Media Literacy

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Grade Level: 10th-11th Grade

Time Needed: 5 Classes

Focus: This lesson is focused on exploring media literacy through advertising and using Photoshop to recreate a misleading advertisement into a more truthful one.

a. Evaluate how the principles of media arts such as repetition, unity and contrast are used in the creation of, presentation of, or response to media artworks. (
b. Integrate tools, materials, and techniques to create original products for artistic purposes. (
c. Analyze how a work in media arts influences and is influenced by the personal, social, cultural and historical contexts. (
d. Revise creative work based on artistic intent and using multiple sources of critique and feedback. (

Motivational Resources:
-Powerpoint about media literacy and assignment introduction
-Video examples:
-Magazines, online ads
-Teacher example of studio project
Old Ad:
New Ad (Teacher's Remake):
(no longer pictured)

-Video tutorials:

Lasso tutorial -

Selection Tools -

Cropping and Cutting out -

Changing Background -

How to Create a Background -

Art Materials:
-Magazines, newspapers, online ads
-Photoshop (or open source software like GIMP)
-Computers (Mac or PC)
- 2 or 3 Scanners
-Printer paper
- 10 Flash drives
-Crescent board or other mounting board (one for each student)
-Adhesive: double stick tape and/or glue sticks

Introduction to the Lesson:
Media literacy is important to enable a person to understand, evaluate and ask questions about what they see and hear. This can be traced back as early as the 1600s. It was first used to sway a large group of people to believe a common goal. Propaganda usually refers to a political standpoint and appeals to an emotion to gain a strong opinion from the viewer. If the artist of the propaganda gets you take a side on an argument then it's doing its job. The word 'propaganda' has changed through the eras into a more general term. In present day the term refers to more manipulative media and advertisements.

When identifying with these advertisements we see everyday we need to learn how to become literate. As consumers it is important to understand the mask that covers the advertisements we believe to be true, in all aspects of digital media. In film we can see how editing takes a large role in adjusting the way we see things. Areas to take into consideration are the way the artist puts together a specific piece of work. When looking at magazine ads the editors have complete control over each add that is printed. Color, font, size, placement, overall weight of the composition, and the words added all give the viewer a direction to go. Whether the message is negative or positive an opinion is developed and the advertisement is successful.

Gaining a positive or negative view is important, but it is also important to identify if the advertisement is misleading. Editors are really good at taking a product, that may or may not be good for you and making it look 'too good to be true'. Using a trained eye to break down an ad into to what it is exactly that the advertiser is saying is important when buying into a product. Students will explore and demonstrate this by picking an advertisement they find misleading and indentifying how the editor put it together to create the desired opinion.


Full Lesson Plan:

Technology and Teachers


I read a scholarly article that was entitled "Creativity in Digital Art Education Teaching Practices." This article discussed the lack of integration of technology into the present day art education classrooms.

Some art educators are starting to get resistant about adopting new digital techniques into their repertoire. There are numerous reasons in which this is occurring. According to Diane Gregory, part of this may be due to the No Child Left Behind Act. Since this act has been put in place, there has been a 21% decrease in funding for art education, and a 19% decrease in classroom time for art students. Another reason teachers have been resistant is due to a lack of training and access to training. The art instructors do not feel as though they have been adequately instructed on how to use new digital technology in the classroom. Educators tend to be leery of integrating new material when they don't feel 100% confident in their knowledge of the topic. One last issue discussed was the lack of software and programs available for the students. The school is not providing the art teachers with the software and programs that are necessary to introduce this new digital media to the students, mostly due to funding problems. (Black 19-34)

Integration of these new technologies is crucial in this day and age. The world is changing all around us and people are becoming more and more attached to digital technology. Some even say that teenagers these days are actually "screenagers," due to their massive amount of computer use. If teachers do not stay up to date with this technology, the students will lose interest. They will not learn how to harness their creativity into these new digital technologies. Digital media is a tool that keeps children excited about learning and keeps them current in today's ever changing society. Art educators need to take action and stop being so resistant about integrating these new ideas. I think the art teachers are just not as aware as they need to be, and that is causing the problem. There are a few ways in which this can be solved, even with the lack of funding in today's economy.

