Posts Tagged ‘Media Literacy’

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

Media Literacy Film

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

My friend, Nick Pernisco of Understand Media presents this film which makes the case for teaching students how to responsibly view media rather than banning their access to that media.  It’s similar to my case for teaching student to safely use Google rather than banning Google.

Design and Storytelling in Film

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

An interesting conversation began in Students 2.0, where Anthony, a high school student, wrote,

“…like home movies, most…student videos are lacking a thesis and a design to support them. As technology allows us to integrate creative projects…we need to give students the tools to funnel their creative efforts into an effective and cohesive whole.”

I made the point that teachers need to be showing students basic elements of film language if they’re going to ask students to make films. We would never teach writing without teaching students how to read text. How can we teach film without pointing out how to read film language?

Anthony felt that this was out of reach of most teachers. He’s probably right since most teachers don’t have this knowledge themselves. However, I don’t think it’s hard for a teacher with an ounce of motivation to learn how to analyze film nor does it take a lot of time to teach because most of us are already subconsciously aware of what goes into the “design” of films.

Tom of Bionic Teaching picked up on this thread and posted an excellent Before and After Powerpoint example of how a powerpoint slide could be improved through better storytelling and by linking design to the storytelling of the slide.

I’d like to try to illustrate the point from a film making perspective and demonstrate how this relates to film. Specifically, let’s look at framing from high and low angles and at varying distances.

These shots come from our film “The City Mouse and the Country Mouse” which was made almost entirely with still images in my first grade class. In this scene, a mouse party is interrupted by the entrance of a cat in the room. The mice flee and a chase ensues.


Most of the teacher and student films I see look worse than the above shot in that they’re taken from even farther away and the camera never moves from that position. The cat might enter, turn her back to the camera and the mice would quickly run off-frame.




So we looked at at least three things in this brief example:

Shooting from different angles can make characters more or less powerful.We can show character’s point of view by cutting to what they are looking at.Shooting from different distances conveys different information about a scene.

Naturally there are technical names for these shots and techniques but I’m trying to simplify things so that a teacher who knows nothing else could teach this.If teachers would teach just these basic film elements by analyzing any popular media, students would be able to produce better video and be better able to analyze all types of media.


Reflection on AFI’s Screen Education Series

The City Mouse and the Country Mouse (See Entire Film)

Digital Storytelling Blog Carnival

Second Life for Toddlers

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Nick Pernisco on the Media Literacy Ning points out this article from the New York Times about how entertainment companies are clamoring to create the next Second Life for the pre-teen and younger set. Nick asks, “Are kids really safe on these sites, or are they being stalked by online predators called advertisers?”

While I think that the sites are safe. Brand loyalty is being created in subtler and subtler ways. Now you don’t have to use the actual product, you can just have an experience using the virtual product and it works just the same in terms of raising your awareness of a brand.

As these technologies are new, however, I wonder if parents are able to talk to their kids about this because of their own limited experience with Second Life environments. It again points to the importance of media literacy education.

If we were teaching students how to be aware of advertisements such as product placement on TV then their knowledge would probably transfer to the video game. In the absence of any media literacy education we’re raising generations of students who are going to fall prey easily to subtle even subliminal messages from advertisers.

Join the Media Literacy Ning if you’re interested in networking with other teachers around this topic.

Lesson Idea: The Power of Logos

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

submitted by Francie Kugelman

I receive Lesson Plans from the New York Times, and the article about food
being placed in a McDonald’s bag tasting better than the same food placed in a plain bag sounds like a great real-life lesson in the classroom. I first heard about this on NPR a few weeks ago.

The lesson plan suggests you start the lesson by putting popcorn in a McDonald’s bag and in a plain bag, and have the students write down in their journal which one tastes better. Imagine the shock on their faces when they find out both bags of popcorn are the same!

The students could read the article, and you could tie this into Money – 4th Grade, the Communication unit, or any persuasive writing units in 5th and 6th. Also, if you teach about logos, this shows the power of the McDonald’s logo.

Extension activities mentioned in the lesson plan: The students could redo the McDonald’s menu and make it healthier. The students could do their own taste test using plain bags and McDonald’s bags. Also, the students could analyze the fat content in food.