education luminaries from Daniel Pink to Susan Patrick to Yong Zhao weigh in on the need for change in the classroom.

  5. Teachers Inspire Us (02:26)

    If you want a break from hard-hitting messages, or your team needs to be soothed more than motivated, use this delightful chalkboard animation that illustrates the way educators help students take flight. Made by two ninth graders, it ends with the simple phrase "Inspired by Teachers."

  6. Sir Ken Robinson -- The Art of Teaching (02:22)

    Nothing like a bit of Sir Ken Robinson to get a crowd of educators cheering -- his 2006 TED Talk is the most-watched TED Talk of all time -- and this recent clip is a great short one. You may notice the Microsoft gear here -- it was produced by Microsoft Partners in Learning.

  7. Make Your Voice Heard: Discover Democratic Education (02:36)

    This one's good if you're trying to do a little rabble-rousing or pitch for more authentic assessment. The Institute for Democratic Education in America (IDEA) created this to win people over to their notion of a less standardized and more participatory and engaging educational experience.

  8. An Introduction to Technology Integration (04:52)

    Here's a recent video from Edutopia that is great for showing the power of technology to enrich lessons and excite students when it's used well in the classroom. Featuring Mary Beth Hertz, Adam Bellow, and Sal Khan.

  9. Project-Based Learning: Explained. (03:50)

    Need to get a group on board for project-based learning? This is a great go-to video from Buck Institute for Education and Common Craft -- less than four minutes to understand PBL, in a nutshell!

  10. The Future Starts Now -- 2012 Edition (04:40)

    Produced by the Norwegian Centre for ICT in Education, this one argues for how we should be better using technology tools in school. Although the details are specific to Norway, the scenario applies in many other places.

More Resources for Engaging Meetings

So you've shown your video at your school community town hall, your grade-level team meeting, or your faculty retreat ... now that you've gotten everyone's attention, how do you keep it? Meetings are a necessary evil in any kind of collaborative work, but they don't have to be dull and painful -- the best ones can revitalize a group and compel attendees to action. So I've collected a few resources to help liven up your meetings and make them more productive.

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