By Helen Fitton, British Universities Film & Video Council
Each year, the Learning on Screen awards celebrate media production in learning, teaching and research. From mobile apps and interactive websites to documentary shorts and subject recruitment videos, all types of educational media are given their chance to shine at a high-profile ceremony at London’s BFI Southbank, which this year saw a guest speech from broadcaster and journalist Samira Ahmed.
Offered by the British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC), Learning on Screen is the only UK awards celebrating media production in teaching and learning, and spans all areas of education. The ceremony showcased exceptional work from broadcasters including the BBC, who won two awards; production companies such as KEO Films and Floating Harbour Films; and in-house media teams at educational institutions, such as the University of Leicester, who scooped the Special Jury Prize for the second year running, this time for their sensitive and respectful film about hate crime.
‘This has been a record year for Learning on Screen which saw nearly 150 entries submitted, giving our judges one of their toughest challenges to date”, commented Steve Ellis, chair of the awards jury. He added: “The quality of production from in-house media teams and broadcasters was impressive, and demonstrates the huge talent across the UK working in educational media production today, as well as our student awards highlighting tomorrow’s stars.’
But it isn’t just film and TV screen productions that are championed at Learning on Screen: iPad, mobile and computer screens are also celebrated. This year saw a record number of multimedia productions entered, including MOOCs (massive online open courses), interactive websites, apps and games. Almost any media production that contains moving image is eligible to be entered in Learning on Screen.
The winner of the Educational Multimedia Award was BBC Learning for their multi-platform initiative Ten Pieces, which aims to inspire primary school children about the world of classical music. This online resource contains an astonishing amount of assets for a wide range of curriculum subjects, including the science behind the sound. Expect more of these entries at next year’s awards and beyond, as we all turn more to new technologies as a way of engaging learners.
Broadcaster and journalist Samira Ahmed presented the winners with their awards and gave a guest speech, in which she spoke about the formative influence television has been on her life and the lives of her children. Who you see on screen matters, said Samira, speaking about the importance for her as a child of seeing Asian women having active roles in television, and how that shaped her worldview. Audiences need to see versions of themselves on the screen, continued Samira, and the screen needs to reflect the diverse population of the UK to make us feel connected to the world and empowered to play our role.
Speaking after the ceremony, Samira commented: “I was fascinated by the creative range and technical skill on display at the awards. And quite frankly it took my breath away to see the level of talent and skill in all the student nominations. It’s turned out to be hugely inspiring to me to see how much great screen talent is being successfully nurtured in our universities and colleges all over the country.”
Entries to the 2016 Learning on Screen awards open this autumn. See a full list of nominations and winners online at bufvc.ac.uk/learningonscreen
Details about next year’s awards will be available on the BUFVC website in autumn 2015. Add yourself to the mailing list to find out when entries open by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org