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Media Literacy Unit

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Emilie Vandermeeren

on 20 March 2015

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Transcript of Media Literacy Unit

How can we do it?

Lesson Plans within Media Literacy Unit:
Media Smarts: Canada's Centre for Digital and Media Literacy
Media literacy is defined by The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8: Language, 2006, as

an informed and critical understanding of the nature of the media, the techniques used by them, and the impact of these techniques. Also, the ability to understand and use the mass media in an active, critical way.”

(p. 156)

Media literacy can also be defined in relation to what it is not:
It is not media “bashing”. However, it does involve adopting a critical stance with respect to the media.
It is not just media production, although it includes media production.
It is not just using videos, CD-ROMs, or other mediated media material. It also involves learning about media.
It is not simply looking for political agendas, stereotypes, or misrepresentations. It is
also an exploration of the systems that make those representations appear “normal”.
It is not looking at a media message or a mediated experience from one perspective only. It involves examining media from multiple positions or perspectives.
And finally, media literacy does not mean “don’t watch”. It means “watch carefully, think critically”.
(Adapted from Anderson et al., 2003).

What is Media Literacy
Resources for this unit:
Media Literacy Unit
Strategies to use when teaching media literacy:
The Ontario Curriculum:Media Literacy Grade 8
A Guide To Effective Literacy Instruction Volume 5: Media Literacy
The Socially Networked Classroom:
Teaching in the New Media Age, William Kist
Key Concept #1: All media messages are constructions

The media present carefully crafted constructions that are the product of many decisions and determining factors. Much of our view of reality is based on media messages that have been constructed in this way, with attitudes, interpretations, and conclusions already built in. To a certain extent, the media dictate and colour our sense of reality.

• How has this message been constructed?
• How close is it to reality?

Key Concept #2: The media contains belief and value messages

Producers of media messages have beliefs, values, opinions, and biases that can influence what gets told and how. Producers choose what will and will not be included in media texts, and so there are no entirely neutral or value-free media messages. As media messages are often seen by many viewers, they can have significant social and political influence.

• What lifestyles, values, and points-of-view are represented in, or have been omitted from, this message?
Key Concept #3: Each person interprets messages differently

All the people who watch the same television show or visit the same website do not
have the same experience or come away with the same impression. Age, culture, life
experiences, values, and beliefs all play a part in how an individual interprets a message.

• How might others understand this message differently?
Key Concept #4: The media have special interests - commercial, ideological, political

Most media messages are created for profit or to persuade. Ads preceding feature films at movie theatres or commercials on television, are obvious means of generating revenue or of seeking public support for a cause or a political party. However, advertising can take many other forms. It can be found on posters and billboards, in newspapers and magazines, as sponsorships and prizes, as pop-up ads and surveys on the Internet, as logos and commercial slogans on T-shirts and other clothing, as celebrity endorsements, in the naming of a stadium or theatre, or as product placement in movies or on television or radio programs (where advertisers pay to have a product prominently displayed or mentioned by name or pay to have a particular message delivered).

• Who created this message and why?
• Who benefits if the message is accepted? Who may be disadvantaged?
Key Concept #5: Each medium has its own language, style, form, techniques, conventions, and aesthetics

Each medium creates meaning differently, using specific vocabulary and techniques. In a movie or TV show, a dissolving picture indicates the passage of time. On a website, hot links and navigation buttons direct attention and help determine how visitors move around the site. In a novel, the author chooses particular words to create characters and a setting. In other media forms, images and sound are used to create meaning. Students can become fluent in the “languages” of the different media. They can gain an understanding of how the different messages were made, determine the purpose of the messages, and identify the aesthetics associated with each form.

• What techniques have been used and why?

Creating Media
Important details
Don't forget to always adapt your lessons to meet the diverse needs of your students. Some ideas for accommodations can be found in this right column.
In Media Literacy, there are many ways to assess learning. Make sure you use a variety of assessment strategies.
Assessment: Example Rubric
Below is an example of a rubric that could be used for an assignment or activity that is meant to develop skills mentioned in curriculum expectations 2.1 and 2.2, Understanding Media Forms.
What are your earliest recollections of reading and writing?
What kinds of texts have you preferred over your life?
Can you recall the first book you chose to read in elementary school?
Can you recall the first film or television show you loved and watched over and over again?
What is your all-time favourite children’s book? What is your favourite book that you have read as an adult?
What are your earliest recollections of using a computer?
Where you required to read certain novels in middle school or high school? How did you feel?
Has a nonprint text made a difference in your life?
Did you subscribe to children’s magazines? Did your parents or siblings have magazine subscriptions?
What are your earliest recollections of watching television?

Questions to help you get started writing your multigenre literacy autobiography

Multigenre Autobiography

How Do We Respond to Film Texts?
Analyzing Films Element by Element
What time of day is it?
What are the clues?
What effect does lighting have?
Use two or three adjectives to describe the lighting.
Sound Effects:
Close your eyes.
You are only to listen to the scene, after which you will be asked to make a list of everything you heard and then share.
Describe the music at the beginning, middle, and end of the scene.
What happens and why?
How does the music contribute to the mood or feel?
Is the music effective?
What might happen if there were no music in this scene? How would that impact your impressions?
Camera - Movement:
Document when the director or cinematographer uses the following:
Pan (left or right move)
Tilt (up or down move)
A crane shot (high above)
What is the purpose of these actions?
Camera - Lens
Document when the director or cinematographer uses the following:
wide shot
Medium shot
Close up
Zoom in or out
Why does he or she use these shots when he or she does?
Count the number of edits in this scene. What impact does editing have?
What mood does this scene put you in?
How do you feel?
Why do you feel this way?
What has the director done to push your emotional buttons? (be specific.)

- Emilie Vandermeeren & Lisa Martellacci
"We must prepare young people for living in a world of powerful images, words and sounds." —UNESCO, 1982
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