Open Futures People: an interview with Paul Main, filmit specialist

Open Futures will always stay focused on our core principles of enhancing the teaching-learning experience.

Open Futures people is a regular feature in openit. In each issue we interview a member of the Open Futures team to find out how they got involved with Open Futures and what's happening in their strand.

Paul MainOpen Futures filmit specialist, combines his interest of learning sciences with his passion for technology. He see’s the use of media in schools as a core teaching and learning tool that can be embedded across the curriculum. He has worked with Curious Minds, Train Visual and Futurelab on many primary and secondary school projects.


How did you become involved with Open Futures and filmit?
Open Futures had been on my radar for a while when I received a call asking me if I could help out on a filming project. The rest they say is history. I had been delivering creative projects in schools and so was attuned to the values that Open Futures brings to its projects.

How long have you been delivering filmit and what impact have you seen on children’s learning?
I am coming into my third year and have seen the program develop a lot in this time. filmit brings many benefits to a school. As well as the practical skills associated with film making we have also seen children grow in confidence as their communication skills mature. At the core of filmit sits language and speaking. By focusing on these skills we have seen literacy outcomes improve. Having new creative methods of teaching can only be a good thing. filmit shifts the classroom focus to pupil creation and brings with it a level of learner autonomy.

The world of technology has advanced significantly since the launch of filmit ten years ago. What device do you think has added the most to the delivery of filmit and is what do you think has hindered it?
The one device that springs to mind is the iPad. As with all tablets we are able to shoot and edit simultaneously which means an immediacy of results that previously we would not have gotten. Filmmaking has got cheaper and the quality has got better. The only thing that might hinder progression in this area is the reliance on technology. We always start with a blank piece of paper and develop ideas from there. Storytelling is an art form that has existed for thousands of years, as long as we remember the fundamentals, technology can only enhance our creations.

What do you think are the best FREE apps currently available that teachers can use in the classroom?
iMotion has a lot of different uses including animation and timelapse photography. With regards to planning and writing Google apps has really helped the story boarding process. Being able to collaborate on projects and share ideas quickly acts as a catalyst for the creative process. Learners are able to get their thoughts down quickly and structure them in a coherent way.

How do you see filmit developing over the next ten years?
Technology is not going to slow down. Filmmaking is becoming more accessible each year and I expect to see new devices coming onto the market that will help us create good-quality movies. Open Futures will always stay focused on our core principles of enhancing the teaching-learning experience. Great ideas and good story lines are always the backbone of a good film. If we get the bread-and-butter right then it does not really matter what technology we use. Teachers are used to working with the tools they have and this creative workforce is in a good position to enthuse the next generation of filmmakers.

Paul will be hosting more filmit courses in October. Click here find out more about our new modular filmit training courses.