A Great Opportunity for Student Filmmakers

  • Jun 23, 2016


Hey, students and teachers, are you looking for a cool way to kick-off your summer break? Why not make a film?

Following on the success of last year’s CineSpace short film competition, NASA and the Houston Cinema Arts Society are once again inviting filmmakers of all ages to vie for cash prizes by creating a movie of any genre that incorporates content from NASA’s library of historic images and video!

If you enter, you’ll be competing for $26,000 in prizes with cash awards going to the top three submissions as well as the two films that best demonstrate the themes “Benefits of Space to Humanity” and “Future Space Exploration.”

But you’ll have to act fast. Deadline for submission is July 31st.

This year’s contest, which is open to all professional and aspiring filmmakers, will be judged by acclaimed director Richard Linklater (School of Rock). Participants under the age of 18 will need the permission of a parent or guardian to enter.

Check out last year’s 1st Place winner below, then head over to CineSpace for more info.

Good luck, and here’s hoping it’s your film being featured here next time!

To help us keep you informed about other great free educational opportunities and resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio


Image and video: NASA/Houston Cinema Arts Festival

Generation STEM

  • May 26, 2016

Obama Science

Earlier this month, President Obama invited students across the country to share their thoughts on science, technology, and innovation. What’s noteworthy about this is that the idea itself was born in April at the 6th White House Science Fair, when 9-year-old inventor Jacob Leggette told the President that he should have a kid science advisor.

Kudos to Jacob for knowing how to make the most of an opportunity, and congratulations to students everywhere who, as a result of Jacob’s initiative, will now have an opportunity to make their voices heard at the highest levels of the STEM frontier.

Watch the video below for more on this great story, and please encourage your students to take part. The deadline for submissions is Friday, June 17, 2016 at 11:59 pm ET.

Learn more at whitehouse.gov.

And to help us keep you informed about great free educational programs and resources, bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio


Image and video: The White House

This Semester, Organize a Book Drive!

  • Aug 27, 2015


Everybody loves a good book drive. Why? Lots of reasons.

For one thing, deep down inside, people like to share. People also like books, and chances are they have a few volumes lying around that would be of much more use in someone’s hands than they are on a shelf collecting dust. Moreover, the people who will eventually receive and dive-into those generously-donated books are usually the sort who truly value them.

So it’s a win-win.

An that’s not even taking into account the good will generated by the effort, or the feeling of accomplishment enjoyed by the folks who organized the book drive in the first place.

And that’s where you come in—teacher, student, administrator, parent, librarian, or just plain interested. You’re the one who is going to seek out willing partners and get this thing rolling. But first, you’re going to pay a visit to the official web site of United We Serve, where you’ll find a terrific toolkit that will help you mount the best book drive ever.

And once you do, please be sure to tell us all about it on Twitter.

 —Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Help foster the leaders of tomorrow

  • Jan 16, 2015

Halo Effect

Kids are getting up to some really interesting things these days.

Take Sarah Dewitz of Orlando, Florida, for example. At just 15-years-old she runs a charity organization that has thus far collected and distributed half a million books to children and families from low-income neighborhoods (see video, below).

Or Nicholas Cobb, who began collecting toiletries for the needy at the age of 7 and later, as an Eagle Scout project, created a non-profit organization that raises money to purchase coats for homeless families.

Amazing young people doing amazing things, and now their stories are available to inspire everyone thanks to  TeenNick’s Halo Effect.

Each month, the Halo Effect initiative honors a teen who’s making an impact in their community and, moreover, drawing others to their cause. Check it out for yourself, and if you know a teenager who fits the bill you might want to consider nominating them for honor.

In any case, please spread the word about TeenNick’s Halo Effect. You never know who you might inspire.

And to receive information about other great opportunities like this, be sure to bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

NOTE: TeenNick is channel 303 in your DIRECTV SCHOOL CHOICE channel lineup.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Start planning now for a science fair this spring!

  • Oct 19, 2014


As anyone who’s ever taken part in a school science fair knows, science is never more engaging or rewarding than it is when you’re doing it yourself. It begins with a simple question. The comes experimentation. And finally, the all-important presentation. Then all of a sudden… youout of everyone in your schoolbecome the recognized expert on that particular subject.

And you begin to wonder if they make lab coats for children. (Note: They do.)

All this to say that if you’re school is not currently planning a science fair, it should be. You should be. I have to presume that if you were drawn-in by the title of this post you’re at least thinking about it. Let me be the first to say you’re on to something.

At DIRECTV we’re big supporters of STEM education, and frankly we can think of no better way than personal, hands-on experience to get a child thinking about the possibility of a career in a STEM-related field. Preparing a project for a science fair is self-directed learning, which is empowering for kids. And by employing scientific methods to reach demonstrable conclusions, under your supportive tutelage, they’ll recognize that their efforts are worthy of respect.

So where do you begin? I’d recommend you pay a visit to Discovery Education’s Science Fair Central, a free, easy-to-navigate resource for K-12 educators containing everything you’ll need. Check it out. And if you do decide to go ahead and have that science fair, please let us know how it goes.

You can always stay in-touch with us via Twitter. And please be sure to bookmark this page.

 —Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Student and teachers — got any innovative, STEM-based ideas for solving problems in your community?

  • Sep 26, 2014

Samsung Solve

“This competition changed the entire culture of our urban school.”

 Julie Hasfjord, STEM Instructional Leader, Bailey STEM Magnet Middle Prep, Nashville, TN


In a nutshell, Samsung’s annual Solve For Tomorrow competition is about teachers and students working together to apply STEM principles to the task of solving problems in their communities.

And a survey of some of last year’s winners is impressive, to say the least:

At Washington state’s East Valley High School, students concerned about high electricity usage during the summer months employed science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to design an energy efficient cooling system.

At Philadelphia’s Academy at Palumbo, surveys and crime data were used to created algorithms that determined the safest routes for children to travel to and from school.

Real problems. Real solutions. All the product of students and their teachers.

AT DIRECTV we’re enthusiastic supporters of STEM education and always on the lookout for practical, innovative approaches to getting students engaged. And so we’re pleased to be able to partner with Samsung on this exciting endeavor. In fact, we created the Math Makes-it-Work Award to challenge students and teachers to make math a fundamental part of their contest entries. DIRECTV will award the winning school a $25,000 cash grant to expand upon their submitted project. In addition, the teacher(s) of the winning classroom will receive our In-Kind Teacher prize, which includes a free year of DIRECTV programming to enjoy at home.

See the graphic below for contest details, and be sure to visit the Solve For Tomorrow web site.

The deadline for this year’s competition is October 31st.

For more news about exciting opportunities like this, be sure to follow us on Twitter.

 —Stephen Vincent D’Emidio