Students eagerly acquire new knowledge by creating book trailers

Opening of a digital laboratory at Štampar Makarije Elementary School

Tina Dimić Raičević
UNICEF Montenegro / Krsto Vulović / 2019

27 December 2019

PODGORICA, 13 December 2019 – A year ago, the opening of a digital laboratory at Štampar Makarije Elementary School marked the beginning of a project whose aim was the introduction of digital pedagogy into the education system. The project was launched in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and with the support of UNICEF and Telenor.

In just a year’s time, this digital lab has become a favourite spot for the school’s students and teachers.

Seventh-grade student Đina Đurović says she likes to work on various projects in the laboratory because it is helping her to master the obligatory learning materials in an easier, more creative and interesting way. She singled out working with classmates and her teacher on creating a book trailer for the book “Emil and the Detectives” as the most wonderful experience so far.

UNICEF Montenegro / Krsto Vulović / 2019
Seventh-grade student Đina Đurović saying how much she likes to work on various projects in the laboratory, in Podgorica, in December 2019.

We came up with the idea of ​​creating a book trailer because my friend and I, as well as two girls from another class, made a PowerPoint presentation on this book, so our teacher suggested we make a short book trailer around this very topic. Some friends joined us, so we wrote a script, filmed it and edited it together...

Đina Đurović, seventh-grade student

She recalls that it was difficult for them to reconcile their differing views at first, as everyone had their own suggestions on what the trailer should look like. However, she pointed out, this strengthened the team spirit of all the participants in the project.

There are now a lot more children working in teams and doing specific projects or presentations. I am sure that this year we will make a new film on a book from the mandatory reading list or a literary work that we will be learning about.

Đina Đurović, seventh-grade student

Her classmate Stefan Matović, who worked with her to create the book trailer, is delighted to have had the opportunity to learn to use the video editing software.

UNICEF Montenegro / Krsto Vulović / 2019
Stefan Matović, sharing his experience on creating the book trailer, in Podgorica, in December 2019.

The whole process was very interesting for me, as I learned how to use a video editing program. I also learned something new about the reading material we were presenting.

Stefan Matović, seventh-grade student

Đina points out that creating videos like these should be part of the teaching process in all subjects.

“Especially natural sciences, like biology, but also subjects like geography and computer science. In this way, when we create the content ourselves, the learning material tends to be much more interesting and easier to master,” Đina explains.

Her Montenegrin language teacher, Jelena Begović, notes that digital technology has brought about positive changes in the school.

UNICEF Montenegro / Krsto Vulović / 2019
Montenegrin language teacher, Jelena Begović, noting that digital technology has brought about positive changes in the school, in Podgorica, in December 2019.

The children are really interested in creating trailers, they are proud of themselves, and they want to show those trailers to others. It also has a positive effect on other children, inspiring them to become involved in the process.

Jelena Begović, Montenegrin language teacher

In addition to this, Begović points out that working in the laboratory has strengthened and improved the student–teacher relationship.

“The rigid student–teacher relationship is not present any more. We perceive each other as collaborators—they help us with the digital part of the process, we help them to acquire knowledge,” Begović adds.

New methods, however, bring some challenges. Begović emphasizes that a lack of time is one of the limiting factors.

“Forty-five-minute classes for projects which, for example, include making a trailer, are rather short because, as soon as students start working on something or get a new idea, the bell sounds and we have to go out,” Begović points out.

In order to overcome the problem of a lack of time and in order to continue using the new teaching method that allows them to deal with the learning material creatively, the students had a suggestion for their teachers—to organize double-length classes so that students can work on the given topic for an hour and a half.

The pilot initiative titled “Digital Literacy for Every Child”, which encourages the introduction of digital pedagogy, was created in response to the findings from a 2016 UNICEF survey that showed that every fifth parent and every tenth child in Montenegro do not use the Internet and that every second parent wants to receive both support and information at the child's school related to how to help him/her become digital- and media-literate.