For this assignment we read Chapter one of our text, "Teachingmedialiteracy.com: A Web-Linked Guide to Resources and Activities.". The cool thing about this text is the website linking. Articles are laid out for you to link to and read in order to gain more on the topics. I had a few main resources that I used off of the list (internet issues with Comcast, our friendly local pain in the butt internet company prevented me from seeing the rest.) Abstracts from Media Literacy, An Introduction to Media Literacy, Has Media Literacy Found a Curricular Foothold?, and a link to the individual state standards for media literacy. I had a varied response to the different articles. Some provoked a response of why? while others resonated more in the "this is how it should be done area".
My least resonating articles was the series "Abstracts from Media Literacy". This series of articles is a list of reflections from teachers on how they use media in the classroom. How it fits into their lesson plans and current curriculums. Most of the teachers used it to accent their curriculum. In many cases the teachers use media such as videos to replace some text readings. They use it to attract interest in their lesson and make it more interesting to their pupils. If I were to write how I use media in my Technology Explorations class it would be as a means to show students the area of technology we are studying and grab their initial interest. I often use the "How It Works" series of videos by Discovery to introduce an initial topic. I also teach a multi media class on creating and editing video. We watch videos in the topic area (watch the news when creating newsreports and documentaries when creating documentaries) to help see how to create and make the assignments. It was not the that the article wasn't applicable, it is more for me that I am more interested in learning how to teach the creation of media.
My next article that I read was "Has Media Literacy Found a Curricular Foothold?". This article spoke of how Media Literacy has gained a place in our schools and curriculum. Media Literacy is in its infancy still in our schools. Part of using it is making sure that students know how to interpret it. Most students only see the big picture. They see the overwhelming glossy headlines but not the real facts within the story. What it made me realize is that we can show all the videos and power points in the world. Yet they will not have an impact on the students or impart any knowledge if they do not know how to interpret the information we are giving them.
The links to the individual states standards was interesting also. What I noticed in the standards is that they are all uniformly vague. Sure they all mention media and using it but they don't state reasons behind why. Are the convenient? Yes. Are they educational? At times. We use media and now the standards are saying to use them. Why though? WHy Why Why. Its a pet peave I have with standards though. They say we have to do it but I never hear the why behind it. I want reasoning. When you click on the various states the media standard does not fall into one area. In one state I viewed it under social studies in another it was under Language Arts. I would really like to see the various states standards for which department the teaching of the creation of media falls under. Thats for another blog entry though
The reading I enjoyed the most was "An Introduction to Media Literacy". While it is a shorter piece it gives a great clarification on what media literacy really is. It also speaks about seeing the truth behind the media we see and how it can be altered to change our viewpoints. Amazing things can be done and techniques employed to change our views on a subject. Media literacy combines both visual and audible means of communication. In order to be literate students need to be able to have ACCESS to the information (that we as teachers provide) They need to be able to ANALYZE and EVALUATE (more skills we teach, or fine tune in some cases) We can check their skills at this by how they COMMUNICATE to us what they viewed.
I like using media in the classroom. Not just because it saves me from presenting on a topic but because I feel the combination of audio and visual is an affective means of communicating with students. Kids are pretty much all attention deficit at this point. The max attention span you can generally keep with them is 15 minutes. If showing media can add on to that time frame by keeping their attention it will give me a that much more information I am able to impart to them in a quarter.