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MediaLit Moments

Heuristics: How Our Brains Can Trick Us

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In honest communications, the appearance or feel of something (a sign, words or anything designed for us to engage with or respond to) should help us understand how to respond or engage with it.  A good example of this effect is an optical illusion, where our brain “sees” something that is not there.

Show your students two slides and ask them what they see

AHA!: I often see what I WANT to see!  But this may not be what someone else WANTS me to see.

Grade Level: 3-6

Key Question #3:  How might different people understand this message differently?

Core Concept #3:  Different people experience the same media message differently.

Materials:  Two PowerPoint slides.

Activity:  These optical illusions show how our brain can easily trick us.

Show these slides:

PARIS

IN THE

THE SPRING

(Most people seeing this for the first time say, Paris in the Spring.  But the word “the” appears twice.)

Then, Ask students to read all the words in the box below and count how many times the letter f or F appears:

How many ‘f's?

FINE POINT

It is easy to miss the

Finer

Points in life. Folk are

Frequently guilty of

falling

into this trap.


(The letter f appears eight times in the box. People commonly count seven, by failing to see the last one.)

For more information on Heuristics and Nudge Theory: http://www.businessballs.com/nudge-theory.htm


The Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions of media literacy were developed as part of the Center for Media Literacy’s MediaLit Kit™ and Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS)™ framework.  Used with permission, ©2002-2015.

Last Updated ( Monday, 22 June 2015 14:12 )
 

How Does Media Represent Men? Women?

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In this MediaLit Moment, students have an opportunity to work in teams to explore representations of men and women, and to construct their own depiction of their findings.

Ask students to construct a collage of images that represent men (or women) and to share their findings.

AHA!: The common images that we see of men and women are dramatically different for each sex.

Grade Level: 5-8+

Key Question #4: (Deconstruction) What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in or omitted form this message?
Key Question #4: (Construction) Have I clearly and consistently framed values, lifestyles and points of view in my content?
Core Concept #4: Media have embedded values and points of view.

Key Question #5: (Deconstruction) Why is this message being sent?
Key Question #5: (Construction) Have I communicated my purpose effectively?
Core Concept #5: Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.

Materials: Use about 5 magazines for each group of up to 5 students; color markers or pens, tape or glue; scissors, poster board OR use the GlogsterEDU program using computers with high-speed internet connection, LCD projector and screen.

Activity: Divide students into groups of up to 5 and assign each group to address “how men are depicted” or “how women are depicted”; provide materials and instruct them to construct a collage that reflects images of how men/women are depicted in media.  Students have free reign over their creations – they can show pictures, cartoons, writings, headlines – whatever they find; they will undoubtedly see that they will develop a point of view amongst the group.

After the students complete their collages, ask them to present their findings and to discuss.  Ask students if they were surprised by any of the information depicted – and if so, how?  Did they feel the images they found were “real?”  Discuss the sources of information/pictures that they identified and how the source may have influenced the type of depictions. Then, ask students to deconstruct their media products (the collages) using close analysis techniques and Questions/TIPS.


The Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions of media literacy were developed as part of the Center for Media Literacy’s MediaLit Kit™ and Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS)™ framework.  Used with permission, ©2002-2015.

Last Updated ( Monday, 25 May 2015 14:28 )
 

How Data Looks

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It is one thing to read a listing of dry facts and figures, and it is another to actually see how the data looks in ways that can be illuminating and often surprising. Yet it is still imperative to be confident of the source of the data and the accuracy of the portrayal. The techniques that can be used to illustrate data visually often show a different way of thinking that clearly show how the Text + Context = Message.

In this MediaLit Moment, students have an opportunity to explore the construction of various types of charts, graphs and maps that give them a picture of techniques that can be used to attract attention and go beyond numbers on a page to give new and expanded meanings to the text at hand.

Ask students to evaluate the impact of sample visuals compared to a listing of statistics

AHA!:  A picture is worth a thousand words – or numbers.

Grade Level: 5-8

Key Question #1: Who created this message?
Core Concept #1: All media messages are constructed.

Key Question #3: How might different people understand this message differently?
Core Concept #3: Other people experience the same media message differently.

Materials: Computer with high-speed internet connection, LCD projector and screen. Various visuals and explanations are available at:
http://www.vox.com/2014/9/23/6829399/23-maps-and-charts-that-will-surprise-you

Activity: Review the charts and maps depicted and decide which you would like to critically analyze with your class.  Before sharing any of these visuals with your students, begin by asking a provocative question or two that will help students think about knowledge that they may already have about the subject, for example:

  • Is Africa bigger than the United States, or about the same size?
  • What drugs cause the most deaths in the United States? Are they legal drugs?
  • Are there more murders in the United States today than there were ten years ago?  What makes you think this? Where do you get your information?
  • What countries use the metric system? What is the advantage of using the metric system?

After exploring these questions, show the students the pertinent chart or map that you selected. Ask students if they were surprised by any of the information depicted – and if so, how?  And why?  Reference KQ #3, and CC #3 as students reveal their differing perceptions.  Then ask the students to Think-Pair-Share, focus on KQ #1, so that they identify the source of the information.  If students have access to iPads or computers, ask them to look up the source of the information and use a checklist to determine whether the organization/website is credible or not.  Discuss briefly, asking students for evidence to support their opinion on the credibility of the source and the depiction.

 

The Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions of media literacy were developed as part of the Center for Media Literacy’s MediaLit Kit™ and Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS)™ framework.  Used with permission, ©2002-2015.

 

Your Date with Fossil Fuels?

