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The Spiral

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Are you aware of how many times you post or share on social media each day? Do you feel secure sharing posts and photos within your friend group? How about outside your friend group? A recent study by MediaSmarts in Canada, found that young people shared personal posts with unintended recipients at an alarming rate. Posts were captured and shared without the consent or knowledge of the original sender. As the MediaSmarts report makes clear on several levels, media literacy education in needed! CML teaches students to use the Empowerment Spiral of Awareness, Analysis, Reflection and Action. The Empowerment Spiral* is an effective tool for exploring one’s relationship to media.

Take your students through the Empowerment Spiral using their own data.

AHA! I use social media more/less than I realized!

Grade: 9-12

Materials: Personal devices (phone, ipad, …), computer and projection screen, paper and colored pencils or infographics program (for example, canva.com or other free program), CML Empowerment Spiral.

Key Question #1: Who created this message? (consumer). What am I authoring? (producer).

Core Concept #1: All media messages are constructed.

Key Question #5: Why is this message being sent? (consumer). Why am I sending this message? (producer).

Core Concept #5: Most media messages are sent to gain profit and/or power (power can mean influence, popularity, intimidation…).

Activity: Ask students How many tweets, posts, messages… do you send each day? Have students make a list of their favorite social media platforms and how often they post to each platform per day – include Shared posts. The idea is to have real data so they will need to count, no guessing. Have each student create a simple bar graph illustrating their findings (Awareness). Pair with another student to discuss the results. Is it more or less than they expected? Any surprises? (Analysis). Is the convenience of digital communication worth the vulnerability and privacy issues that come with social media? Do they ever share posts not meant for sharing? Why? (Reflection). What can they do differently? (Action).

Extended activity: If appropriate for your students, discuss the report from MediaSmarts about sexting (http://mediasmarts.ca/research-policy, Feb. 2018). What do the students think? Have they shared inappropriate posts? If so, why? What should they do differently? Hint: Always ask, Why am I sending this message? Key word: Purpose.

*The Empowerment Spiral is based on the work of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire.

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, © 2002-2018, Center for Media Literacy.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 February 2018 16:17
 

Counting Characters

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We have been living in a media world driven by sound bites for many years now, but Twitter has taken that trend to a whole new level. A sound bite is a quick clip or phrase that media outlets use to (supposedly) sum up a whole story or issue in one quick simple statement. A sound bite is essentially an audio version of a tweet. Like a sound bite, when we are communicating with tweets of 140-280 characters, we are not necessarily getting or telling the full story since the message lacks context. This is a problem. But, given that millions of tweets are sent each day it behooves us to train students to use the platform in a positive way.

Have your students generate a tweet as a community service message.

AHA! Different formats impact my message and creativity!

Grade: 8-12

This is a production activity. The following Key Questions are aimed at the producer of the message. To see Key Questions for consumers, please go to our website www.medialit.com.

Key Question #1: What am I authoring?
Core Concept #1: All media messages are constructed.
Key Question #2: Does my message reflect understanding in format, creativity, technology?
Core Concept #2: Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules.
Key Question #3: Is my message engaging and compelling for my audience?
Core Concept #3: Different people experience the same message differently.
Key Concept #4: Have I clearly and consistently framed values, lifestyles and points of view?
Core Concept #4: Media have embedded values and points of view.
Key Question #5: Have I communicated my purpose?
Core Concept #5: Most media messages are sent to gain profit and/or power (influence).

Materials: School twitter feed (#) for this project. Smartphones and projection screen.

Activity: In pairs, ask students to decide on a community service message they want to share with their classmates. Examples might be: reminder about a clothes drive for disaster victims, register to vote, driver safety, recycling... and have them create a tweet (only one tweet) to get themessageout. Displaythetwitterfeedonalargescreenanddiscussasthetweetscome in.

Ask students: Was this difficult? Do they wish they could tell a fuller story? Or offer more details? How did they decide what to include or omit? Why did they choose this particular issue for their classmates (audience)? Is there enough information in a tweet to ensure understanding? Do they like this mode of communication for important subjects or would they prefer a different way to share the information? Is the character limit a plus or minus? Use the Key Questions to analyze the tweets.

Additional resources: Article from NPR teaching students to use social media the right way.

The Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions of media literacy w ere developed as part of the Center for Media Literacy’s MediaLit KitTM and Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS)TM framework. Used with permission, © 2002-2018, Center for Media Literacy.




