Friday, 5 December 2014

Volunteer Teaching Video Editing in South African Wild Coast Schools

Young learners get the opportunity to work
with cameras and video cameras on the
Wild Coast Schools Project
With the end of the school year in sight, the kids at Bulugha Farm School have been pressing to wrap up their final projects. In this last term, the kids have had their technological horizons broadened with the introduction of a totally new kind of program. While the majority of the year has been focused on the essential Microsoft Office programs, the introduction of Wondershare Video Editor was a welcome change of pace.

The idea was to produce a “mini documentary” to tie in the year’s animal theme. Each student had written a few sentences about their chosen animal. After recording themselves reading their sentences, they were shown how to string together clips of themselves with clips of their animal. Next came the basic assembly, the intro/outro pages were placed, special effects were thrown in, and background music to top it off.

With Windows Movie Maker being lost due to technical difficulties, Ash and Victor had to search for a similar program. The resulting Wondershare, while not the “world standard” of video editing software, provided the kids an opportunity to experiment with the basics. Familiarity with terms such as import, export, cut, timeline, drag and drop, etc., is a skill that can easily be applied to the majority of other video editing softwares. The program itself did provide some challenges, such as leaving a watermark on the exported video, unsynchronized audio/video during editing, or the occasional crash. However, despite the sometimes major setbacks, the kids were able to use the program to create some pretty great videos.

With the concept of video editing being totally new, there was no shortage of work for the volunteer teachers. Despite our varying levels of experience with video editing software, Wondershare was not a program that any of us had heard of prior. While it was fairly simple to use, the combination of unfamiliarity with the program, on top of the varying degrees of language barrier, proved itself a challenge. Instructions such as “drag and drop the intro to the beginning of the video” often resulted in a video with several different introduction clips scattered throughout. Unfortunately, these instances often went unseen by the teachers (despite our best efforts), and the mistakes often weren’t noticed until the video had been finalized and exported. However, in the end, the majority of students were able to assemble, edit, finalize and export a finished video.

Challenges aside, the students picked up on the material at an impressive rate. While the pace at which everyone completed their tasks varied, by the end of class each student had usually done what was needed. Apart from the issue of absences, staying on track to complete the videos by the end of the school year was not a difficult thing to do. When kids who had been absent the previous class showed up, they were generally able to get caught back up after some one-on-one time with one of the volunteers. For the most part, the eagerness to learn the material and see the end result helped keep the kids interested and motivated to finish.

Now, in the last days of the 2014 school year, all that is left to do is to have a presentation day, and show off the best of the best videos. It’s been an enjoyment teaching a group of people so enthusiastic, and I’m very happy with the end result of the project. With new plans for the new year, I’ve no doubt that the kids at Bulugha will continue to learn and grow their knowledge of computer literacy with the help of volunteer like me.

Wild Coast Schools Volunteer, 2014


  1. I mean its great that there are people that are willing to help out in poorer countries. I myself am considering the opportunity to volunteer. However,this seems rather ridiculous and wasteful of resources to teach video editing and invest in such tech when they should be taught how to write, read, learn by themselves from books or MAYBE internet, how to preserve and care for nature and in the end make and create mandatory everyday things that are actually necessary... Still it is great that people do go and volunteer, thumbs up for that and respect.

    1. Hi Leva,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on our blog - it's great that you're considering taking part in a volunteer program and sharing your enthusiasm and skills with others.

      Thank you for also raising your concerns about the skills that we are teaching in the classes. Our movie editing project was a small part of a much bigger picture. Our standard projects work hand-in-hand with the CAPS English curriculum which is used in rural schools in South Africa. The learners therefore get additional practise in both spoken and written English through the presence of our volunteers and computer classes. Our three year rolling curriculum is also heavily based in environmental education; an example of recent topics studied include health and sanitation, local and global citizenship, birds and trees. Our tasks encourage independent and creative thought as well as basic reading, writing and maths. When possible we include internet research. We also encourage and support our partner schools in becoming a part of the WESSA Eco-Schools Program.

      The learners in the schools that we have partnered with have had access to computer lessons since 2006 when our first volunteers arrived. The older children therefore enjoy a good challenge - which movie editing truly was.

      I hope that this helps to give you a bigger picture of the work that we do in rural schools and if you are considering joining a teaching project please get in touch - perhaps the Wild Coast Schools Project would be an option for you.

      Kind regards,



  2. Heart touching post. Volunteer teaching for kids at Bulugha such a great work. I really appreciate your work.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read our blog and comment - it's great to have your support!

      Kind regards,