With about one month to go before the world of 7 billion (W7B) student video contest submissions are due, we thought it would be helpful to dig into what makes a winning video for this contest. Through some diligent research we identified some interesting correlations and suggestions for creating winning videos for the W7B contest! Don’t forget, submissions are due February 28th and are open to all middle and high school students!

So what are winning videos like? We reviewed the past 5 years of World of 7 Billion winners and identified key statistics about the videos that might help you create a winning video of your own this year. Here they are:


  1. Problem & Solution

Make sure that your video includes information about both the problem and your solution. It is not enough for W7B just to describe the topic that you are creating a video about, you must also describe how you would create a solution to that challenge! Every winning video over the last 5 years has some information about the problem followed by a good description of a solution.

  1. Music Track

Although it is not a requirement from the W7B rules, the vast majority of winning videos over the last 5 years included some background music or audio to supplement the voices. 97% of the winning high school videos, and 56% of the middle school videos selected as either 1st or 2nd place included a background music track to support their video.

  1. Video versus Animation?

There was little correlation between the type of video and winning. We grouped videos into four categories: (1) Video, (2) Stop Motion, (3) Slide Show, (4) Animation. Many winning videos included multiple types in one video. However, overall there was little correlation and it does not seem to matter which type of video you create. For high school winners, 30% used animation, 30% used video, 20% used stop motion, and 17% used a slideshow style (remember some videos used multiple styles). So there is little correlation between winning and what style you use. Use whatever style works best for you. There are great video editing apps available for free online, as well as other apps you can use to create simple animations or stop motion videos.

  1. Statistics

Statistics are important! 90% of first or second place award winners in high school included multiple statistics about the problem or solution they are proposing. These are actual numbers about the topic they’re describing. Additionally, 72% of winning middle school videos also included specific statistics. So make sure to include some detailed statistics in your video to help improve your chances.


Remember, you don’t need to be a professional film-maker to be successful at the World of 7 Billion video contest! In fact, only 10% of the rubric focuses on production (including visual and sound elements). Make sure your video follows the competition guidelines, and try to use these recommendations from our review of past winners, and you’ll have a great shot! Of course, following these recommendations is not a guarantee you will win, but based on our review of the past winners, they could help. Good luck!

With the start of 2019, ICS has been exploring new video contests for students. With all of the advancements in mobile applications for video creation, we wanted to see what is out there for students to put these interests to work for them in academic competitions. And man are there a lot! We put together the following list focusing on national or international level competitions that have deadlines in the spring semester. So if you’re interested in using video to engage students, check them out! And let us know if there are others we should track in our database!

