April 27, 2008

" We Want the FUNK"

It seems that the word " funk" has become integrated into our everyday vocabulary; you see a girl with a strange looking hat and you say, " Hey, that's funky!". Perhaps, to find out why we use the word the way we do, we can look at the musical genre for some answers.

Like most slang, the word " funk" was most often used to describe a nasty smell, and especially applied to the smell of post-coital activities; in other words it was a word not to be used casually(wikipedia). That this word would be applied to the music of James Brown, Herby Hancock, Prince, The Parliament Funkadelics, Earth Wind and Fire, Tower of Power, and many more, suggest that their is something inherently in the music that is unapologetic and nitty gritty.

First, let's establish what funk is. At the heart of Funk is a rhythm section; drums and bass keep the band together and the songs almost always emphasis beat number one. Having the rhythm section concentrating on the one creates a very driven song, unlike the music's predecessors, especially soul and r&b, that emphasized back beats. Funk also usually utilizes electric guitars and frequently applies a horn section.

The general formula for funk, at least to me, is that you set up a formula, lulling the listener into a groove. The musicians are always relying on a faithful drumbeat and bass line that will outline the form of the song; also, the guitars or keyboards will pick a simple riff and repeat the heck out of it so that the listener and the music become aligned- It is nearly impossible for someone listening to funk to keep from dancing, or at least their toes from tapping. Once this groove is established, however, a bed of unexpected things always seem to crop up. Horn hits, strange rapping, unexpected synthesizer contributions, and more create a level of surprise that keep the music fresh, no matter how long the riff is going. I have been to a few George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic concerts, and its not uncommon for each song to last more than 20 minutes, that's what is called " P- Funk". Funk is unapologetic in its high level of energy and subject matter. Many songs are about enjoying all aspects of life, and not being sorry for it, and, there tends to be a trend that funk songs talk about, well, the funk.. The Funk is a primal force, its about movement and freedom. So, why and how did funk come to be?


James Brown is usually considered to be one of the main founding fathers of the funk. When thinking about the implications of this driving and in your face music, it is important to put the movement in historical context. Jame's Brown was born in the early thirties and therefor part of segregated America. In the origins of the Funk, as primarily an African American genre, could very well be a reaction to feelings of oppression. Funk originated in the late 1960's, around the time of Martin Luther King Jr., March to Washington- people were fed up. Funk celebrates freedom and the music was often ornamented with unusual dress and energetic dance moves. Perhaps, Funk was a temporary release from the pressures of being a person of color in America at this time.

Funk has evolved greatly since its origins with James Brown and has influenced nearly all other musical genres. Elements of Funk can be found in rock groups like The Red Hot Chili Peppers, pop musicians like Justin Timberake, and hip-hop artist like Out Kast. Funk has a special way of putting a smile on a crowds face, and even though we haven't seen the likes of Sly and the Family Stone in awhile, chances of the genre dying out are slim.

March 30, 2008

Fox 9 News Viewing Log

I watched the Fox 9 evening news on Saturday March 29th beginning at 9:00 pm. Fox 9 has a reputation for having a conservative slant, but I decided to look at the program with fresh eyes instead of looking specifically rightest bias. Being objective is important in journalism, and I took this assignment as an opportunity to get into the mind set of a reporter.

Viewing Log.

