SHIFT: Professional Development

SHIFT: Professional Development

SHIFT changes how teachers teach and students learn.

Utah Film Center’s SHIFT program offers K-12 educators immersive, high-quality professional development and curriculum that supports the integration of the filmmaking process into educational settings. Workshops and instructional materials provide comprehensive, standards-linked lesson plans to guide educators on how to produce documentaries, public service announcements (PSAs), instructional videos, personal narratives, and other short film projects with their students.

SHIFT strives to provide high-quality, sustainable professional development for K-12 educators to integrate the filmmaking process, often referred to as digital storytelling, into core academic areas. With a strong emphasis on writing, the SHIFT model is committed to strengthening teacher practice, increasing student achievement, and developing critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills.

Our Goals


Inspire teachers and increase the use of creative technology integration.

Stimulate classroom climate and excite students through the learning process.

Increase student achievement through enhanced instruction.

2017-18 Annual Report

Click image above to see full report (will open in new tab)

Major Funding and Support Provided By

artworks POPS Logo FINAL blue SLCCCenterArtsMedia

Welcome educators and youth leaders!

If you work with youth in school or out-of-school, and are interested in integrating the filmmaking and other digital storytelling strategies into your instruction, SHIFT can train and guide you on how to produce documentaries, public service announcements (PSAs), instructional videos, personal narratives, and other short film projects with your students.

Our workshops and ongoing trainings are most often grant funded (and therefore at no charge to you). We work with school districts and partner with community organizations to customize professional development experiences for educators to fit the needs and geographic location of desired participants. Please check our upcoming workshops page to find a workshop that works for you.

SHIFT Workshop Models

We understand that teachers’ plates are most often full. For that reason we offer distinct professional development workshop models to accommodate busy schedules.

Year Long
Intensive Model

Begins with a two to three-day intensive training followed by quarterly or monthly trainings throughout the school year.

Customizable to fit your schedule and training needs. Typically it is a stand-alone hands-on 2 to 3-day workshop that walks educators through the filmmaking process and how that integrates into content instruction.

1 to 3-hour experiences typically at conferences and festivals that start with a youth media overview and introduces educators to the digital storytelling process and resources.

Workshop Objectives

Understand the fundamentals of the filmmaking process. Integrate creativity and relevant new technology to enhance teaching and learning.
Design standards linked lesson plans involving the cinematic process.
Celebrate the vision and voices of an emerging generation through digital storytelling.
Feel more confident with project-based learning. Integrate critical and inventive thinking in the classroom.


Participant incentives vary depending on the commitment level – all workshop participants receive a standards-linked SHIFT Filmmaking Curriculum Manual and eligible educators receive professional development credit for participating. To apply or register, please consult our “upcoming workshops” page.

Through My Lens: Personalizing Social Studies through Documentary

Join the Utah Film Center for an intensive professional development initiative to train social studies educators (grades 4-12) to facilitate the production of student-produced documentaries into history, civics, humanities, and social sciences. Rather than just having students repackage found online images, archival video clips and sound bytes, Through My Lens trains participants to integrate cinematic principles and craft compelling stories with an authentic student voice. After 2-day initial training, teachers and students will work with media mentors in the classroom to move through the filmmaking process from ideation to exhibition. By framing essential questions around instructional content, teachers will explore how digital storytelling, combined with intentionally designed lesson plans, increases positive learning behaviors. This is a creative opportunity for students to acquire, apply, and build upon their core content knowledge.

Teacher Incentives:

  • Comprehensive, standards-linked filmmaking curriculum manual that includes five filmmaking genre units and lesson plans, assessment rubrics, thumb drives containing youth-produced media, instructional videos demonstrating filmmaking concepts, and other additional resources
  • 2.0 USBE credit or 30 hours relicensure professional development credits
  • partial Educational Technology Endorsement (9 of 18 credits)
  • Access to online resources and support
  • One-year Utah Film Center membership

Dates and Time:

  • Initial two-day Workshop: October 5 & 6, 2018 | 8:30am- 4:30pm
    Venue: Salt Lake Community College South City Campus
  • At-Site School Media Arts Project Implementation: Customized per teacher team; TBD @ initial workshop in October

Filmmaking in the Classroom (two-day)

The Filmmaking in the Classroom workshops are two-day fully-funded workshops for educators and community youth leaders grades 4-12 interested in incorporating filmmaking and storytelling into instructional content. These hands-on professional development experiences provide 15 hours of in-depth direct instruction to teachers, providing them with an instructional skill set and media rich lesson plans to facilitate the production of content-linked documentaries, public service announcements, instructional videos, and personal narratives. Participants learn the fundamentals of cinematography, work in teams to produce short films, share ideas for classroom planning and integration, and learn how to use the process of filmmaking as an effective learning tool that motivates and inspires students.  Furthermore, educators are trained on equipment and software they have access to in their classroom, including Windows Movie Maker, iMovie, WeVideo, tablets, video & still cameras, and tripods.

