How using video can inspire the global change-makers in your students.

Posted November 15, 2017 by Joshua neubert

Article Highlights

  • Millennials have proven to be a very socially engaged generation, but continued support from younger generations is needed.
  • Video creation has been shown to be a great learning tool that can also inspire action in young change-makers.
  • The World of 7 Billion contest provides a unique opportunity for middle and high school educators to connect students with global change on a level they can easily internalize.

It seems like we’ve been trying to tackle pollution, hunger, women’s rights, and other global challenges, for … well, forever. And unfortunately, it seems like the solution is always just beyond our reach. These challenges are so complex and have such a wide ranging set of variables that it is impossible to say that there is one solution. There is no smoking gun where, if only we did X, we would solve world hunger, or we would end pollution, or equalize the rights of all people. Global change happens through the combination of many local and regional changes that percolate into our systems, societies, and economies leading to global trends that move the needle. However, getting students to realize this without being overwhelmed by the challenges ahead can be difficult.

Over the past decade, we’ve seen the Millennial generation grow into its own, entering the workforce and creating new social enterprises to help tackle these global challenges. We were introduced to Millennial change-makers such as Boyan Slat, the 23 year old Founder of The Ocean Cleanup, and Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani activist leading global change in women’s rights through, and other Millennials who have taken the plunge into instigating social change. However, these complex challenges will not be solved by just a few leaders. Solutions require masses of new change-makers to build upon what has come before.

The Case Foundation’s 2016 Millennial Impact Report noted that, “Millennials are looking to effect change and make a difference through individualistic and personally gratifying action.” They act locally, as everyday change-makers. With the rise of the Millennial generation and the success of these young heroes, educators all over the world are starting to see that they can actually inspire students to take action and become mentors to a generation of global change-makers.

Of course, it’s not easy to showcase how students can actually have an impact on such complex, global challenges. For many educators, inspiring action in these areas can seem daunting, especially to students who have as of yet had little to no experience fighting for social change. Sometimes the tasks simply seem too complex to even understand where to start.

So what are educators to do if they want to help inspire their students to become the next global change makers?

One proven way to inspire action is through video – not just watching video about global change – but creating videos where students can use multiple skills to internalize the content. In 2014, Dr. Peter Willmot and his colleagues at Loughborough University and Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom demonstrated that, “there is strong evidence that digital video reporting can inspire and engage students when incorporated into student-centered learning activities.”

Dr. Willmot and his colleagues found that when students create their own videos, they are effectively combining the learning-through-teaching principle with a number of other skills that help to build deep, intrinsic connections to the content and internalize their own learning. In one study, conducted at Loughborough University, Dr. Willmot, found that 3 out of 4 students said they enjoyed a learning activity using video creation as its primary learning tool. While this research does not compare these student responses to those of other learning tools, it does show that video development can be a significant way to engage students. 

The World of 7 Billion student video contest provides a unique opportunity for educators to put this research to practice and use video creation to not only educate students on global issues, but inspire them into action. The academic contest will not only help your students learn about global challenges, but it will also engage them in conceptualizing actionable solutions of their own.

In the World of 7 Billion contest, students create their own 60 second video connecting population pressures with one of three global challenges: advancing women and girls, feeding 10 billion, or preventing pollution. Students must also include their own concept on how we can move forward with solving the challenge, and showcase this to the world through their video.


The majority of last year’s student participants said they actually wanted to expand upon their video projects and work on helping to implement a solution!

Students throughout the world are eligible for awards, but more so than just winning prizes, they are included into a global community of young change-makers. Go beyond the traditional research project and encourage deeper learning for your students. Video submissions for the 2018 contest are due in February, but accepting on a rolling basis. So now is the time to start thinking about projects, and getting your students ready to go!

Check out all of the details at World of 7 Billion.