1- What will be covered in the evenings newscast about 1 minutes
2- 10th anniversary of St. Peter Tornado about 4 minutes
3- Weather about 1.5 minutes
4- Traffic Crashes about 3 minutes
5- Murder pm Queen Ave and Highway 55 about 1 minute
6- Murders about 1 minute
7- A Mother's Deal for retrieval of daughter's body about 1 minute
8- Senior Scams about 2 minutes
9- Meat Packing plant blows up about 1 minute
10- Rider's auto theft incident about 1 minute
11- You Decide 2008 Hillary and Baraak about 1 minute
12 Republican Senate race about .5 minutes
13- Lowering drinking age about .5 minutes
14- Busline about .5 minutes
15- Palenty creates a day of remembrance for Vietnam about 1 minute
16- Iraq US and British Troops about .5 minutes
17-David Mcdougal / video of shooting about .5 minutes
18- Curfew in Baghdad about 1 minute
19- Condalisa Rice traavel restriction and peace debate .5 minutes
20- Somalian Civil War and attacks about .5 minutes
21- Bush's radio address concerning home owners about 1 minute
22- New York Long Island movement towards statehood about 2 minutes
23- Dog for autistic children 2 minutes
24- Teen steels car about .5 minutes
25- Fire truck overturns about .5 minutes
26- Brothers sue due to Tiger attacks about 1 minute
27- Lights out Minneapolis Spreading awareness about energy efficiency about 2 minutes
28- Holocaust survivors and US troops reunite about 2 minutes
29-Bike show about .5 minutes
30- Food collection about .5 minutes
31- Kevin Everate recovery about 1 minute
32- Jersey Boys art & culture segment 2 minute
33-Sports about 8 minutes

Total time: About 42 minutes, the rest is reserved for advertisements

This is Kelly Rudh reporting from my home office on the content of the Fox evening news and strategies used by the program to both engage and inform viewers. On the evening of Saturday March 29th, the Fox evening news began with a story that focused on the resilience of united communities. The documentation of the 10th anniversary of the St. Peter Tornado isn't exactly pressing information, so why begin with such a banal topic? Is this news? The 10th anniversary of a natural disaster as isolated as this one doesn't seem like much of an attention getter, so what is it doing? The basic theme this story was one of close knit communities being able to recuperate from hardship due to their protestant work ethic and sense of communal unity. This story might be important when considering the economic upheaval we are experiencing in the United States. The message implied by this first piece demonstrates the resilience of people in the face of disaster. Even though this piece serves to boost the moral of its audience, it also shows how fragile people's lives are. most of the news segments surrounded around stories that would make one feel uncomfortable or unsafe. About 20 minutes of the news was devoted to stories that cultivated a sense of insecurity in the viewer, stories about natural disaster, war, crime, traffic crashes, disease, and scamming. These stories inform the viewer that the world is an unsafe place to live in. These fear inciting stories perhaps create a reliant relationship between the news program and the viewer. The viewer would not be knowledgeable about these dangers without the broadcast, and the viewer may come to see the news as a protecting force because we often consider Information as power. Also, the exploitative nature of many of these stories, the ways in which they indulge in the misery of other people may feed a viewers thirst for drama. People's lives are generally boring when compared tot he drama filled lives of the people featured in news programs. I found one instance of obvious bias in a news story about a mother attempting to make a bargain with the man who killed her daughter. The man is going to be given the death penalty, but the mother was willing to plead for his life if he would divulge the location of her daughters body. The anchor covering this story had a note of annoyance in his voice while reading this story, and the picture of the murderer had been colored a deep red. This is making some kind of statement; that this murderer is dangerous, hence the red filter, and that he should not live, despite the distressed mother's wishes.

Out of all the stories featured in the evening news, only a few felt relevant to me. When we think about any kind of media, we must think about the viewer, and this is where I must be more subjective. The segment on Minneapolis' part in the blackout between 8 and 9 pm to promote energy efficiency helped me to feel more connected to the international fight for a greener world. This also follows a kind of genre.They don't call them news stories for nothing. The underlying theme of this segment was the power of a grass-roots movement, once again highlighting the power communities have when they work together. There were similar stories peppered through the forecast. Food drives, the Tornado anniversary, and a segment about dogs that help children with autism. All of these stories show that communities have the power to solve their own ills. Very few stories concentrated on a national community, most on local communities including the story about Long Islanders trying to break off from New York because they feel their tax money is being filtered away from the island. Apparently, from the news' point of view, the system of politics and the law is working, and we should have faith in it.

One final observation that I think is of importance. Taking this media literacy course has made me more aware of the blending of medias. During the news, the news' website was plugged about 8 times. It's a " great way to stay connected" according to the anchors. They even showed pictures of the website and said that it was " easy to navigate". This television news station is aware that more and more people are looking to the internet to get their news, and they are advertising their site with gusto!