Teacher Incentives:

  • Two days of hands-on, direct instruction
  • Comprehensive, standards-linked filmmaking curriculum manual that includes five filmmaking genre units and lesson plans, assessment rubrics, thumb drives containing youth-produced media, instructional videos demonstrating filmmaking concepts, and other additional resources
  • Access to online resources and support
  • 1.0 USBE credit or 15 hours relicensure professional development credits for eligible participants
Filmmaking in the Classroom: Utah County–Provo
Dates and Time:  October 2018 | 8:30am- 4:30pm
Venue: TBD
Filmmaking in the Classroom: Iron County–Cedar City
November 14-15, 2018 | 8:30am – 4:30pm
Venue: SUU

Filmmaking in the Classroom: Uintah County–Vernal
Dates and Time: March 8-9, 2019 | 8:30am- 4:00pm
Venue: Maeser Training Center
Filmmaking in the Classroom: Salt Lake County
Dates and Time: TBA
Venue: TBA

*Registration will open in July 2018.

How do I get started?

How is filmmaking relevant and helpful to delivering the necessary content to my students? SHIFT’s highly praised and teacher-friendly curriculum guide makes implementing media arts in the classroom accessible and relevant. SHIFT provides a complimentary curriculum guide to every teacher who participates in their professional development training or the guide can be purchased to implement independently.

The 244 page resource guide, Learning in Focus: A Curriculum Guide to Engage, Teach, and Inspire Students through Filmmaking, contains five instructional units broken down into succinct lesson plans and a supporting thumb drive containing over 30 youth-produced short films, and digital versions of every handout.

These units are:

  • Unit One: Filmmaking Bootcamp
  • Unit Two: Personal Narrative
  • Unit Three: Instructional Video
  • Unit Four: Public Service Announcement
  • Unit Five: Documentary

Each media-rich unit consists of an average of seven lesson plans and two assessment rubrics and each lesson has been linked to relevant academic standards, including:

  • Common Core State Standards (CCSS): English Language Arts
  • International Society for Technology in Education Standards for Students (ISTE-S)
  • National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
  • New Media Arts Standards

Order a copy of Learning in Focus: A Curriculum Guide to Engage, Teach, and Inspire Students through Filmmaking.

Curriculum Guide: Grades 9-12
Curriculum Guide: Grades 9-12

Price: $75
Curriculum Guide: Grades 4-8
Curriculum Guide: Grades 4-8

Price: $75

Click below to preview the Table of Contents and curriculum samples from Unit One: Filmmaking Bootcamp and Unit Five: Documentary from this highly regarded instructional resource.


TOC Curriculum Sample


Filmmaking Bootcamp Sample


Documentary Curriculum Sample


Below is an ever-evolving list of resources we find useful and believe you will as well!

Click ‘Show Resources’ under header to view resources.

Filmmaking Essentials: Information about filmmaking equipment and general elements of the filmmaking process (also refer to the Curriculum and Resources section at the bottom of this page)

Filmmaking Apps: Filmmaking applications to use on mobile devices and/or computers

Audio Making Essentials: Podcast Sites & techniques for capturing good audio in film production

Copyright For Educators: Resources that explain the legal issues related to the music, video, and pictures in digital projects.  Note: These materials should not be understood as legal advice.  For legal advice about a particular problem or concern, always consult a qualified lawyer.

Copyright Free Resources for Video, Music, Sound Effects & Images: Refer to each site for copyright related to the site’s media.

Editing Software & Tutorials: Tutorials on multiple software platforms used in post-production stage of filmmaking

Distribution & Exhibition: Resources about sharing student work with a larger audience and sites for uploading student work. 

Movie Media Galleries: Movies and other media projects produced by students, teachers, and professional filmmakers.

Media Literacy: Resources to help teach and strengthen students’ understanding of media literacy and their role as media consumers and producers.

Project-Based Learning: Resources to help teachers construct and implement project based learning experiences in the classroom.

Curriculum Resources & Lesson Plans: Digital media curriculum and lesson plan ideas for teachers to use and modify in the classroom.

Professional Development:  Sites with workshops or opportunities to enhance your teaching profession.

Untitled Document