I had the fabulous opportunity to view an “edufilm” a couple of nights ago at the SXSWedu Festival. The film, If You Build It, is a documentary about an ambitious endeavor taken on by the founders of “Project H” to guide a group of high school students through a year-long course that would culminate in them creating a building for their economically-depressed community.
Watching If You Build It is guaranteed to inspire you. Emily and Matt, the two Project H founders who undertake this challenge in the film, will absolutely convince you of the need for project-based learning in our schools. Their passion and faith in the curriculum they create despite all of the hardships they endure (including giving up their entire teaching salaries) cannot help but provoke more educators and communities to consider the need for more relevant learning experiences in our educational system.
The students in the documentary will make you laugh and touch your heart. The documentary does a great job of revealing how this project effects each one of them, and its overall impact on this small community in Bertie County, North Carolina.
If you have the chance to see this film, I strongly urge any adult who is interested in the future of education to view it. Here is a list of planned screenings in upcoming months. If the film is not coming to a theater near you, there is a procedure on this page for trying to get a community screening.
Project H (which stands for Humanity, Habitats, Health, Happiness, Heart, Hands, and more) has other endeavors, as well. Since the days of If You Build It, the company is now located in California. They continue to work with students through high school courses and camps. Currently, they have a Kickstarter campaign for a new library called “X-Space” designed by their Project H students.