Lights, camera, it's the White House!

McClatchy Washington BureauFebruary 28, 2014 

President Obama will host the White House's first Student Film Festival, an event the White House says is aimed at showcasing "the power of technology to boost learning and the administration’s commitment to bringing America’s classrooms into the 21st century with high-speed internet and cutting-edge educational technology."

From the East Room at the White House, Obama will discuss progress toward his goal of connecting 99 percent of students to next-generation broadband and wireless technology within five years.

He'll also announce $400 million in new private sector commitments from Adobe and Prezi to make free software available to teachers and students to help introduce creative learning materials to classrooms.

Adobe will make available over $300 million worth of software to teachers and students, including Photoshop; Prezi, a software tool for creating presentations, is providing $100 million in Edu Pro licenses for high schools and educators.

The student film festival, announced last November, is a video competition created for K-12 students to create short films on how technology is used in their classroom and the role technology will play in education in the future, and to support learning in key fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math. More than 2,000 videos were submitted.

Following Obama's remarks, the White House – in collaboration with the American Film Institute (AFI) – will screen the 16 “Official Selections.” The films will be presented by Kal Penn, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, and AFI president Bob Gazzale. Conan O’Brien will also address the students by video.

The winners include: A Day in the Life of Kyle. Seventh graders Marni Rosenblatt, Justin Etzine, and Rachel Huss at the David Posnack Jewish Day School in Davie, Fla., shot the story of fellow student Kyle Weintraub, who is being treated for lymphoma in Philadelphia but continues to attend school at Posnack through the use of a special robot. Using the robot, Kyle is able to interact with friends and teachers, venture through the hallways, and participate in class as if he were physically present.

You can watch all the films here.

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