Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions and Morgan Spurlock’s Cinelan today announced the launch of educational companion materials for the newly released short film series WE THE ECONOMY 20 Short Films You Can’t Afford to Miss. The curricular materials include a robust discussion guide around the series and individual lesson plans for specific economic questions addressed in each film. These educational resources will leverage innovative storytelling and technology to help educators, parents and students deepen learning about the economy. Streaming access to the films and companion educational materials are now available to middle schools, high schools, colleges and public libraries across the U.S, and are also downloadable at no charge via the WE THE ECONOMYwebsite and the iPhone and Android mobile apps.
WE THE ECONOMY is partnering with Films Media Group, the premier provider of on-demand educational video for schools, colleges and public libraries, to bring the films and companion materials to subscribing institutions for free. The multimedia resources will offer educators new ways to engage middle school through college-level students in learning and discussion about economic issues. Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), an official education partner of the series, will embark on a pilot project for its teachers to incorporate WE THE ECONOMY across multiple subject areas for 8th to 12th grade students.
Carole Tomko, General Manager and Creative Director of Vulcan Productions states, “The educational component of the series is key to our mission of cultivating and expanding public understanding of the core principles that drive our economy. If we can empower the next generation of young adults who will be shaping the U.S. economy by giving them both deeper understanding and practical knowledge about the subject, we’ll be providing an enormous public service, and that’s our hope.” She continues, “The curriculum around the series is designed to partner educators and students in a conversation that extends far beyond the classroom and has functional, lifelong impact.”
WE THE ECONOMY pairs world-renowned filmmakers with leading economic advisors to spark a more informed public understanding of the U.S. economy through innovative storytelling. Directors include Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe Retaliation), Adrian Grenier (Entourage), Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli), Barbara Kopple (Harlan County USA), Adam McKay (Anchorman) and Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me). Economic advisors including Adam Davidson, founder of NPR’s “Planet Money,” and Greg Ip ofThe Economist, provided editorial guidance to the filmmakers on 20 essential economic questions, which are the focus of these five- to eight-minute films. See below for a full list of directors, economic advisors and participants in the series.
Morgan Spurlock, executive producer of the series and co-founder of Cinelan, states, “Learning about the economy doesn’t need to be boring. WE THE ECONOMY uses the power of film and storytelling to make a dense topic more entertaining and understandable, and packages it up into a short format that’s easy for any of us to consume.” He continues, “It’s important that educators have access to materials to assist their teaching of a subject that affects almost every aspect of our lives and is crucial to being an informed citizen of the world, no matter your age.”
Education Resources & WE THE ECONOMY Mobile Apps
WE THE ECONOMY was conceived to use inspiring and entertaining short films to inform the public on major economic topics that impact their daily lives, from the cost of healthcare to the value of currency to the connection between workers’ rights and global trade. Teachers can now access multimedia tools provided by the WE THE ECONOMY series to enhance education in the classroom by sparking informed discussion of economics among students, while fostering a more economically empowered youth population.
Available for download online are a selection of companion materials to facilitate dynamic discussions around the short films:
- Program Discussion Guide that includes an introduction to the series; guidelines for informal screenings and group activities such as those for museums, libraries, workshops, or college classrooms where a facilitator screens multiple films; and extension activities, including a series of assignments and educational prompts to help instructors at any level use the films with their students in creative ways.
- Classroom Viewing Guides for each film that serve as a complete lesson plan: curriculum connections and standards alignments; lesson requirements (preparations, time, materials, etc.); key words and phrases; lesson rationale and student objectives; techniques and skills; step-by-step, itemized procedures for classroom implementation; and a homework assignment/extension activity.
The WE THE ECONOMY mobile app for iPhone and Android devices provides a fun, interactive learning experience. Teachers, parents and students can use the free app as a jumping-off point for further discussion about the economy. Upon downloading the app, users can instantly watch any of the films, learn more about the 20 basic economic questions they address, answer trivia questions about what was just watched, and explore additional resources including news articles and fast facts.
Educational materials are authored by Big Picture Instructional Design (BPID), a leading company in creating teachable moments from issue-driven films and television programs. Recent film projects include FURY andLINCOLN. BPID is partnered with The Montlake Group, a boutique firm specializing in outreach and engagement campaigns for films.
Watch the short films online at www.wetheeconomy.com, via the WTE iPhone or Android app, or on one of the over 60 digital distribution partners including Amazon, CNBC, Hulu, iTunes, LinkedIn, Netflix, Pivot TV, Time Warner Cable, Yahoo and YouTube.
For more information on WE THE ECONOMY, including all the films, director and advisor biographies, educational resources and more, visit www.wetheeconomy.com.