Imagine learning about Mars from the Martian, leadership from the Lion King and inspiration from Inside Out.
For some students this could be a reality, thanks to an innovative learning platform devised in Israel that uses blockbuster movies to teach multiple subjects to school and higher education students.
AcadeMe+ creates educational lessons for colleges and K-12 classrooms using movies made by major film studios, including Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Disney and Sony.
For the younger generations who were born into a digital world, screens are a part of normal life. And AcadeMe+ says its interactive, media-based approach is helping classrooms adapt to a digitally integrated learning style.
“We came up with AcadeMe+ to really bring the availability and the access for the teacher to use movies for educational lessons,” founder and CEO Yuval Kalati tells NoCamels.
The company has partnered with US-based educational nonprofit Journeys in Film to create the lesson plans based on movie resources.
Journeys in Film describes itself as an organization that transforms entertainment media into educational media, in order to help the younger generations become “globally competent and socially active.”
The AcadeMe+ platform has an AI search facility, that allows teachers to locate lesson plans that align with their curricula and helps them search the database to locate resources while preparing their own lessons.
For example, teachers planning a lesson on environmental sustainability can find suggestions based on the animated Pixar movie Elemental, in which characters based on the four elements – fire, water, earth and air – learn about one another as they strive to unite their different communities.
Similarly, the platform proposes using the movie Hidden Figures, based on the true story of female African-American researchers at NASA in the 1960s, to teach about prejudice and racism.
“You can tell the story or the subject of the lesson in a very engaging way. This is the purpose of AcadeMe+,” says Kalati.
The company also allows teachers to monitor and record their students’ progress and provides a social media platform for educators to talk to and support one another.
AcadeMe+ was a finalist in the Start-Up Company of the Year competition at last year’s Gess Education Awards, which recognize excellence, quality, and diversity of resources and people in the education community.
It was honored for providing teachers with a wide range of lesson plans based on its extensive library of short clips and full movies.
Sign up for our free weekly newsletterSubscribe
While other companies also produce educational material using popular culture, such as the American website Teach With Movies and FilmDoo Academy from the UK, Kalati says these competitors rely more on documentaries and open source material from YouTube.
AcadeMe+, he says, has the most extensive library of media resources and covers the greatest range of subjects, not to mention a unique and strong partnership with the major studios.
“We work very closely with the studios, and they love us because we are taking their content and making it into something that they never thought to do,” he says.
Kalati spent two decades in digital entertainment and media before he began working closely with Israel’s Ministry of Education in 2018 to create an accessible learning platform for Israeli schools, based on the AcadeMe+ digital movie library.
The following year, the company was licensed by the Education Ministry and is now used for free by 154,000 teachers in over 4,100 Israeli schools and colleges.
But while there is no cost for Israeli schools, Kalati says the company is likely to charge a fee for use in other countries as it expands.
In September, AcadeMe+ will launch in schools in 10 nations, including Turkey, India, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Germany and the United Kingdom, catering to an estimated 2 million students.
The platform’s user interface, film subtitles, and film dubbing is fully customizable to many languages, including Spanish and Arabic.
According to Kalati, AcadeMe+ will also soon feature an immersive English learning component, which will feature Disney TV shows to help students learn English.
Furthermore, AcadeMe+ has announced an upcoming partnership with Microsoft Education that will use AI technology to make the lessons more customizable, helping to meet the needs of students with a range of academic abilities.
Kalati says the company is also working on expanding its curriculums to more socially aware topics, such as climate change and gender equality.
“By infusing learning with the magic of film, we create an engaging and immersive learning experience that resonates with today’s screen-focused generation,” he says.