Posts Tagged ‘Media Literacy Education’

3575304_origSummary of points from the recent article The Role of Collaboration and Feedback in Advancing Student Learning in Media Literacy and Video Production in the JMLE has appeared in Edutopia, the online magazine from the George Lucas Educational Foundation.

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IMG_0900The new school year is beginning!  (Or has begun a little while ago for some and will begin in a bit more time for others…)  So here is a new round of resources, concentrating on lesson plans, curriculum development materials, and perspectives concerning a variety of levels in media literacy education.  From the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island, here is a comprehensive page of links to valuable resources.  And you may also want to consult the site for Project Look Sharp, which provides curriculum kits and lesson plans that tend to focus on media literacy for younger grades.

In addition, educators looking for further resources dealing with the type of analytical skills detailed in my previous post about a recent work by artist and storyteller Asaf Hanuka should consult Close Reading of Media Texts by Frank Baker, which provides examples – mostly targeted to middle school contexts – related to advertising, photography, movies, and more.  There is also a link to an excellent article by William Kist, New Literacies and the Common Core.

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Casinghino NCTE 1Don’t they love their acronyms!  American public education is following the examples of the business world and bureaucratic government circles in adopting an acronym for every initiative that is launched these days.

So, as I mentioned in an earlier post, this weekend I will be participating in a panel with authors Frank Baker and William Kist to discuss Film: A 21st Century Common Core Literacy.  For my presentation, I will be addressing the value of incorporating media literacy education principles as a support of the guidelines and objectives of the Common Core, and I will share specific examples that I have created for media literacy classrooms which dovetail well with high school ELA curricula.  In particular, I will discuss a comprehensive instructional resource that I have prepared for Homer’s The Odyssey and the film O Brother Where Art Thou? by the Coen Brothers.  In addition, I will share conceptual ideas behind a complete set of modules that I have developed in which I link principles of media literacy development in the chapters and featured motion pictures of Moving Images to exemplar texts of the Common Core.

CasinghIno NCTE 2For each of these text/movie thematic pairings, there will be performance tasks, project-based learning opportunities, and questions for use in SBAC-type assessments.  Hope to see some of you at the 2013 NCTE Annual Conference! — and for those who can’t make it, stay tuned for all of the materials that I’ve described here!


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Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou, dismissed from the Olympics for a racist tweet

One of the most important – and complex – developments regarding media and the Olympics has undoubtedly been the integration of the Internet in the diffusion of information, images, and analyses.  Of particular note this year has been the place of Twitter in this evolving landscape.  Greek and Swiss athletes have been dismissed from the 2012 London Olympics because of Twitter posts, while a journalist has had his Twitter account blocked because of his repeated criticism of NBC, which has had its own negative impact on Twitter (among other stories).  And here is an article by legal journalist Trevor Timm on free speech issues generated by all this Twitter activity.

Currently, educators are capitalizing on the communicative possibilities of social media for their uses in the classroom, while they also wrestle with the challenges posed by the use of these types of Internet platforms in schools.  It is clear that the critical thinking skills that are at the core of media literacy education have become more vital than ever.  An earlier event from this summer demonstrated this clearly to me.  In France, a Twitter trending topic generated a rather humorous response from French comic Elie Semoun (who had already developed a rather thorny, and not funny, history with Twitter): “I confirm my death,” he responded from his Twitter account after the “story” of his death became a “news item” for a number of hours, having been stirred up by a flurry of Twitter posts.  This has happened to other celebrities, such as Paul McCartney, but this response by the “dead man” was particularly original.  All it required was a small dose of media literacy skills to figure out this was not news and certainly not reliable – and, as it turns, out, not true.  The importance of our abilities in analyzing, evaluating, and properly using media resources has been one of the key lessons of this Twitter-filled summer.

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Political satire with Amy Poehler on SNL

In an earlier post, I highlighted an interview of Neal Gabler by Bill Moyers about politics and movies.  As the American presidential elections heat up, it is a good time to return to this topic with a few interesting links and ideas.

