Weaver Receives Gift of Free Licenses for Video Production Classes
For many students in Weaver High School’s Journalism & Media Pathway, video production tools are vital to their learning and future careers. To teach his now distance-learning TV Production 1 class, media teacher Paul Pfeffer had been relying on a free trial for educators from WeVideo, an online video editing platform. When the trial was coming to an end in March, Pfeffer reached out to the company to request approval for a new license. The response was a pleasant surprise: WeVideo had not only answered the formal request by HPS’s Dave Draxyl to provide the license, but offered 10,000 free student and educator licenses through the remainder of the school year.
“The disruption of Covid-19 and subsequent school closing took us away from the 27 iMac computers that I got donated from CT Public, and the HPS supplied Adobe Creative Cloud,” said Pfeffer. “We literally had one day, Friday the 13th, for my students to start to learn how to edit, initially with a student-produced stage performance, before we had to turn off the computers, pack up all our video production gear and leave the building.”
The unexpected gift from WeVideo changed that. “Now student learning will continue unimpeded,” Pfeffer said. “It is a matter of equity.”
The 10,000 licenses, normally priced at $30 each, are worth $300,000. WeVideo made this offer in response to COVID-19 and the impact on education to enable schools to keep students on track and engaged from home. The platform offers templates, tools, and a media library with more than 1 million images, video and music clips that integrate with Google Classroom, the platform HPS is using for distance learning. It allows for individual and collaborative work, and provides for virtually limitless storage in the cloud.
Pfeffer can continue to use the platform for his TV Production 1 class, and also extend it to his over 100 students in several other classes, including Video Production, Advanced Video/TV Production, and Media Literacy 1. The licenses provide accessible tools to students so they can produce professional results. His fellow teachers at Weaver are also excited about using it for coursework.
The students using WeVideo can build their skills and contribute to professional projects, including StoryCorps and Pulitzer Center assignments, Pfeffer said. A recent example includes a PBS Newshour Student Reporting Lab project that had high school students discussing COVID-19 and its impact on them. An interview produced on the Weaver High School campus with Kinsella Academy of the Arts student Taj Atmore is featured in the video; the interviewer was Weaver student Roberto Velez, while Weaver student Nehemiah Sanders served as videographer: https://studentreportinglabs.org/youth-reporting/students-describe-the-information-theyre-hearing-about-coronavirus/.
The access to the free licenses extends to June 30 – well past the end of school the school year on June 11. The generous number of licenses allows Weaver to share it with students and educators at other schools in the district.