What Teachers Can Do:
Teachers can start by training themselves. Some art educators think that just because they have not been professionally taught material, that they are not suited to teach the material. Because digital technologies are ever changing, teachers need to be proactive and teach themselves. Many art educators who currently use technology in their classrooms are self taught. Art teachers need to be constantly keeping up to date with digital media techniques. There are so many great educational and tutorial sites available for teachers to learn the techniques. There are also many sites with lesson plans available to help teachers get started with integrating new programs into their classrooms. The decrease in classroom time for art educators is not something they can personally change, but they can change their lessons in order to adopt new techniques. Teachers need to be able to modify their lessons to be more efficient in times like this. If the art teacher feels there isn't enough time to integrate a completely new lesson into their curriculum, they can adjust their current lessons to add some digital technology use. This could be as simple as having the students convert a pencil drawing they did into a digital document. That at least gets the students started in working with art and technology together. The last issue discussed in the article, the lack of software and programs provided, can also be solved with a proactive teacher. If the teacher just does a little research, they will find there are many digital art programs available for free on the web. There are also programs available, such as Adobe Design Suite, which are heavily discounted for educational purposes. Also, many computers come with free programs already installed that can be used, such as Garage Band, Photo Booth, and iMovie. Even if the school does not have Macs, many equivalent programs are equipped on PCs. As long as the teacher can get access to a computer lab, they can access art related digital media.

Related Links:


Free Programs:

Tutorial Sites:

Adobe Educational Site (Lesson Plans/Tutorials):


Black, Joanna. "Creativity in Digital Art Education Teaching Practices." Art Education 64.5 (2011): 19-34. UMD Library: EBSCO. Web. 1 Dec 2011. .

Pixilation Exploration: A Lesson Plan

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My Pixilation:

Grade Level: 10th Grade

Time Needed: 4 class periods

Focus: This lesson is focused on exploring the different methods and possibilities of pixilation.

A. Students will be able to identify the elements in media arts such as image, sound, space, time, motion and sequence. (

B. Students will integrate tools, materials, and techniques to create original products for artistic purposes. (

C. Students will integrate linear and non-linear software including video- and sound-editing software to create original products for expressive intent. (

Motivational Resources:
-My Blog:
-Powerpoint (to introduce project, give history, and show examples)
-Video Examples (on blog, powerpoint, and handout)
-Assignment sheet handout
-Animation Book

Art Materials:
-Computer with Photoshop, iMovie, and Garage Band
-Props, by request

Introduction to the Lesson:
Pixilation is an animation technique in which real people are the subject in a frame-by-frame shooting method to create an animated film. The name "pixilation" is taken from the word "pixies" which is a mythological creature. They called it this because the subjects seemed to be getting moved by some unseen creature. The subject would move a little, then a picture would be shot. The subject then moves a little again, and a picture would be shot, and so on and so forth. The principle behind it is very simple and does not require any high tech computer imagery to make the animation. Pixilation has been used in two main ways: to create films, and to create music videos. Some pixilation films date as far back as 1908. Some pixilation music videos that you may be more familiar with are the 2010/2011 Kindle commercials.

One of the reasons pixilation is so intriguing is that it defies the laws of physics. Different techniques can be used to create these effects. Scooting can be created by having a person stand still with their feet together. The photographer will then take a picture. The subject then takes a small step forward and stands still once more, and another photo is taken. This action can be done repeatedly and will create a scooting effect. By having the subject lay on the ground, many effects can be created that a normal person would not be able to do, such as flying, jumping long distances, or flipping. This effect was used in the famous pixilation, "Her Morning Elegance." A final effect that can be interesting to use in pixilation is having a character appear and disappear very quickly. This can be created by shooting a frame that does not have the character in it at all, then shoot a frame in which the character is fully visible in the frame. Vice versa can be done to make the character disappear. Many more examples of neat techniques and effects in pixilation can be found online.

Lesson Plan PDF:

Vector Art

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Illustrator is a very useful program to create vector art. Vector art is the use of points, lines, and shapes, based on mathematical expressions, which create images in computer graphics. A benefit to working with vector images as opposed to rasterized images is that the size of the image can be amplified without it pixelating or losing its sharpness. One of the most important tools that is used in Illustrator when creating vector art is the pen tool. Some say the pen tool is a difficult tool to really understand. I think the best way to get used to the pen tool is to just practice, practice, practice.

Lesson Plan/Exercise:

I found an online lesson that explores the use of the pen tool. I found the lesson through the Adobe Education Exchange. The lesson itself is actually on a blog called Brain Buffet, which is an education-based blog. The lesson is almost in a game-like setup. There are four space ships in four different rectangles. Each space ship is cyan, magenta, yellow, or black. There are dividers with small openings that run down the middle. The point of the assignment is using the pen tool and handles to put a path from one space ship to another. The student cannot just click on one space ship and then click on the other and edit the handle. They must click and drag on the first space ship and guess how long the handle will need to be to connect it to the other space ship without hitting the divider.