  1. Youth Making Ripples Video Contest (Deadline 8-Jan-19) – students create videos about their stories or experiences with the ocean.
  2. Jason Learning Recycling Video and Poster Contest (Deadline 18-Jan-19) – Students in grades K–12 are invited to participate in a national recycling awareness contest
  3. C-Span’ Student Cam (Deadline 20-Jan-19) – annual national video documentary competition that encourages students to think critically about issues that affect our communities and our nation.
  4. Courageous Persuaders (Deadline 8-Feb-19) – high school students to create 30-second videos that serve as television commercials on the dangers of underage drinking and texting while driving.
  5. AASF Make Time to Sleep Video Contest (Deadline 12-Feb-19) – motivating teens to prioritize the importance of sleep in their lives.
  6. Center for Unsung Heros ArtEffect Project (Deadline 15-Feb-19) – students effect positive change through creative storytelling that celebrates Unsung Heroes from history.
  7. Center for Unsung Heros Discovery Award (Deadline 15-Feb-19) – use creative talents to research primary sources and develop outstanding projects that feature Unsung Heroes who can serve as role models and inspire others to create change.
  8. Speak Truth to Power Video Contest (Deadline 17-Feb-19) – students use film as a tool to discuss human rights issues that resonate with them.
  9. World of 7 Billion Video Contest (Deadline 28-Feb-19) – Create a short video – up to 60 seconds – about human population growth that highlights one of the following global challenges: Preserving Biodiversity, Sustainable Resource Use, Protecting Human Rights.
  10. TeenDrive 365 Video Challenge (Deadline 28-Feb-19) – Make a video that inspires your peers to drive safely and you’ll be entered for a chance to win one of 15 great prizes!
  11. Career Safe Student Video Challenge (Deadline 1-Mar-19) – challenges students from across the country to create a short video demonstrating safety in the workplace.
  12. MathCounts Math Video Challenge (Deadline 14-Mar-19) – a free national program that challenges students to develop their math, communication and technology skills in a collaborative video project.
  13. Green Shorts (Deadline 29-Mar-19) – hosts this environmental short film contest for southern California high school students.
  14. One Planet, Many People Video Contest (Deadline 16-Apr-19) – create a video no more than 60 seconds in length exploring the impacts of human population growth on their neighborhood, city, state, country, or on our planet.
  15. TVE Biomovies (Deadline not yet announced) – a video competition for the best youth climate projects happening around the globe.
  16. Student Transportation Construction Industry Video Contest (Deadline not yet announced) –  the contest and has two submission categories: general transportation impacts, trends and/or funding; and transportation safety.
  17. International Student Travel Video Contest (Deadline not yet announced) – Students interested in traveling internationally can create a short video about the experience.
  18. Lights, Camera, Save! (Deadline not yet announced) – a teen video contest that encourages teens to educate themselves and their peers about the value of saving and using money wisely.
New apps, computers, phones, and many other technologies are being released an ever increasing rate pulling on our attentions. With them, many schools see an increasing challenge in keeping students engaged in the classroom. However, there is at least one great way that smart phone apps can be used to help engage students. With the increasing use of smart phones, video creation apps have become easier and easier to use with ever better functionality. Today’s students are used to creating their own Instagram clips and Youtube posts on a daily basis. Rather than being considered a distraction, this can actually provide a great opportunity to engage students in academics through video creation.There are many video contests available for students. Some are more refined than others, and each has its own specific requirements; however, there are some common tips that can help students be more successful at these competitions.

Featured Competition: the World of 7 Billion Student Video Contest helps students learn about global population growth and its impacts. Don’t miss this video contest, the submission deadline is February 28th, 2019.

Students don’t need to become professional film-makers, but they should learn to incorporate few new skills. Here are 6 common tips we encourage students to follow when submitting to one of the great video contests that are available.

  1. 1. First, make sure you know your content.

Student video contests typically have a theme for your videos. Sometimes the theme changes each year, but sometimes it remains constant. Before beginning to create a video, students should spend time to research their competition’s theme. The more they know about the content the better the video will come out. Competitions typically don’t just score videos based on the quality of the filming, but they also focus on how well the students demonstrate specific knowledge or understanding of the theme. So make sure to do the background research in depth before you begin filming! 

  1. 2. Ensure the video responds to the challenge prompt.

In similar lines to knowing your content, students also need to double check that the video actually responds to the contest’s prompt or requirements. Typically student video contests will have certain requirements for your video. Not only will they require the video to be a certain length or of a certain quality, but they may also ask for the video to respond to a specific question, or include a particular type of information. Students need to double check that they understand all of these requirements before beginning to film. Many high quality videos have been disqualified because they didn’t follow the specific requirements of the contest prompt.

  1. 3. Create a storyboard and script before filming.

For those creative students jumping into video contests, it can be hard not to just jump in and start filming, but you really should put the breaks on a little bit and make sure that you have a good plan for what you are going to film first. We suggest to create two things before you get to the filming. First build out a storyboard for the video. What is it going to show when? What kind of imagery do you want to have? And what are the main points that the video will make in each scene? Then actually write your script. If you are going to have a lot of talking, this could take some time. Finally, when you have these two guides wrapped up, you’ll be ready to make a great video!

  1. 4. Select a style that matches your personality.