Kelly Rudh signing off!

March 23, 2008

Youtube! Farmers


I decided to look for representations of Farmers for my Youtube project and I was very surprised at what I found. I thought when I typed " Farmer" into the search engine I would be flooded with videos depicting farmers as slightly slow, dirty, and unwordly Americans in overalls with corn cob pipes portruding from their lips.... what I found was something else entirely! I was surprised to find that most of the videos had an international focus and mainly concentrated on conflicts between farmers and government institutions. Farmers in all of the videos I watched were depicted as honest and hardworking, as well as victims of oppression and other hardships. There is also a significant link between farmers and freedom, and farming as an expression of self-sufficiency as well as community.

I watched many videos, but one of the most moving was a youtube video called " The Raid of the South Central Farmers June 13, 2006" . This video tells the story of the eviction of many urban farmers in Los Angelos by the police. The land was seized and the people who fed their familes with the food they grew there were thrown out... but not without a fight. The videos uses still frames in a montage in order to show the farming community, their comming together to protest the eviction, and the seizing of the land by the police. The still frames are made more dramatic by the cameras zooming in on each still frame. The music in the film also follows the progression from the peaceful urban farm to the chaotic struggle against the police. The video begins with Bob Marley, highly activist singer, progresses to a native american song, and about half way through switches to Rage Against Machine as the police make their debute.


Another video I encountered was about Afghan farmers growing poppies in order to support themselves in a war torn country. The video was an Aljazeera production and utalized a wide angle lense to show the prominance of the land in these peoples lives. These farmers think that it is morally wrong to be a part of drug production, but feel that they have no choice. Someone has to look after the education and health of their children, and the government cannot support them, so opium must.


Yet another video with an international focus is a thank you from Oxfam who helped Ethiopian coffee farmers achieve fair trade status with Starbucks. This video ustilizes the medium shot to focus in on the ethiopian farmers Oxfam and activists helped through petitions and other forms of activism.

This video shows the tension between farmers and the governement and the lack of sufficient subsidies for farmers in both Indonesia and the U.S. The film uses wide angle lens to capture the richness and beuty of agriculture as well as using the unique4 low angle shot to show the connection between the farmers feet and the land.

The last video I will share with you is one of the most tragic. Eventhough India is recently known for its great economic boom, people fail to realize the great crisis for rural indians... who make up the majority of the population. Farmers who do get loans from the governement are unable to pay them back, and so, the suicide rate for farmers is soaring. the camera person uses many high- angled shots in order to show the subordinate and oppressed state of farmers in India.

I was pleasantly surprised at the represenations of farmers that I found on Youtube and I also now recognize that sites like youtube serve to create awareness for injustices people would otherwise be blind to. Creating visibility for hardworking people with such importance in communities is such a worthy cause, and I am happy to have been able to explore the agricultural struggles all over the world.


March 9, 2008

Facebook- Media Etnography

Facebook- An Ethnographic approach

According to the Beach text Ethnographers, “study how audiences assume the active role of constructing the meaning of media texts�. Facebook, the popular social networking site, allows users many ways to construct digital identities and to create various meanings from media; making it a complicated yet fascinating study. The site was founded in 2004 for college students, but has since expanded to include more general populations (Wikipedia). In order to better understand how people construct their own identities and interact with others, I sent a questionnaire to some people in my network and received some feedback. I understand that this information has its limitations because the pool of people are my “ friends� and may share more in common than that of the general Facebook population; however, I feel that some of the information is worth considering. I also have spent a lot of time studying people’s sites and how they seem to navigate the online community and create a space that tries to both express realities in their lives, such as school and work, while also crafting a more subjective representation of self.
Here is a sample of one person’s answers to my questionnaire:
1. How did you hear about Facebook?
I heard about facebook through a friend who was in high school.

2. What does your profile say about you, meaning, how does it portray your
identity?
I'm probably seen as the geeky girl with an affinity for science fiction and
art.

3. How many times do you check your facebook a week?

Not very often. Probably twice.

