Donna Guthrie wants kids to go out and explore their own corner of the world. So she created a Web site designed to let kids use video cameras to record field trips and then download them onto the site for other kids to enjoy.
"What I hope to do is create a community of children ages 8 to 13," says Guthrie, a children’s book author. "We did a video on the Empire State Building and then encouraged kids to go out and film the tallest building by them. It’s more than YouTube—it’s encouraging kids to go out and explore their own community."
The Web site, MeetMeAtTheCorner.org, launched last October, currently has 24 videos created by Guthrie’s staff and five created by kids. As more children download their videos, Guthrie’s staff will edit them and post them on the Web site along with related information.
For instance, one boy created a video of his father, who built and flew his own airplane. The video was posted along with information regarding books about the Wright brothers. "So it’s not just seeing the video, we also posted Web site links and names of books," Guthrie says.
The Web site also includes a new section where kids do book reviews "In a New York Minute." In these videos, children choose from a list of award-winning books and videotape a short review of the book, following guidelines for book reviews posted on the site.
To get started making their own films, kids need a video camera and a computer. They can visit the Web site, where a video on how to create your own video is posted. "We show the student how to set up the camera and what we want," Guthrie says. "Starting Feb. 15, we’re adding a story board and we draw it out for them what to include. We’re really trying to do this mini-film course long distance."
Calling all filmmakers
Do you have an aspiring filmmaker age 7-13 living in your home? A contest offered by MeetMeAtTheCorner.org is asking all kids to submit a video podcast interview of the most interesting person they know. Viewers will vote on their favorite submission. The winning filmmaker will win $250. All videos must be 15 minutes or less, submitted on a miniDV tape and postmarked before Feb. 29. Visit the Web site for a complete video-making guide, submission guidelines and mailing information.