Children should experience, understand and create motion pictures. That’s the cornerstone of the Danish Film Institute’s activities for children and teens. In app form, the Danish Film Institute is now launching a media-learning universe for children aged three to six to strengthen their cultural and digital skills.
The universe features 300 short films, suggestions for activities based on the films and a selection of technical tools for working in the medium. The idea is for kindergarten teachers and children to explore the universe together, with the aim to support the children in becoming active, curious and critical users – and creators – of film and media.
The universe has been in development over an extended test period. Results have shown that the organised use of film helps strengthen the children's cooperation, language skills and sense of fellowship, and that it enables the kindergarten teachers to consciously help children become reflective users, rather than passive consumers, of film and media.
Photo: Bjørn Pierri Enevoldsen. Music: Sara Savery.
Free and easy to use
The app is devised as a simple and flexible tool that can be seamlessly inserted into day-to-day life at kindergartens. The universe features guided sequences with activities and short films. The focus is on cooperation, dialogue and creative play.
This includes very simple activities, including children and teachers watching films together and discussing their experience, and children taking pictures and sound-recording indoors and out. In the more advanced activities, children get to make their own little animated films.
All it takes to use the app is an iPad and an internet connection. The activities are free to access, while watching the films requires an institution login.
'An ingenious way to improve language skills'
Kristina Juel Overgaard, a kindergarten teacher who worked with a test version of the app, discusses her experiences:
"In a kindergarten where kids speak 13 different languages, the app is a fun and exciting way to work with language. We use the universe for what we call dialogic reading. We watch a film in small or large groups and have a dialogue about what we are seeing. The film is a visual and auditory support for the children, and we have their full attention and participation. It’s an ingenuous way of improving language skills," Juel Overgaard says.
"Afterwards, the app makes it easy to choose an activity that supports the film’s subject. The many ideas in the universe are worth their weight in gold as a supplement to our teaching about digital matters in the everyday."
Charlotte Giese of the Danish Film Institute, who is overseeing the project, describes the aim of developing this universe for kindergarteners:
"We want to give the youngest children new opportunities to creatively play with film, sound and images."
"With the app, children and teachers together can create visual stories and share their experiences. We want to promote an active and playful awareness of technology in the practice of teaching, where iPads are a powerful resource."