One of the most interesting sites concerning politics and the media available for students and educators is on the Museum of the Moving Image site: the Living Room Candidate.  These pages that contain presidential ads from their first appearance on television are a treasure trove for Media Literacy and Social Studies teachers and can serve as an invaluable resource for curriculum development.  A good place to start is to have students work in collaborative teams – which can combine media and history classes – to develop analyses of media messages seen through historical and communicative contexts and to create their own politically-oriented media messages.

How do young people get their news? How do they interpret media messages?

One of the most prevalent manners in which media addresses young people is through satire (often, it’s the only way that youth have any connection to current events).  Here is an example of a Learning Blog lesson plan from the nytimes.com website.   For this series of lessons, students can develop analyses of satire in which they compare and contrast news pieces from mainstream text media and parallel satiric pieces from motion picture media.  Chris Kennedy, a journalism teacher and colleague at my high school, shared with me the following two examples he has used: (1) the debate on Paul Revere’s ride initiated by the comments of Sarah Palin, as viewed on The Colbert Report and through interviews with Palin; and (2) satiric commentary on the role of the vice presidency and contemporary issues such as gay rights.  The Saturday Night Live piece on Vice-President Biden works very well, and can be used with a number of other historic SNL pieces, such as the infamous Amy Poehler rap delivered during the news segment with then-candidate Sarah Palin.

It is also very interesting to note that, in my experience, unless required to produce a piece that deals with political issues, students tend to avoid “serious topics” completely in their media creations.  I can also add that it has been noted that students in our school tend to use a satiric approach in virtually all of the commercials they produce for school events.  At the end of the 2011-2012 school year, a report was produced by students for this unit in which they demonstrated that 100% of the short commercials and PSAs produced by students and shown during the morning announcements at school that year were of a mocking or satiric nature in regards to the event or topic.

Thanks also to my Social Studies department colleagues Katie McGurn and Tim Shea for sharing ideas and working together on lessons.

For some final thoughts about politics and media, check out this interview with media literacy guru Frank W. Baker, who is the author of Political Campaigns and Political Advertising: A Media Literacy Guide, among other titles.

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Common Core State Standards Initiative

Many educators across the country have been, are, or will be busy reading, dissecting, evaluating, and debating the Common Core State Standards as a new guide to developing benchmarks, lessons, and assessments across K-12 curricula.

The development of higher order thinking – as reflected in reading and writing, analysis and creation – is at the core of the CCSS.  As one reads through the standards, it is clear that the development of a framework for evaluating and creating media – whether print or non-print – is at the core of the skills highlighted in the standards.  These skills are the cornerstones to every chapter in Moving Images, and this should be seen as welcome news by the National Association of Media Literacy Education and other groups that have developed standards for media literacy based on higher-order skills.

Specifically, in the Anchor Standards, media educators must note a standard listed under “Integration of Knowledge and Ideas”:  “(7) Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.”  In addition, the use of technology is noted in numerous anchor standards, particularly “digital sources,” and comparison and contrast with visual media is noted in multiple anchor standards.  In the Speaking and Listening Standards, under the section of “Comprehension and Collaboration” students are asked to “(2) Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g. visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.”  This mirrors common media literacy education standards such as those established by NAMLE, and these goals reflect many of the essential questions posed in Moving Images, such as those investigated in Chapters 1, 5, and 6.

There are clearly countless questions and challenges that exist and will arise for educators as they wrestle with this major new mandate.  In particular, the stress on non-fiction texts already has many English teachers concerned about the effects of implementing these goals on the study of literature, and the lack of effective integration of creativity in these goals is also a source of profound frustration for many educators.

Update: here are articles and perspectives from Education Week on current status of CCSS.  And here is a Common Core photo blog.

Update 2: Here is a more recent blog post about the CCSS for a presentation I made at the 2013 Northeast Media Literacy Conference.

Update 3: Here are resources by PBS’s LearningMedia initiative that provide information and materials related to media literacy and implementing the Common Core.

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