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Archive for the ‘Chapter 1’ Category

In previous posts, the impact of The Uncanny Valley (or Uncatty Valleys) was discussed through a variety of examples of how CGI can be used to create or alter human forms or other living creatures, along with the impact of such sights on viewers.

In recent months, there were many strong reactions to just how many uses of AI “creatures” were seen in commercials during 2019, such as during the Super Bowl.  Whether they are reflecting current fears or aspirations, or if they are being used to shape perceptions and obsessions with technology and its role in people’s lives, there is no question that how audiences are able to process and decipher digitally-created and manipulated images, particularly those of humans, is a key media question for viewers today.  And for young people, who are generally well-versed in “personal branding” and the current career choice of “influencer,” they might even wonder if those being selected to influence them are even real.

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Brie Larson stepping into the fray in Captain Marvel

Popular Culture revolves around so many factors, and simply being popular is certainly high among them. This generally requires appealing to a wide audience, and how a media creation can do so seems to balance on some pretty thin tightropes these days.  This article by Cara Buckley about how the release of the movie Captain Marvel has played out through digital media discusses the impact of critical platforms, trends in social norms, and trolling on the reception of movies and their place in our culture. Indeed, even their right to develop a healthy existence, or at least as much as the metrics and contributors to Rotten Tomatoes allow them to.

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Three years ago, on these pages was the post Snapchat 101. Haha, how quaint.  Right?  Heard about Bytedance lately?  Or Musical.ly?  (If not, check out this thoughtful piece by Anastasia Bell from Medium, if you hadn’t seen it earlier this year.) So what is the price of “meaningless stuff” — as some describe the content shared through apps like these?  We’ll be calculating these prices for a long, long time, I think.  Some things change, and some never will — like the elusive nature of trends and what new gotta-do-it twist will draw in teens and even younger viewers, and now creators, of media.  And while certain content of The Merchants of Cool might seem “old” by now — are the core messages of it really all that passé?

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With more exciting news in our Resources category (such as the Prelinger Archives and Portraits of America posts this year), the Library of Congress has announced that the National Screening Room is now online and features extensive resources for media literacy education.  Many items from this vital national archive are now accessible to the general public and classrooms across the country (and world).  As noted in an article by CBS News, among its highlights are: the classic Edwin S. Porter short The Great Train Robbery (featured for study in Chapter 2), the 1953 feature The Hitch-Hiker by Ida Lupino (a prime director for study with Chapter 5), and a wide variety of diverse types of media such as advertisements, PSAs, and home movies that are discussed in such posts as What Exactly is that Movie? on mediateacher.net and in our investigations of motion picture language and screenwriting throughout Moving Images. 

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As we wind down the school year, teachers in a variety of disciplines — particularly social studies and media literacy — might be trying to wrestle with the conflicting images of the President of the United States engaging in talks with the Supreme Leader of North Korea. Of particular interest to educators who deal with moviemaking and media messages was the rather unique video created to deliver a message of the American administration’s intentions to Kim Jong-un and his government.  Here are some useful resources and commentary on the sort of trailer/PSA created by the current American administration: a journalistic media-based commentary about “Trump’s Video Pitch to Kim,” the actual video as posted by the Wall Street Journal, and coverage of the event by a reporter for the Washington Post. 

And the question — or challenge — to ask of one’s students is certainly, “do you think you could do better?”

For those interested in other topics related to media literacy and social studies, there are a number of posts on mediateacher.net, including: Language and Literacy: Case 1 – “Fake” News and Language and Literacy: Case 2 – The Troll

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