Young students meet real world in news broadcast

Posted January 23, 2011 11:03 a.m. EST
Updated January 23, 2011 11:13 a.m. EST

Project Education: Edutopia, a partnership between WRAL-TV and the George Lucas Educational Foundation, shows how putting on a TV news show gives young students in Hawaii practical life skills.

A daily news broadcast done by students at Nuuanu Elementary School teaches that mistakes can be educational.

One day, minutes before the 8 a.m. show, a crisis erupted in the control room. The opening tape wasn't cued properly, and the young anchors were caught off guard.

Teacher Kelvin Chun stepped aside and let the students figure out the solution on their own.

"They're panicking. Let them panic," Chun said. "Our emphasis is on problem-solving, because that's the real world. And they have to know if something goes wrong how to problem-solve."

The daily news show is a team effort that over the course of the year involves all of the school's 400 students. Different age groups put on different parts of the show.

"From kindergarten, they are doing the weather reports. First and second and third graders are doing book reviews. Fourth, fifth and sixth (graders) are doing different kinds of projects," Chun said. "We get everybody involved."

To create stories, students undertake projects ranging from studying their ancestry to surveying the local water quality.

As another learning aspect of the program, all of the projects involve using and learning about technology.

"You need to trust the kids with the technology," Chun said. "We have to give every child, from kindergarten through sixth grade, in our school the opportunity to work the technology, to use it as a tool to support their learning."