This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.
High school students — and others — are demonstrating their interest in the Ontario Mining Association´s high school video competition through participation in the “So You Think You Know Mining” blog. The competition, which offers students the opportunity to place their two to three minute videos on the benefits of mining in the running for substantial cash prizes, is supported by comprehensive web-based resources, including a blog that is meant to encourage an open exchange of ideas and information. The blog appears to be serving its intended purpose, adding a “wiki” dimension to the contest by enabling anyone to ask questions and contribute information.
Some bloggers have asked if there were previous contests that are similar in nature to “SYTYKM,” so they could see some footage before starting their own projects. The OMA responded by saying “As far as we know, we are in uncharted territory. This contest is a first for us and we´re really looking forward to seeing some unexpected entries! As the videos come in, we´ll be posting some of them under the “Inspiration” tab on the website, so you´ll be able to check out some of the competition with your project.”
The level of the awards seems to be an attraction for some — “I don´t know much about mining — yet — but I like the prize money.” Others seem to be attracted to gold and want to do a video on that precious metal and jewellery. Some students who aren´t quite in high school have asked if there is a similar contest for younger kids.
Others have inquired about permission forms and getting people´s signatures to use photos. (In addition to the example provided on the blog, the “Resources” section of the “SYTYKM” site offers a lot of assistance in this area.) Other students have written entries that refer to some of the “teasers” imbedded in the contest slogans. The intriguing question of what do pizza boxes have to do with mining is left dangling, with the following cryptic statement left as the last clue: “It has something to do with an industrial mineral that is mined not far from our nation´s capital.”
One entry (“Green?”) asks “My teacher says we can even do this video on the environment. I don´t understand how mining can make things greener.” A response from another blogger said “To comment to this, there is a lot of studies into environment studies through mining. For example, water filtrations, landfields, natural heating source, energy chambers and so on.”
MiningWatch Canada, an organization which works to encourage the mining industry to be more socially and environmentally responsible here in Canada and internationally, has come out to encourage students to consider a variety of perspectives, as they research and produce their videos. Under the heading “Balancing Your Sources,” Ramsey Hart, Canada Program Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada, recommends that students check out some websites, which can offer an industry watchdog perspective of the problems and challenges of the mining industry. This is helpful in reinforcing the notion that, as they produce their videos, the students must exercise a variety of skills — independent research, critical thinking and evaluation perhaps chief among them.
Needless to say, contest participants will inevitably sharpen other skills, including (but not exclusive to) script writing, musical adaptation, film editing, video production and project management in general. Most of all, they will discover the intricate (and maybe surprising) links between an important industry and their everyday lifestyles.
There is also the potential to win some cash. To be eligible to win prizes in the range of $2,500 to $5,000, the videos must be uploaded onto the OMA website by March 31, 2009. Take a look at the details online and use the blog to let us know what you think! Go to the Ontario Mining Association website www.oma.on.ca and click on the “SYTYKM” button. Help others learn about this fun, creative and money making opportunity. Have you organized your video production team yet?