4. How much do you post a week?

I change my status a lot, but I rarely post something.

5. How did your last wall post you received make you feel?

Happy :)

6. When you wrote your last wall post, how did you feel?

Probably happy, I'm not one for airing my dirty laundry, especially on
facebook.


7. what if your favorite Facebook aplication?

Graffiti, if anything, or the x-files application.

8. Why do you like it?

Graffiti because it has to do with creativity- I like visual messages, not
verbal ones. And the x-files application because there is a trivia section that I master!

9. Why do you think so many people use Facebook?

It is an easy way to get information on potential friends, or a way to pass the
time. Also it allows me to maintain contact with people who have moved away
etc.

10. Do you think there is anything special that connects these people?

For the most part no, many of my friends are friends of friends that I met in
high school. There are a few who do mean something to me though, so I'm
guessing that its the same for most people.

11.What are your favorite Facebook groups?

I'd say the political groups, such as "legalize same sex marriage" or
"Minnesota Pro-Choice." Although, I never check them.


12. How has Facebook changed/shaped your life?

When I have a paper to write, it somehow seems more compelling... Also, I've
reconnected with people that I hadn't talked to in years.

13. Why do you use Facebook?

Its an easy way to show someone that you still care what's going on with them,a quick wall message now and then and no animosity. I like it.
--------------------

Although this Facebook user seems to treat the site as a recreational hobby, one can tell a lot about what she values. One of the most complimented aspects of Facebook in my study was the ability to join groups that showed participants allegiance or favor for different political candidates and issues. This participant also said that she enjoyed the Graffiti Aplication, which allows people to post pictures they draw on different friends’ walls.
Facebook is filled with applications created and distributed around by other users. Users both produce and are subject to various forms of media including textual, visual, and aural. On one woman’s site, you could even see a pregnancy counter that tracks the development of her baby and shows how the fetus will grow. People invest a lot of time into constructing their identities on these sites. People upload pictures of themselves, and can display their tastes in movies, music, television, literature, among many other indicators of what they like to do and what defines them as a person. In some ways, it seems like these sites are island oasis’s meant for individuals to make a place that is all their own; these sites reflect how these individuals wish to view themselves by allowing them to control what their profiles say about themselves. But if Facebook profiles are islands, there is certainly a great deal of trade. Of course, this too is controlled by the individual by either accepting or denying “friend� requests and invitations to different groups or applications. Also, anything put up by another user on his or her site, can be taken down. So, if for example someone is “tagged� in an unflattering picture, you can easily remove it from your site so that you can maintain the image you wish.
I have already established that Facebook allows users to create an identity, but that identity must be viewed in conjunction with the audience for those pages. Facebook is primarily a social networking site, and most of the participants in my questionnaire said that they appreciate Facebook for allowing them to keep in contact with classmates and friends from work, school, vacations, as well as to meet new friends. Some people even use Facebook to get dates! A person can “ Poke� another and this is signals an interest in another user. It is impossible for me to generalize about what people post about on eachother’s walls. The posts are as varied in tone and in purpose as the individuals themselves that write them. Many people use Facebook to make plans to hang out while others use it for arguing, flirting, joking, as well as for scholastic support. On participant in my questionnaire said that Facebook is: “It’s interesting and helps keep me in the loop about parties going on...I tend to 'disappear' at times.� This seems to be a general trend with uses, our lives are busy, and yet we want to maintain a social scene, Facebook makes this possible.

Facebook is an enormous online community, and as such, is difficult to derive any concrete definition of how people in this network construct and create meaning out of the media involved. I will say however that this study has shown me how much power the site has as a tool to create a digital face to show to other members and lends the creativity and technology to imagine the self in ways impossible in the “real� world. I will never be able to look at Facebook the same way!
--------------------

March 2, 2008

Media Representations of " Health" and " Healthy" AND Objective analysis of what Health and Healthy really means


HEALTH IN THE MEDIA
Over the last decade our society has become increasingly interested in living healthier. Our fast-food nation has real concerns when it comes to obesity as well as high instances of heart disease, diabetes, and a host of other problems that could potentially be avoided by adopting better eating and exercise habits. The media, and corporations, have picked up on this trend and edepict being healthy as a choice made by people who value themselves.
I did a Google image search in order to gain some perspective about how representations of " health" and " healthy" occur in the media. I will attach my collage of images onto my discussion board post for those who are curious. First of all, one of my first observations of how healthy people are portrayed is that they are very happy. Serenity and happiness seem to be ever present in the representations of healthy people. I think we all know that just because you're healthy, doesn't necessarily mean that you are happy.

