Creating Public Service Announcements

By Monica Burns 11.10.2014 blog

Introducing students to technology tools and providing opportunities for them to create products for a real world audience is an important part of college and career preparation. Video projects are also a great way to engage students in middle and high school.  Students can create public service announcements to demonstrate their understanding of issues facing the world or their community.

Public service announcements are short videos that are used to explain a topic to an audience and call them to action.  Students may be familiar with public service announcement campaigns tied to anti-bullying initiatives, healthy eating or warnings around drug use.  Teens can use this medium to state an opinion and make an argument that is supported by facts and data.  They most often work in groups or pairs on a collaborative project that benefits their audience by providing information on a topic.

Identifying Local and Global Issues

Before students get started creating a public service announcement, you may want to brainstorm a list of ideas that connect to your community or an area of the world you are studying. Students might form groups based on shared interests or passions, and you might assign students to different groups so that your class produces a series of PSAs on the same topic. This type of activity can help students identify the real world connections to the content they are learning in their classroom.  As you and your students choose local and global issues to focus on, you can also make parallels to community service activities.

Transforming Opinion Writing

Public service announcements are a form of opinion writing that can be easily connected to traditional writing assignments. Students might write an essay or editorial that covers a specific topic like composting or recycling for the purpose of convincing their audience to make a lifestyle change.  Teens can use the note taking, research and data collection that they completed as part of a writing assignment and use that information to create a PSA.  Students might follow the same structure for introducing the topic, providing reasons with supporting evidence and acknowledging a counterargument.  They can also create a storyboard that connects to their writing, or can use images collected during their research to design a PSA that gets their message across.

Filming for a Real World Audience

Whether you are teaching a problem-based learning, challenge-based learning or neither, you know how a real world audience can motivate students. When they know for whom they are creating a product and how it will be shared, their buy-in can change dramatically. Public service announcements can be created for a school community, uploaded to YouTube or tweeted out from a school or teacher account. You can motivate reluctant students by letting them know that their PSA will be featured on the district’s Facebook page or played at a school assembly.

Creating PSAs can help students demonstrate their understanding of a topic while providing opportunity to use technology and influence the decisions of a real world audience!

Monica Burns is an Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.


  1. person

    first let me take a selkie lol

  2. person

    also cool show

  3. person

    hello hi hello hi hello cool show

  4. Arianna, Ashika, and Ruby

    Creating PSAs can help students demonstrate their understanding of a topic while providing opportunity to use technology and influence the decisions of a real world audience and can help students get out there.

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