Last Updated on Monday, 29 January 2018 11:10
 

Selfie Fix-ation

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Did you know the word selfie is now in the dictionary? Per Merriam-Webster online, it means: an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks. When it comes to posting images online, we all know about cropping and filters, but what might come as a surprise is that there are apps designed to alter selfies by “fixing” facial and/or body features. These apps promote the notion that a natural look is not pretty enough and contribute to unrealistic standards for beauty.

Ask students if an altered selfie is still a selfie?

AHA! Some selfies are not real.

Grade: 7-12

Key Question #1: Who created this message?
Core Concept #1: All media messages are constructed.
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 #4: What values, lifestyles, points of view are included or omitted in this message?
Core Concept #4: Media have embedded values and points of view.
Key Question #5: Why is this message being sent?
Core Concept #5: Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.

Materials: Video from Amanda Hess, The New York Times, The Ugly Business of Beauty Appshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bch1lxd7prs

Activity: Ask students to pair up and talk about their social media habits. Do they post selfies? Do they alter their selfies? Do they think celebrities alter their selfies? If so, why? What do they think when they see a digitally altered selfie? Why do people post selfies in the first place? Is an altered selfie still a selfie?

Show The Ugly Business of Beauty Apps video and continue the discussion. Ask a few students to share their thoughts with the class as they address the Key Questions/Core Concepts of media literacy.

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, © 2002-2017, Center for Media Literacy, http://www.medialit.com

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 November 2017 14:41
 

Feed for Thought

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Since millions of Americans get their news from Facebook, it makes sense to examine how that news is dispersed on the social network. The Wall Street Journal created a chart called Blue Feed/Red Feed showing side-by-side Facebook feeds for users classified as “very liberal” or “very conservative” by Facebook’s algorithm. In other words, a computer classified users as liberal or conservative based upon previous Facebook activity (likes, shares, etc.). The WSJ graphic illustrates the very real concern about “echo chambers” among Facebook users.

Ask students to examine their Facebook feeds to see what’s included and what’s not.

AHA! Someone else is deciding what I see!

Grade Level: 10-12

Key Question #3: What values, lifestyles and points of view are included or omitted?
Core Concept #3: Media have embedded values and points of view.
Key Question #5: Why is this message being sent?
Core Concept #5: Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.

Materials: Smart Phones or Computers

Activity: Show students the WSJ Blue/Red graphic. Choose a subject from the menu (i.e. President or Healthcare) that is best suited to your particular class/grade level.

Then ask students to make a list of the articles and trending topics that appear on their personal Facebook pages. Have students pair up and share their assessments of their feeds using the Key Questions and Core Concepts for media literacy.

Discussion questions: What’s included in your feed? What’s missing from your feed? Is it OK for companies like Facebook to determine what you see? Or to categorize users as liberal or conservative? Why would Facebook bother to categorize its users? Do you think the ads you see are associated with the category Facebook determined for you? What is the benefit of seeing stories from different angles and sources? What can you do to seek out other sources of information?

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, © 2002-2017, Center for Media Literacy, http://www.medialit.com

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 October 2017 12:54
 

Your Search or Mine?

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Not so long ago, when we wanted to find the definition of a word, we went to a printed dictionary and looked up the word. Regardless of where we were in the world, if we used the same edition of the same dictionary, the word would be defined in the same way, on the same page, in the same typeface.

What happens when we do a search today, using the same key words? Ask students to find out and see for themselves.

AHA! I can enter the exact same key words to search Google or Bing (or any other browser), but my results may be very different from others.

Grade Level: 7-9

Key Question #3: How might others experience this message differently?
Core Concept #3: Different people experience the same message differently.
Key Question #5: Why is this message being sent?
Core Concept #5: Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.

Materials: Use Smart Phones or Computers with a browser

Activity: Ask students to pair with a partner. Each pair should have a different device to do a search using the following terms (and write down examples of responses from each device as the searches are completed):

Pizza near me
Medical clinic
Tips for Healthy Living
What is Obamacare?
What is the Affordable Care Act?

What are some examples of your findings? Did you get the same findings from each device? What were some differences? Was there some overlap? Were the findings presented in different orders? What do you think may account for some differences? Why – or why not? -- do you think these differences may be important?

The Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions of media literacy were developed as part of the Center for Media Literacy’s MediaLit KitTM and Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS)TM framework. Used with permission, © 2002- 2017, Center for Media Literacy, http://www.medialit.com

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 August 2017 12:52
 


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