Archive for November, 2012

These “Don’t Buy It!” pages from the PBS Kids site are designed for younger folks, but they’re pretty fun for anybody — and there are potential applications and ideas for high school teachers, some jumping off points here, including for cross-curricular work with health classes.  There are interactive questions and games for critical thinking about advertising, entertainment-related issues, and lots more, as well as excellent media literacy resources for teachers offered by PBS.   And in putting up this post, I just had to include this image from PBS’s media savvy creation “WordGirl,” featuring narration by Chris Parnell (of the classic “Lazy Sunday” digital shorts with Andy Samberg) and many other great voice talents.

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Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif in David Lean’s newly restored classic “Lawrence of Arabia”

Just a couple of weeks ago, a newly restored version of David Lean‘s classic film Lawrence of Arabia was released on BluRay.  Here is an excellent article on the highly instructive story of its restoration.  This topic provides excellent examples and insights into the relationship of traditional celluloid-based moviemaking and digital media.

Here are some useful links on the topic of film preservation: National Film Preservation Foundation, Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation (which always has wonderfully produced and informative clips streaming on their site), a Kodak page on movie archiving, and here is a clearinghouse page with lots of links to topics associated with film preservation and motion picture history.

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Where is the truth and what does media communicate to us? Ben Affleck standing in center with the real-life inspirations for “Argo,” including his character, CIA agent Tony Mendez, on far left (Keegan Bursaw/Embassy of Canada)

In earlier posts, I have discussed possibilities of cross-curricular work with social studies courses and this fall has offered countless examples of further opportunities to use media literacy to enhance learning in social studies classrooms.  Here are related pages from the newseum siteEdutopia, and Frank Baker’s Media Literacy Clearinghouse.  For the media literacy classroom, one of the most interesting aspects of this election was the creation of videos outside of the two campaigns and their dissemination through the Internet, such as the lip-dub treatments of the debates and other comedy pieces such as the gangnam-style parody with a Mitt Romney imitator done for the College Humor site.  At my own school, social studies teacher Mike Barile had his Civics students make their own videos for fictional campaigns (no, not comedy parodies but ones that suggest new approaches to official campaign ads) and they used them for comparison and analysis with current media and historical examples from American presidential races.

Still from Edward Zwick’s 1989 movie “Glory,” from which certain scenes can provide interesting comparison and contrast to “Lincoln”

Among current movies, two releases may provide for interesting discussion and study in either American history or International Studies curricula.  Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln joins the rich trove of Civil War movies that can be used in the classroom, while Ben Affleck’s Argo can be used in relation to studies of the history of Iran and its relations with the United States during the 20th century.  Here is an excellent counterpoint piece written by radio journalist Jian Ghomeshi in response to the depiction of Iranians and the political context of Iran in Argo, while here is a Washington Post article on the real people behind the story of this movie.  For Lincoln, there is an iPad book for the movie that may be useful for teachers.

Speaking about iBooks, in an earlier post about Tim Burton, I talked about his recent movie Frankenweenie.  Disney has released a free iBook for the movie, which is highly recommended.

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