Screen shot 2011-11-10 at 10.53.13 AM.png


I think this lesson is a good way to explore the most basic part of the pen tool in a fun way. It is almost like a game lesson, which will make the activity more interesting for students. I think this is more of like an exercise than a full-blown lesson. It could be a partial class period exercise that will go hand in hand with a more elaborate pen tool assignment. I would probably do this assignment with high school students. I think Illustrator is a little harder to understand as a program, so I think young students would have a hard time being able to grasp the pen tool.

Abode Education Exchange link:

Tutorial Video for Exercise:


Schwartz, Rob. "CMYK Wars." Adobe Education Exchange. N.p., 06/11/2011. Web. 10 Nov 2011.

Schwartz, Rob. "Illustrator CS4 Tutorials." Brain Buffet. N.p., 06/11/2011. Web. 10 Nov 2011. .

Flash Animation

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I started to learn Flash animation 2 years ago in my Computer Applications class while in the Graphic Design program at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Adobe Flash is a program which enables you to create videos. The videos made can range from very simple to very complicated. What I love about Flash is that you can import vector images and they remain vectors that you can edit. I think Flash is a good program for students to learn. I found a very basic lesson plan on a digital art education blog that I think is a good introduction to Flash.

In the lesson there are 4 basic elements that have to be accomplished in the project. You have a shape that you create which is used in each 4 requirements. The first requirement is that you have to move the shape around the screen and distort is while it moves. The second is that you have to morph the shape into another shape. Thirdly, you must make the shape grow larger. And finally, the shape has to change opacity. Then, you use those shapes to create a concept animation. The teacher listed 7 "concepts" such as playful, congestion, victory, and fear. The concept must be expressed in the animation somehow. When the student is completed, another student has to view their animation and guess what concept was being strived for.

Link to the lesson plan blog:

I think this is a good introduction lesson plan. The first half of the lesson sort of introduces the basics of the program. The student can get a feel for how tweening works and such through this half. The second half encourages the student to work with a more conceptual project, which is something many schools like to focus on. By having to use a concept in a project, the student has to use more critical thinking to successfully portray what he/she is trying to portray. This is a very basic conceptual lesson, but as an intro I think it works great. I think doing animation in photoshop like we did in class first, and then moving on to animation in flash is a good idea. Animation is flash, I feel, is basically an extension of what you can do in photoshop. When you animate in photoshop you understand the concept of layer and frames, and you get an introduction into tweening. From there, flash just adds on.

If I were to do this in my class I would do just that. I would start with a photoshop animation project to get the class used to frames, layers, and basic tweens. I would then introduce a basic flash lesson plan. Then, I would do a little more advanced flash lesson. I actually found a more advanced and very detailed flash lesson plan on another blog. This instructor is very thorough, giving many step by step video instructions and examples. I think that before flash is used that the students may also need a basic understanding of how to use illustrator so that they understand vector objects. With that being said, I definitely think that a flash lesson like this would be used in a upper level high school classroom. With all of the elements that go into flash, I think it would be too complicated and overwhelming for a middle school student to learn.

Advanced Lesson Plan:

When I learned how to do flash videos, I loved it. I think it is a very fun program, and I don't understand why more classrooms don't incorporate it into their curriculum. I guess one of the main issues with that is the cost of buying the program. As I have stated in previous blogs though, Adobe offers amazing educational discounts, and their programs are very affordable.

Flash Examples:

A Flash animation I made in class:



Pfeiffer, Anne. "Suggested Beginning Flash Project." Digital Art Education. 8 Feb. 2010. Web. 27 Oct. 2011. .

Waldman, Scott. "Introduction to Flash Animation CS5." 2008. Web. 27 Oct. 2011. .

3-D CG

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3-D computer graphic imagery is three dimensional animation that has been made on a computer with special software. The use of 3-D CG animation is abundant in our everyday lives. You may have seen this imagery in films such as Finding Nemo

and Wall-E.

Also, many video games such as Call of Duty

and commercials now use 3-D CG. This method of animation is a challenging one and it has been disputed whether or not it is a worthwhile style to bring into the art education classroom.