Another interesting observation is that there is a much higher representation of representations of " health" and " healthy" with white people in them than people of color which most likely leads to my next point. I believe that the media is trying to make being healthy seem like a choice made by those people who are willing to put a lot of time, money, and effort into what they put into their mouths and physical exercise. Perhaps the media is geared towards mostly white people because the marketers think that white people have the capital to buy the vitamins, gourmet waters, shoes, exercise equipment, gym memberships, and prescription drugs. One of the images that I did find on my Google image search was a poster for little dolls called " Homies" and it depicted a group of Hispanic people lifting weights with very stereotypical dress and hair; the caption read: " Homies Health Club"

Television depicts health as a choice also. My favorite public service announcement of all time shows a man in a doctors office, who, when he hears some dance music, stands up and begins to dance! The announcement is meant to tell people to try to exercise 30 minutes everyday. Another trend we see is that eating organically is " Healthier" when it could potentially mean that it is just more expensive. Samantha from Sex in the City only ate organically and did yoga.


ACADEMIC TREATMENT OF "HEALTH" and "HEALTHY"

The Oxford English dictionary defines Health, the noun, as : 1. a. Soundness of body; that condition in which its functions are duly and efficiently discharged.

and Healthy as: Possessing or enjoying good health; hale or sound (in body), so as to be able to discharge all functions efficiently.

By these definitions we see that healthiness could be seen as the absence of sickness or injury, this is not what we find in the media. The media most certainly dresses up ideas of healthiness with connotations of self-esteem, confidence, strength, beauty, and even to some extent luxury.

After perusing a verity of health related journals on the library website, I see that most of the concerns in these magazines are far more concerned with keeping people free of diseases and making sure that people have health plans so if they do get sick, they will be able to afford medical care. Ideas in the Media do seem to differ from those in the medical journals. The media represents being "healthy" almost like a lifestyle or counter culture. If you're healthy, you shop in the organic isles, go mountain climbing and read fitness magazines. The medical journals would argue that you are healthy if your cholesterol rate is low and you are within your BMI limits.

February 18, 2008

Critical Perspectives Summery and Approach

In many ways I believe that studying media is a bit like being a detective; one must look for clues within the writing and derive meanings and motives to the pieces. The critical perspectives suggested by the Beach text offer tools to better break down media and to consider many angles of a given piece.

AUDIENCE- Thinking critically about how the creator of the media positions the work in conjunction with the audience will help to determine the purpose of the piece. Knowing this will allow students to consider what assumptions the media has about its audience as well as what the audience may project back upon the media. The examples of the text citing advertisements are perfect candidates for using this lens in the classroom and are catalysts for discussions about responsible consumerism as well as the propagation of stereotypes.

SEMIOTIC - Semiotic analysis delves into symbols, including words, their meanings and cultural relativity. This kind of analysis asks students to draw conclusions about the media using the cultural coding system. What I especially like about this lens is that it opens up an opportunity to discuss how symbols and words are not set in stone when it comes to their meaning. A dragon in the western ideology usually symbolizes something that is both greedy and dangerous, while in China, for example, it comes to have a figure of strength and fortune. I might do an exercise that would show that we, in our imaginary community, have a cultural code, and then show that other people around the world have differing viewpoints.

POST STRUCTURALIST- This approach challenges simplistic representations and stereotypes. Students can, like in the Beach text, identify binary systems and then proceed to contradict them.