Every video is different, and each videographer has their own style. A video that one person thinks is excellent could be what the next person cringes at. Don’t worry too much about making videos in a specific style to try and meet everyone’s interest. Instead focus on defining your own style, and don’t switch styles in one video. Following a style that matches your personality will end up making it easier to create a high quality video with good content that meets the contest’s prompts. This alone will make your video easier to score highly than a video that is trying too hard to fit into one specific style that doesn’t match that of the students themselves.

  1. 5. Check the video for errors!

This may go without saying, but don’t submit a video that has bad audio, misspellings in its text, or other errors. Just like with a writing competition, you need to check and double check the video for errors. Make sure the playback is smooth and that there are no problems with your transitions. Having a seamless experience will help the contest judges score your submission highly.

  1. 6. Don’t worry too much about the bells and whistles.

It is very tempting to put on as many fancy transitions and exciting overlays in a video as you can. Students see a lot of interesting new features in the editing software or apps and think we should cram them all into a video! Unfortunately, this doesn’t help much in scoring videos well. Sometimes a well-placed transition feature, or interesting text overlay can make a difference, when it works well with your actual storyboard. However, don’t overdo it! Too many of these bells and whistles can distract judges from your real message just as easily as they can add to it.

Overall, video contests can be a great way to learn educational content while also flexing creative muscles. We encourage students and educators in all fields to explore these competitions. Although each contest has its own specific rules and guidelines, there are common traits that, when considered carefully, can help students produce better videos for any contest or competition. But make sure that you also review the competition’s website for specific guidelines.

Many competitions will post recommendations that are unique to their program to help you create videos that are specifically suited for what their judges are looking for. For example, the World of 7 Billion Student Video Contest includes a whole page with 15 specific recommendations to help you tailor your video to their challenge. In addition to our overarching items to get you started on the right path, the W7B team recommends things like choosing a specific audience for your video, and identifying a video “tone” before you even begin. You can check out these, and other guidelines for the W7B contest here.

W7B and many other video contests have deadlines in early 2019, so don’t miss this chance to flex your creative muscles and get involved in an academic video contest today!

In school we learn about the water cycle, ecosystems, weather, climate change, and many other aspects of our global environment. We learn about plants, animals, and all kinds of critters that inhabit the Earth with us. However, rarely do our students get the chance to really learn about how humans ourselves are affecting the planet; changing it in ever increasing ways. With over 7 billion people on the planet and a projection to hit 10 billion by 2050, humans may be one of the most important factors in affecting our global environment.

Unfortunately, most teachers don’t have a good opportunity to engage their students in learning much about this critical piece of environmental education. Many schools don’t have the resources or knowledge on how humans actually are impacting our environment. Luckily, this is where extra-curricular competitions like the World of 7 Billion Student Video Contest (W7B) step in and fill the academic-gap.

The World of 7 Billion contest provides both teachers and students with resources to help get started learning about these topics. Competitions like W7B are helping teachers incorporate critical lessons into their classrooms and beyond. W7B alone provides elementary, middle, and high school lesson plans covering everything from carbon emissions to ocean acidification to fertility rates and life expectancy in developing nations. But it’s more than just lesson plans, competitions also provide real money to students and teachers. The World of 7 Billion includes awards up to $1,000 for the best video submissions in each category, and provides over 70 awards in total each year!

How are we changing animal habitats? How are we changing environment to meet our energy needs? How are we changing our own ability to provide environmental, social, and economic security to our ever increasing population? These are three questions that this year’s contest is challenging students to learn about and present their own exciting videos detailing how population change is having an impact.

W7B is just one of an expanding array of environmentally themed competitions that are playing a bigger and bigger role in helping engage students in environmental education topics that are getting less and less time in the formal classroom. If you want to make sure your students are getting a healthy dose of environmental, social impact, and global change education don’t miss out on all of these opportunities. You can find a full list of environmentally related competitions in our ICS database here. But be sure not to miss the World of 7 Billion that is open for submissions now through February 28th, 2019.