With support from Chevron, Digital Promise recently launched the first filmMAKER Challenge. The Challenge provided an opportunity for students from around the country to redesign an everyday product and create a film to tell the story of their process. Four winning middle school and high school teams were chosen to present their design and film at a flagship Maker Faire.

Maker Faires are opportunities for anyone to celebrate making, network with makers, and, most importantly, showcase what they have made. In May, the student teams from South Fayette High School and Rancho Minerva Middle School traveled to the Bay Area to attend the world’s largest maker faire, Bay Area Maker Faire, in San Mateo, California.

At the Education Stage, both teams presented their documentary about the product they designed. The Rancho Minerva Middle School team from Vista, California, presented their SD chip holder, which helps their IT department deploy laptops more efficiently. During the question and answer session, the students shared their challenges and described how it took multiple iterations of chip holders before reaching the one which worked for their school.

The South Fayette High School team from McDonald, Pennsylvania, presented their prototype of an app to improve the grocery shopping experience. In an interview with The Almanac, their lead teacher Jim Hausman shared that the team conducted background research for their design “at several local area grocery stores and got feedback from the consumers.” The students even conducted a live demonstration of their prototype, using the Prototype on Paper app, for members of the audience.

We are excited that the filmMAKER Challenge inspired these students to create solutions to challenges within their communities. We hope that, although our 2016-2017 Challenge has closed, the resources created continue to be used by educators interested in leading design and filmmaking opportunities with students.

  • The filmMAKER Challenge guide contains activities, projects, and video challenges to help students build the skills they need for the Challenge.
  • The filmMAKER Challenge Webinar series was created to help teachers lead the challenge with their students and features experts in design education and film production.

We encourage you to host your own filmMAKER Challenge and to showcase your students designs and films too!

Both teams packed their weekend in the Bay Area with activities from touring Autodesk’s Pier 9 workshop to taking a bus tour of San Francisco. Put yourself in the students’ shoes and enjoy this student-produced highlight video from Rancho Minerva about their trip:


About Maria Romero

Maria Romero is the Maker Learning Associate at Digital Promise.

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