It’s All About Storytelling, Right?

It’s All About Storytelling, Right?

Summer School - Kosovo Innovation Social Transformation +

A recap of what has happened, what the future holds, and many more surprises to come.

Teaching kids is the objective, isn’t it? They’re so eager to learn new skills that everyone wonders how they can absorb so much.

One of DokuFest primary missions is to empower the younger generation through the art of filmmaking, a commitment that remains steadfast. This year, the DokuKids Summer School, a collaborative project developed by DokuFest and KEC and supported by the Netherlands Embassy in Kosovo, aims to bring together schools, students, teachers, and educational practices to reevaluate their collaborative methods and forge new connections for the future.

This year’s theme focused on discerning truth from falsehood in today’s digital landscape, establishing new parameters for what can be trusted. Through filmmaking, stimulating activities, and workshops, students from diverse backgrounds across Kosovo collaborated to tell stories that teach valuable lessons and dispel falsehoods.

In a session led by Rrezearta Xhaferri, an expert in intermedial communication and social development, students learned to distinguish fake news from real news through group activities and by sharing their personal experiences.

One ongoing concern is the influence teachers exert on their students. The need for students to surpass expectations while maintaining their own original thoughts is paramount. On the fourth day of the Summer School, teachers and students attended parallel sessions to foster independent thinking and creative freedom. Teachers deeply discussed ways to bridge inter-generational gaps through the power of social media and online tools, while students critically evaluated their own consumption of the online world.

The main focus of this Summer School is to employ storytelling as a tool for transformation, creativity, and the development of new perspectives. Guided by their mentors, all school groups were tasked with crafting stories that encapsulated the summer school’s central themes: fake news, digital literacy, and ethical online behavior.

By utilizing metaphorical subjects and fable-like plots, while maintaining a journalistic tone, teachers, mentors, and facilitators could gauge the significant impact that social media has on shaping behavioral patterns, particularly among young people.

On the second day, Ilir Hasanaj (director), Martina Kabashi, and Diellza Balaj (online media experts and creators) assisted students in learning simple techniques for creating stop-motion and animated films. Discussions around the power of narration and storytelling allowed students to assemble sets that exceeded everyone’s expectations.

As they scripted their stories, the students began to visualize what the written words meant. While this process sometimes leads to fortunate mistakes, in this case, it served as a catalyst, breaking the ice and making the camera a trusted companion for storytelling.

Topics of discussion were derived from the students’ daily lives, serving as relatable examples to explore more significant issues. These narratives often touched on themes like trustworthiness, corruption, broken promises, and the sometimes tenuous relationship between perception and belief.

We had the opportunity to hear from last year’s participants, who eloquently shared their ideas, processes, and experiences. The future indeed looks promising. Through their experience at Dokufest’s Summer School, numerous schools in Kosovo have adopted robust programs that showcase Kosovar films, equip media clubs with camera sets, and produce other necessary tools. This program offers a unique chance to create personal stories using resources readily available in schools.

Not only are we nurturing a generation capable of critical thinking and steadfast ethical principles, but we are also encountering young people with clear visions of the stories they want to tell in the future. We are merely witnesses to this immense transformation.