In Inter/Actions/Inter/Sections: Art Education in a Digital Visual Culture, David Gill explores the use of 3-D CG in a classroom. He examines a case study which was done in a high school art classroom, where the students used a 3-D CG computer program to make a short 5 minute animation. In his study he finds out that the use of 3-D CG can be challenging with students, but also have a lot of benefits. The challenges of trying to animate 3-D CG is that it is a hard program to master. He also found that students had a hard time developing good story lines. The benefits though, I think, outweigh the negatives. Students were applying their experiences with 3-D in visual culture to their classroom projects. The students also gained an appreciation of the use of 3-D CG in their visual culture. It was found that the students enjoyed this medium so they were more focused and motivated to make a quality project. Students were able to learn the program themselves by figuring out what they wanted to do and researching ways in which they could produce what they wanted.

I think the use of 3-D CG in a classroom would definitely be a challenge. I would stick to only exploring this method with older students in the 11th-12th grade range because of the difficulties of learning the software, creating a longer animation, developing successful narratives, and staying motivated. There was also an issue stated in the book about obtaining software because it is so expensive. The good part about using these programs for educational purposes though it that schools can usually get a limited license which is significantly cheaper than the normal program. 3-D CG seems like it is more of an advanced technique, which may cause teachers to worry that they don't know enough about the program to use it in their classroom. What I liked about the way the teacher in the case study introduced the program (Maya) to the students, is that he didn't act like he was the master of the program. He taught the students the basics, and then guided them with their specific needs with their projects. I think that concept can be applied to other software also. There is not enough hours in a day to teach a class everything they need to know in Photoshop or Autocad. But, if I teach the students the basics, they will have a starting point. From there, I can help them explore other methods they may want to use on their project through experimentation, online tutorials, and books.

One thing I like about this subject it that I think it is a career oriented subject. I think there are many art students who think of having a graphic or animation related profession. Studying 3-D CG helps the students to realized what it may be like to be a Pixar animator or a video game designer. In the study from the book, all but one of the students said they would like the opportunity to be a video game designer. I also like how easy it is for the students to see examples of this animation in their every day lives. Almost every kid I know has seen a pixar movie, a commercial with special effects, or a video game. They know what these graphics look like and they can use that knowledge that they already have and apply it to their own projects.

If I were to do this project in my class, I would first start by having a discussion about different types of 3-D CG. I would see what the students are familiar with and maybe even show them some clips of effective use of 3-D CG. Most popular culture uses 3-D CG in movies and games. In movies the story usually focuses on one important character. In games, the story is usually seen through the players point of view. Because of these views, I think it would be interesting to have the students do a "self portrait" animation. I would have them animate themselves and tell a narrative where they are the main character. I think it will also help them stay more connected with their story and characters.

There are many sites which offer a variety of tutorials to help students:

There are a variety of 3D CG programs. Maya is the one suggested in the book. On the site you can get a free trial or a student discount!


Sweeny, Robert. Inter/Actions/Inter/Sections: Art Education in a Digital Visual Culture. Reston, VA: National Art Education Association, 2010. 3-12. Print.

Sand Animation

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Video Example:

Our own video:

Another type of sand animation:


Materials Needed:

-Different colored sand
-Mylar sheet
-Light table

-Popsicle sticks
-Tissue Paper
-Paint Brushes

1. Prepare your station.
-Gather all materials needed
-Tape the mylar sheet to light table The sheet helps with the clean up process.
-Put your camera on a tripod. Putting your camera on a tripod is important for this process so that the animation is consistent and unified.
-Turn on the light table. The light table helps give your animation an even light and helps the sand stand out against a solid, bright background.



2. Brainstorm an idea for what your story is going to be and what your objects/characters will be doing.

Note: It is easier to sand animate if you use basic forms and abstract concepts. For example: Use moving circles and lines to tell your story, rather than trying to create people or animals out of sand. Once you get more familiar with sand, you can challenge yourself by creating more elaborate subjects.

3. When you start to make something out of sand, only build a part of the shape/character at a time. Then, take a picture.


4. Add more on to the character and/or make it move little by little, taking a picture after each addition or movement.


Note: Experiment with using different ways to move the sand, such as adding (additive process) sand to an object to make it grow, or taking away (subtractive process) sand to spell letters.

5. Import the images into photoshop, as shown in class, to make an animation video.

6. Sound can be added to the video by using garage band, as shown in class.



Olsen, Michael. Sand Animation. 2007. Web. 17 Oct 2011. .

Murphy, Mary. Beginner's Guide to Animation. New York, NY: Watson-Guptil Publication, 2008. 28-33. Print.

Nathan, Yuval, and Merav Nathan. Eatliz - Lose This Child Animation Music Video. 2011. Web. 10 Oct 2011. .

QR Codes

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QR code stands for quick response code. It is a two dimensional code, which was actually created for the automotive industry so they could track cars while they were in production. Nowadays though, we see them all over the place. They are used in advertisements, they are on business cards, they are on products, there is no end to where people have put QR codes. So why not use these codes for educational purposes.

