Fun with field trips

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The world is your classroom, if you want to learn. Learning can and should happen everywhere. And heading in this very direction are AISFM’s Field Trips. Our students visited three different places recently and gained valuable insights.

Learning experiences outside the classroom offer tremendous knowledge potential for all students. Enriching field trips contribute to the development of students and provide interactive learning, entertainment, an extension of classroom study, social interaction and of course, not to forget, new experiences.

Aruna Ravikumar, part-time faculty at AISFM for Introduction to News, speaking about the field trips said, “Field trips are a wonderful way of learning by seeing, they provide inspiration and unfold new opportunities. The purpose of the field visits is to introduce students to the practical aspects of media. It is like the practical classes that science students have. It shows students practical aspects that they study during theory classes. The trips to television studios exposed students to different aspects of television production….the activity in television studios, editing, panel control rooms, editing and all aspects from reporting to final telecast.”

Sharing more details about the field trips, she said, “Our visit to a community radio station run by rural Dalit women in Zaheerabad through the platform and training provided by an NGO called the Deccan Development Society (DDS) was particularly inspiring for the students who got to see rural life and success stories of empowerment.”

Aayush Agarwal, was one of the students who went on the field trips. Sharing his experience, he said, “The field trips were a brilliant learning experience as news and media students. Personally, on our first trip, I had started off with a certain mindset and had expectations which made me have a very different first experience. But on my second and third trip, I went without any expectations which made me cherish everything new that was coming up. We spoke to the people heading Maa TV and Gemini TV and had transparent and valuable inputs which led to interesting discussions. We were also on the floor for a while where we could see how things work practically and in real time scenarios. The experiences made me understand the subject better and made it clear, regarding what I want to and don’t want to do in my career.”

“The long journey was filled with singing songs, teasing one another and clicking pictures when we went to see the community based radio. There were about 20 women who were sitting under a tree waiting for us and also their leader and mentor, Satish who is a filmmaker. They welcomed us with a welcome drink which was as sweet as the people there,” said Tulsi Agarwal, recalling fond memories of the trip.

She continued animatedly, “Satish said that the urban media has curbed down the voice of the rural people and thus, he started this community radio in the hopes of giving the voice to the voiceless. The special thing about this community radio is that it is run only by women. When asked why, one of the women said that the men hesitate to welcome a new change and they don’t want to try something new. The older men at least try to give their inputs, but the younger ones just resist the change, whereas women are willing to take risks. Then began a round of questions and answers between us after which we found out that the head leader of the radio, General Narasimha had refused to study when she was young. But when the concept of radio and filmmaking was introduced to her, she was so inspired that she went on to complete her schooling to learn the technique.”

“The women confessed that the initial training made them cry because as farmers they would work 12 hours shift (6am to 6pm) on their fields and then come home and learn the new equipments. But after months of hard work, they have become experts at making movies as well as conducting radio shows. Their radio shows include jokes, discussions, solving family issues, songs, telling tales, etc. almost like an urban radio. Their movies are based on agriculture. Narasimha was invited to visit 20 different countries to share her agricultural methods and also to learn their methods and apply them in our land. She made keen observations that even though many countries are more advanced than India in science and technology, they lack basic hospitality. She is proud to be an Indian because she knows how to treat her guests,” she further added.

Proving that there is no age or barrier to learn, is what she said next; “When we watched their movie we were in awe of their cinematography and content. It had an innocence to it that touches your heart. A young girl Mayuri has made movies from the age of six and has been invited to Asian, French and German film festivals.”

“I mingled with those kids so much that when I was leaving they gave me a horse made of mud and clay and also a notebook which they made themselves. These souvenirs are a token on love that I would cherish forever. When we left I felt so inspired; at that moment I knew why I was learning filmmaking. It was because of these little changes media can bring about. It was a lovely experience,” she ended.

Akash Subramanian, another student said, “On our trip to Pastapur it was amazing to know how a group of rural women used the same equipments to make short films with ideas and resources they were blessed with. Our second trip to Maa TV, our only motive was to learn about news and TV production. Our discussion with the head of Maa TV was very interesting and he said that if we are aiming to get into films we should never enter TV channels as it is the wrong place for people aiming to get into the film industry. We saw the editing rooms, the rooms where chroma keying took place, the workplace of the scriptwriters etc. Our last trip was to Gemini TV and the most interesting part of the trip was when we managed to see a news programme being set up before it went on air; the problems, set up, timing and many other factors they dealt with before a show. The field trips were amazing and we did learn about a lot of things in these three trips.”

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