Archive for the ‘Media Literacy’ Category

What Equipment Do I Need to Make Movies?

Monday, November 5th, 2012

A reader question:

I’ve always been interested in TV Production and am thinking about writing a grant to start one.   Our school has no funding for this, so I don’t even know where to start. What equipment do I need? How much will it cost?

I’ve learned that nothing goes out of fashion faster than equipment recommendations.  However, here are my best recommendations for today.


Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch with iMovie installed is all you need to start making movies.  $200-$500.


I’m using a T3i DSLR camera that is excellent for still images but also shoots 1080p 24 frames per second high definition video.  $400-$600

For sound, I use a boom microphone which can attach directly to the camera to shoot better sound.  $100-$350

You will also need editing software, either iMovie (free with any Mac) or Final Cut Pro X ($300).

The T3i shoots excellent video in low-light situations.  However, you may wish to add some lighting to your setup.

It’s a Hoax! Teach Critical Thinking and Analysis Through Online Hoaxes

Monday, November 28th, 2011

What follows are three of my favorite hoax links, shared in a Google Workshop for Educators.  Use these to teach students that not everything posted on the internet is true.

All About Explorers
An attractive site looking site chock full of information about famous explorers, except all the information is false.

RYT Hospital
Men can now have babies, this high tech web site shows you how.

Museum of Hoaxes
Find tons more in the Museum of Hoaxes.


Interesting Reads on Michael Jackson

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Michael and Branding

How Michael Became a Brand Icon
What we should do to brand ourselves, our schools, our businesses

Death by an Overdose of Showbusiness
What we should not to to ourselves, our schools, our businesses

Humanizing Michael

Robert Hilburn Remembers
Long time L.A. Times critic reflects

Quincy Jones Remembers
After “Bad” the rest was just noise, Jones says of Michael’s life and surrounding controversy.

Teaching About Michael

As always, Larry Ferlazzo is there with resources for teaching.

Film School for Video Podcasters

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

My session for the K12Online Conference, Film School for Video Podcasters, is now online.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page to download for your iPod or to watch on your computer.

The sixteen minute presentation is a series of short vignettes framed by a film noir detective story in which I play the detective (of course).

The inspiration for the project was being a video judge in an internationally known technology contest and seeing the poor quality of submitted projects.  Even though the topic of the projects were very noble, the student use of the medium of filmmaking was horrendous.  What I was judging were powerpoints that moved and not movies.

I maintain that video is not the language of the twenty-first century.  It’s the language of the twentieth century and we’re just now catching up.  So, I do consider it important for teachers and students to have a basic knowledge of the language of film.  This movie is an attempt to help teachers gain that knowledge.  After sixteen minutes you won’t be an expert but I hope you will begin to think a little bit more strategically about your work with video in the classroom.

In the movie I discuss:

  • Storyboarding
    Almost everyone knows that you have to storyboard but there aren’t many models for teachers on how to storyboard.  Here I try to show you step by step.
  • Shot selection
    I talk a little bit about the meaning behind certain shots as well as how to set them up to be aesthetically appealing.
  • Equipment
    In a nod to my hero, Jim Cramer, I present Mad Moviemaking in which I answer questions on what kind of equipment to buy (because these are the questions I get most often about videomaking)

Woven in between those sections is my opinion on the importance of teaching media literacy via media production.

I plan on posting a bit more about my process of making the movie later but suffice it to say that it was a lot of work.  I welcome your feedback below.  Enjoy! 

Media Literacy Links

Friday, September 5th, 2008

We can spend our time crying about how students spend more time watching TV and less time reading or we can provide them with the analytical skills they need to process and think critically about the TV they are watching. This becomes increasingly important as media is being delivered to students on smaller and smaller hand-held personal devices.

Perhaps the best way to teach media literacy is by having students create their own media. In the same way that we teach reading comprehension through writing we can teach media analysis through media creation.

Media Creation Links

Video in the
my own site dedicated to integrating video production in the elementary classroom
has free movies you can watch to improve your moviemaking talents

American Film Institute Screen Education Program

Media Literacy Links

PBS Don’t Buy It
Kids’ Media Literacy Site

PBS Media Literacy Quiz

Center for Media Literacy

An Introduction to Media Literacy

Media Literacy Online Organization Index

Recommended Reading

Reading in the Dark
recommended by Roger Ebert for teaching students to analyze films

Article: Why Media Literacy Matters