Craig Roland, who runs the blog, posted about the ten most important things he took away from the ITSE (International Society for Technology in Education) 2011 conference in Philadelphia. One of those things he thought was important was the integration of QR codes in the classroom. There was a link on the blog that lead me to another Art Educators blog named Vicki Davis.

Vicki talks about how she integrates the QR codes into the classroom. I think one of the most interesting ways in which she uses them is that she puts them into her power points and hard copy handouts. That way, when a student can take a picture with them using a mobile device and automatically be connected to a link that is related to the assignment or a message. She basically uses them as another form of communication. She also has the students create QR codes that link the teacher to their blogs that they have to do for class.

I think the use of these codes in class is an interesting method. Alot of times, educators are afraid of using phones or ipods in class because they think the child will get distracted by using a personal device like that. I think that using these devices for assigned things in class will help them get it out of their system. It will show them that mobile phones are good for more than just texting friends in class, they are also a learning tool. I think QR codes are a good and creative way to share links and information when you aren't necessarily by a computer. Because many phones nowadays have these code readers on them, kids can be able to be moving around and still be able to use these codes. I also think it is important that kids are aware of what these codes are since we see them so much around. It is a good way to give some technological history information, to inform the kids how these codes work and how they can be used in creative ways. Vicki also states that using QR codes when having kids turn in assignments saves her time when assessing projects because she can access the students documents more quickly. It also saves paper because the teacher may assign 3 or 4 projects or papers over a span of time, but the student can just put them onto a blog or into a message and turn them into one single QR code will make it so there is just one sheet of paper to turn in.

I think that the good part about these codes is that they pertain to more than just art education, but all types of education. You don't have to be too tech savy to generate the codes or read them. Both programs are very simple to use. Even kids who aren't the greatest at art type projects can enjoy QR codes in assignments and presentations

An issue that comes up with these codes is not everyone has a device to read them. Any ipod touches and most newer phones can read them, which most students had access to. Vicki says that when she has students who don't have these devices, she will have them partner up with a student who does. That can also be a way to integrate group work into projects by having students share the devices.

If I were to use this in my class, I may have students make a "QR code museum" where they generate codes for online images of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. They can print the codes out and post them on a wall like a museum exhibit, but then the kids have to go around and take pictures of the art with their device to see what the image actually is. You never know what you may get! I also think it would be fun to do a school-wide scavenger hunt. I would have one of my art classes generate codes which have messages and clues which would lead students from one location to the next. The clues can be posted in various locations around the school. The final destination could have some sort of reward. This way, all the students and even faculty can interact with the project that the students create.

below are some links to the blogs I mentioned:

Craig's Blog

Vicki's Blog

Code creator site

And finally, a QR code for you to try on your own!



Davis, Vicki. "QR Code Classroom Implementation Guide." Cool Cat Teacher Blog. N.p., 05/05/2011. Web. 28 Sep 2011. .

Roland, Craig. "My 10 Takeaways from ISTE 2011." The Art Teacher's Guide to the Internet. N.p., 07/07/2011. Web. 28 Sep 2011. .


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The Phenakistoscope was a tool invented in the 1800s that creates an illusion of motion through individual images. In its most basic form, it is a wheel of paper. It has 16 slots that divide the circle into 16 sections. Each section contains an image. Moving in order around the wheel from section to section, the images vary in a sequential manner and vary only slightly from the image before. To view the images "moving," the viewer spins the wheel, with the images facing away from them. The viewer then looks through the slots and can see the images "moving" when standing in front of a mirror.

I find this way of creating motion very interesting. I had never heard of a phenakistoscope until stumbling across a lesson plan on it at I like this project because it is a very good way to introduce the concept of motion through single images to kids. Art has many levels of difficulty, but even the most complicated projects start with a basic concept. This project illustrates a more basic concept of projects like stop animation. I don't think younger kids really understand that a lot of videos and animations are made up of individual images that are put together to create the illusion of movement. I think this project is a smart way to introduce this concept to younger art students in a simple and fun way that they can actually understand. Once the students understand this more basic concept, they can use that knowledge to create longer animations that are more complicated. If I were to teach this in a classroom, this project would be like an introduction leading into stop animation videos of different sorts. I think this is also a good project that can tie in animation history. Many students think animation didn't even start until the 21st century, but phenakistoscopes prove otherwise. Phenakistoscopes, and after that zoetropes, were the building blocks that lead to the animation of today.

below are some related links:

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