1. Student engagement. Too many students in urban cities are dropping out. Engaging students early and providing positive experiences with school can help to hook these students before they leave.
2. Student achievement. Every classroom has a few students who are below grade level. Traditional teaching is not working for these students. These students need teaching that appeals to different learning modalities. Teaching as usual is not working.
3. Higher level thinking.The revised Bloom's Taxonomy puts creating at the highest level. Most traditional teaching asks students to memorize and recall information whereas filmmaking asks students to analyze and synthesize information from multiple sources, decide how to illustrate that information, and make decisions about presentation.
4. Media literacy. I would say that filmmaking is the language of the 21st Century but truly it's the language of the 20th Century and schools are just now catching up. Students are exposed to media images on increasingly smaller technology devices and are given very few tools in traditional schools to comprehend and think critically about these images. By creating media, students understand exactly what goes into constructing media messages by constructing them themselves.
5. Closing the digital divide. Lower income students, in particular, have more limited access to technology and technology teaching which asks them to use the computer in ways which are not simply remedial. “Economically disadvantaged students who often use the computer for remediation and basic skills, learn to do what the computer tells them, while more affluent students, who use it to learn programming and tool applications, learn to tell the computer what to do.” (Neuman in Conte 1997)
Is There Any Evidence of This?
Yes. Please see research done with Project Live in Escondido Unified which found an increase in standardized testing scores as a result of infusing curriculum with teacher and student produced media in a one to one laptop program.
In addition Mathew Needleman has traced increased fluency speeds to his work in a one computer classroom in which students create films.