The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power.
Renee Hobbs and Kelly Mendoza offered a day-long staff development program on media literacy to the staff of the Montgomery School, an independent school in Chester Springs, PA.
1. Introduction to Media Literacy. Reflecting on our love/hate relationship with print, visual, digital and sound media. Defining media literacy as an expanded conceptualization of literacy. Considering the changing nature of literacy in relationship to culture and society. Acknowledging the scholars from the fields of education, literacy studies, media studies and cultural studies who inform the theory of media literacy.
2. The Home-School Connection. Recognizing the substantial time that children spend with media and technology-- more than 6.5 hours per day in front of a screen. Reflecting on the increasingly social nature of their use of media and technology. Identifying protection and empowerment as themes for responsible parenting. Defining practices associated with each of these approaches and reflecting on our need to engage parents in the practice of developing media literacy in the home.
3. Critically Analyzing Media. Using the media literacy remote control as a metaphor for the practice of critical analysis. Taking apart Word Girl (PBS cartoon) using the critical questions. Acknowleding the need to balance pleasure/enjoyment with critical analysis, discovering how critical analysis can deepen appreciation for authorship and artistry.
4. Small Group: MLE in Elementary. Description of Powerful Voices for Kids, a 4-part program integrating media literacy into urban elementary setting. Components include: summer camp for kids, teacher institute, teacher mentoring, and research. Using SNAPS cards to explore the relationship between language and image in the meaning-making process. Considering purpose, audience and genre as key concepts to introduce in primary grades.
5. Small Group: MLE in Middle School. Demonstration of character wheel activity to show use of language arts concepts in relationship to popular film. Discussion of approaches to integrating media literacy into subject areas.
6. Composing with Multimedia. Hands-on creative activity using Flip cameras. Working under deadline pressure, teachers composed short videos to inform and entertain. Teams were asked to compose a message in response one of the four forms of media: print, visual, digital and sound. Take a look at their creative work!