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Energy industry public relations campaigns can be a hit-and-miss proposition.  An amateur journalist might be able to spot the stock photographs that the coal industry used to create the image that everyone in the region supports coal miners and mining.  But, other communications might be very sophisticated.  During the Beijing Olympics of 2008, GE aired a CG animation ad in its 'Ecomagination' series in which a crane takes flight along a beautiful Chinese coastline and transforms into a jumbo jet.  Others wait patiently in line for take-off while sea turtles (i.e., ground traffic) cross the pristine beach.  The narration prompts audiences to "imagine a way to fly that not only helps save millions of gallons of fuel, but actually reduces emissions." The metaphorical power of the images and the short duration of the ad make it likely that audiences will forget to ask how such technical advances might be achieved. In this MediaLit Moment, your middle level students will evaluate an energy industry ad which hinges on a single device:  the personification of the fossil fuels industry itself.     

Ask students to evaluate the effectiveness of an energy industry message

AHA!:  This video talks about an important environmental issue, but it's still trying to win me over to the advertiser's point of view.

Grade Level: 6-8

Key Question #2: What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?

Core Concept #2:  Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules

Key Question #5: Why is this message being sent?

Core Concept #5: Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power

Materials: Computer with high-speed internet connection, LCD projector and screen. Advertisement from the Environmental Policy Alliance, "Breaking Up with Fossil Fuels Is Hard to Do," at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6A6j1r3Kbuo

Activity: Ask students if they can recall any energy industry ads they've seen in the recent past.  How did they react to them?  Why?  Screen the fossil fuels ad at least twice.  What did they like about the ad.  What didn't they like?  Did they find it persuasive?  Why or why not?  Discuss the corresponding relationship between the character of Joe and themselves as audiences for the ad.  What did it mean for them to be on a "date" with fossil fuels?  How did they react to that?  Did they find this use of personification persuasive?  Why or why not?

Extended Activity: Using this advertisement and any other examples as source materials for analysis and reflection, ask students to construct what they believe to be a persuasive pro-industry ad.  Note: the GE ad mentioned above ad can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2JUFTU5Lhg

The Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions of media literacy were developed as part of the Center for Media Literacy’s MediaLit Kit™ and Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS)™ framework.  Used with permission, ©2002-2015.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 March 2015 13:03 )
 

Big Ads for the Big Game

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The Super Bowl is known for airing the most expensive commercials of the new season, often costing more than four million dollars per minute during the big game.  From cars to unused phone data, the advertisements try to appeal to the audience on an emotional basis – to pull at our heartstrings with puppies, children and celebrities.  And now that the statistics are available for review, let’s take a minute to ask what’s the big deal?

Explore the reasons why so much effort and expense go into this one day for advertisers.

AHA!: A huge audience means lots of eyeballs seeing the brands, and brand recognition means money!

Grade Level: 6-8

Key Question #5: Why is this message being sent? (Key Word: Purpose)

Core Concept #5: Most messages are sent to gain profit and/or power

Key Question #3: How might different people understand this message differently? (Key Word: Audience)

Core Concept #3: Different people understand the same message differently

Materials: Internet links to two or three Super Bowl ads and a projection screen.  We recommend the Advertising Age site as they have background information about most ads that ran during the Super Bowl: http://adage.com/article/special-report-super-bowl/super-bowl-xlix-ad-chart-buying-big-game-commercials/295841/ or for additional videos, try http://www.ispot.tv/events/super-bowl-commercials.

Activity: View the ads as a class before revealing the costs for air time.  Ask your students why a company would spend 4 million dollars to show a one-minute ad.  Then tell them the size of the viewing audience (averaging 114.4 million viewers per minute on NBC’s Sunday night broadcast, becoming the most watched event in American TV history*).

Ask the class: Were the ads worth the money in their opinion?  Will lots of people go out and buy these products now?  Do they think the ads were designed specifically for the audience?  Who was the target audience? Were other viewers targeted besides traditional football fans?  Did the new commercials persuade them personally to buy a new product or like a brand?

*International Business Times Feb. 11, 2014


The Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions of media literacy were developed as part of the Center for Media Literacy’s MediaLit Kit™ and Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS)™ framework.  Used with permission, © 2002-2015, Center for Media Literacy, http://www.medialit.com

Last Updated ( Thursday, 19 February 2015 15:43 )
 
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Previous Issues:

 21st century skills
 a year in review 2014
 a year in review december 2012
 advertising consumer debt and media literacy
 big data
 body image and media literacy
 building a strong foundation
 call to action
 cell phones as learning tools
 change management in schools
 citizen journalism
 cml media literacy trilogy
 comics and media literacy
 criteria for media literacy instruction
 digital britain
 fair use for media literacy
 faith and media literacy
 frameworks for inquiry
 global citizenship media literacy
 global education
 globalization
 heuristics nudge theory and the internet of things
 history of media literacy
 len masterman and the big ideas of media literacy
 libraries museums and informal learning
 maps and media literacy
 media and body image
 media deconstruction as essential learning skill
 media literacy risk assessment
 media literacy and 21st century skills
 media literacy and arts education
 media literacy and common core
 media literacy and masculinity
 media literacy and media construction
 media literacy and nutrition
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 media literacy and pharmaceutical advertising
 media literacy and science
 media literacy and student empowerment
 media literacy and the environment
 media literacy and video games
 media literacy for grown ups
 media literacy in the community
 media literacy policy and legislation
 media morals and empowerment
 media violence and media relationships
 media violence
 monsters and media literacy
 new curriculum and media literacy
 online privacy and media literacy
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 parents and media literacy
 participation in what
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 propaganda and media literacy
 reality tv and media literacy
 research media literacy
 responding to racism and stereotypes in media
 sexism in media
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 systems thinking and media literacy
 teaching healthy skepticism
 television and media literacy
 the mediated city and the public
 us department of education
 voices of media literacy
 what media literacy is and is not
 whats in a name
 where are we now institutionalizing media literacy

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