DISCOURSE ANALYSIS- I think that Discourse Analysis would be an interesting way to consider a character's actions and thoughts. A Discourse seems to be something that people wrap themselves around, becoming very much part of their identity and shaping how they move and think. This would be a very helpful lens in helping students better identify with extreme characters, as it would provide some perspective into why they think and act like they do.

PSYCHOANALYTIC- Applying different psychological theories to media. I especially like the idea of talking about the subconscious and how certain elements of repressed desires can be seen expressed in media.

FEMINIST- A lens that helps to explore the limitations of gender roles as well as the exploitation of women in media. I would like to talk about gender as a social construct, and then proceed to analyze media and how they conform to or break the status quo.

POSTMODERN- I would like to use media to support a lesson on postmodern poetry. The rejection of conventional thinking and conventional forms can be found in many films, and I think that talking about how shifts in thinking about life, and purpose, would create some complexity when going back to more traditional and conventional works.

POST COLONIAL- A lens that brings to the table the imperialist influences in texts. A great opportunity to put media in a historical context and discuss ideologies such as 'the white man's burden'. I would enjoy reading a text or watching a movie from an imperialist perspective that represents the colonized as an exotic prize to be conquered and tamed. I would then like to look at a piece from the same region from the colonized perspective and have my students discuss the implications of the disparities.

February 11, 2008

Lawrence of Arabia Scene

Laurence of Arabia – Mirage/Well scene

What happens in the scene:

Laurence’s guide brings him to a well in the desert to drink. The men are trespassing, and soon a man on camel back arrives and shoots Lawrence’s guide for the offence. Lawrence, furious, criticizes the Arab people by saying that they will remain “a little people� as long as they fight among themselves. The man on camel back seems to respect Lawrence’s courage, and offers to lead him out of the desert, however, Lawrence refuses, and decides to find his own way to Prince Feisal’s camp.

Music:
One of the most striking features of this scene is its lack of music. Although the movie has a famous soundtrack, composed by Maurice Jarre, this particular scene is without music. The silence of the scene emphasizes the lonely landscape of the desert, and also creates anticipation about the approaching man on camel back. The isolation of the desert is felt acutely because of the overall silence of the scene, the only sounds, besides the dialogue, are camels and the sound of the bucket plunging into the deep well.


Film Techniques:
Once again, to portray the vastness of the desert, the film uses mostly a wide-angle lens. The landscape of the desert could arguably a main character in this story, and the lens definitely assists in portraying the desert as a major force in the lives of the human characters. Because of the constant reminder of the landscape, the viewer realizes that the characters must all be analyzed in context with the setting.

There are some interesting uses of the point-of-view shot in this scene. At the beginning, the shot is looking up from the bottom of the well into the sky. This shot, in relationship to the wide-angle lens technique, provides stark contrast, from the depth of the well, to the width of the never ending desert. In this case, the point-of-view shot is not from a person, but of the precious resource of the water in the well. Another meaningful point-of-view shot occurs when Lawrence and his guide spy the camel back man in the distance. The shot is from their perspective waiting to distinguish who the man is wavering in the mirage created by the desert sun. The mirage shot is interesting because it is established by the extreme long shot, the man is a speck on the screen, and because of the mirage seems to be making no progress. When the man does arrive, it seems as if it were in a blink of an eye, a testament to the strangeness of the desert to western eyes.



February 3, 2008

Media Literacy Proposal

Currently, our language arts curriculum contains no formal media literacy standards. Since we are revamping our program, I believe it is in the best interest of both our students, and faculty, to implement media literacy activities in all areas of education. I understand there are presures to raise standardized test scores, but including media literacy training will do nothing byt help us achieve our goals. The " back to the basics" approach isn't really working; we, as teachers. are sacrificing lessons that we think are valuable in order to drill our students until all excitement and curiosity about learning has all but vanished. By using the technologies that are integral parts of our students lives, we will be able to get our kids literally plugged into the concepts and skills that will prepare them for not only tests, but as responsible and informed citizens of the increasingly media savvy and dependent world.

