A group of 17 students from Stredná Priemyselná Skola Elektrotechnická in Slovakia had a very important message to share with youth in their country about road safety. So what better way to get it across? A video!
The students Stredná Priemyselná Skola Elektrotechnická know that Slovakian roads have gone through a lot of changes since the country entered the European Union in 2004, like reduced speed limits and more stoplights. This has reduced the number of traffic related deaths, but there is still plenty of room to improve.
The 17-year-olds began a class discussion and brainstorming session about road safety in their country. They began by questioning whether or not Slovakians can feel safe on their roads as drivers and pedestrians, and then began to discuss the differences in the driving behavior of young people like themselves and their parents, and concluded that young people are riskier drivers and the cause of more accidents. That brought them to the crucial question: what are the most common mistakes made by young drivers that can result in accidents?
They found through the results of a class survey that young people tend to have a lot of risky behaviors as drivers and pedestrians. These include using mobile phones while driving or crossing roads, listening to loud music in the car or through earphones, and smoking, eating and generally not paying attention while driving or crossing roads. From this information, they were able to choose the most important message to focus on: pay attention while driving, life is too valuable for a phone call.
The students choose the message ‘Pay attention while driving, life is too valuable for a phone call’ because so many young people use mobile phones while driving and crossing the street. Then they choose video as their medium, knowing that it is the one that people in their age group most enjoy and relate to.
They had a lot of work ahead of them, and got started assigning roles and carrying out the tasks involved. They designated script writers, actors, camera operators, editors and more…Every student had an important part in the production and there was a lot to be learned from making such a collaborative group effort. In the end all of the hard work paid off – creating such a high quality and impacting video doesn’t come easy, and is something to be truly proud of! Also, the video was the topic of many important classroom discussions about risky behavior and road safety.
They published their work on the school website and on Facebook, so it was available as a resource to any teacher who wanted to use it – which they did. It proved to be a very effective resource that opened up real dialogue among the students and their teachers. Young people identify with the main characters in the video, and many share the same behaviors portrayed. This makes it easy to imagine themselves in the same terrible situation! The willingness of the students to discuss the issue is a success in itself, but the creators of the video say the real success will come if people see the bigger message: to protect their own lives and the lives of other road users.