I don't think media literacy is something we should be afraid to teach. Technology is forever changing, and hopefully our students will help us with becoming more comfortable with that. The tools for analyzing and critiquing new media forms, however, are very much based on the familiar skills we have been teaching: we still need to look at the piece of media and decide what it is, why it was written and, how it is working. We live in an age where media can easily be created and communicated through the internet, providing people with seemingly endless sources of entertainment and information. Ther pervasiveness of media that we are subject to, and producers of is astounding, and we cannot, as educators, ignore the new forms of communication. The internet is a toolbox for teachers waiting to be opened!

The internet is a fairly new frontier for educators, and with our students we will be able to explore the implications of web videos, blogs, chat rooms, advertising, music, film, and various other forms of communication. Video games have also alot to offer educators and can help to generate great discussion about perspective building and how reason allows us to learn skills through reading books and engaging with other media that help us to remove from self and into the place of the other. I also think we must show students how to check for reliable information, and to gain a radar for overly biased or under resourced documents. Since students are also mass producers of media, we can have great discussions about media for social change, as well as many of the controversies concerning privacy and freedom of speech.

In order to jump start our new curriculum all we need are teachers who are willing to try and incorporate new media into their current lessons, and take time out to give students a vocabulary to discuss and better understand new media communication. I propose that teachers use the internet to enhance their lessons by finding videos, articles, music, maps, and other items to add flavor and variety to their lectures and exercises . I also think we should encourage teachers to use online blogs to extend the academic dialog further, and the students can also be encouraged to find different forms of media that relate to the lesson at hand. Media literacy encourages cooperation, collaboration, and creativity. Teachers should give students the opportunity to process what they've learned in various formats. Paper writing is a great skill, but their are other ways to creatively and effectively respond to a text. This can be something as simple as a power-point presentation, but could also take the form of an online diary or multi-media video.

It is in my experience that people become more invested when they see real life implications for their studies. Young people today are actively involved with multi media everyday and I believe they will become more responsive to instruction if we being implementing and exploiring media literacy, and give our students the skills to be responsible and informed citizens of our increasingly digital world.

January 27, 2008

Week 1 Reflections.

As I start to engage with the material in the syllabus, I also start to play out some of teaching strategies, or agendas, in my head. Since I have yet to get my teaching license, my concept of what it is to be a teacher is based on my experiences as a student as well as a teaching aid/volunteer in a high school. It is needless to say that I am excited in conversing with my group members who are currently teaching, in order to gain some perspective on what lyes ahead.

When I have my own English classroom, I'd like nothing more than set the mood of our literary explorations with music contemporary or relevant to the texts we'd be reading. The internet is a resource that seems bottomless! I'd also like to get some images from the web such as time lines and maps to help contextualize the readings. I think that the internet, in addition to being a treasure trove of information, is also a very cost effective way to enrich a lesson. I really liked the statistic from the 'History of Media' video that proposed that we remember 50% of what we see and hear and, with the kinesthetic interaction that many online medias utilize, the retention percentage increases. As a future educator, those kinds of findings cannot be ignored! Of course, I have to come to terms with some of my own fears of using media. I love reading books, and I don't think information should have to jump up and down, turn different colors, and vibrate the computer screen for it to be valuable. I think that society now encourages a short attention span, and I don't quite like that. I think that reading critically is a skill; it takes time and focus to achieve, but I think that it is worthwhile. If using different media could assist in gaining that skill, however, I'd be more than willing to use it.

The videos we watched this week were very exciting. I spent a lot of time watching videos on the site and came to the conclusion that these videos were very valuable for young.... and older people to see. The music and politics video was great because it was a young person's production of media that promoted social change. The music video was humorous while being informative, and pleaded for a greater connectedness between young people and politics. I especially liked how the main rapper guy was showing other young people how to fill out a ballet and encouraging them to vote.

The claymation video was also interesting to me. Along with promoting awareness and the influences of corporations on the media, the film for me also raised some interesting questions about media production for me. I think that another exciting implication of using media in classrooms is going to be a more collaborative minded students. A student would most likely learn a lot about themselves as well as gain a respect by working with students with different talents/tastes to produce a video such as that one.

Yay for week one!