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Feed for Thought

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Since millions of Americans get their news from Facebook, it makes sense to examine how that news is dispersed on the social network. The Wall Street Journal created a chart called Blue Feed/Red Feed showing side-by-side Facebook feeds for users classified as “very liberal” or “very conservative” by Facebook’s algorithm. In other words, a computer classified users as liberal or conservative based upon previous Facebook activity (likes, shares, etc.). The WSJ graphic illustrates the very real concern about “echo chambers” among Facebook users.

Ask students to examine their Facebook feeds to see what’s included and what’s not.

AHA! Someone else is deciding what I see!

Grade Level: 10-12

Key Question #3: What values, lifestyles and points of view are included or omitted?
Core Concept #3: Media have embedded values and points of view.
Key Question #5: Why is this message being sent?
Core Concept #5: Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.

Materials: Smart Phones or Computers

Activity: Show students the WSJ Blue/Red graphic. Choose a subject from the menu (i.e. President or Healthcare) that is best suited to your particular class/grade level.

Then ask students to make a list of the articles and trending topics that appear on their personal Facebook pages. Have students pair up and share their assessments of their feeds using the Key Questions and Core Concepts for media literacy.

Discussion questions: What’s included in your feed? What’s missing from your feed? Is it OK for companies like Facebook to determine what you see? Or to categorize users as liberal or conservative? Why would Facebook bother to categorize its users? Do you think the ads you see are associated with the category Facebook determined for you? What is the benefit of seeing stories from different angles and sources? What can you do to seek out other sources of information?

The Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions of media literacy were developed as part of the Center for Media Literacy’s MediaLit Kit™ and Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS)™ framework.  Used with permission, © 2002-2017, Center for Media Literacy, http://www.medialit.com

Last Updated ( Saturday, 21 October 2017 12:54 )
 

Your Search or Mine?

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Not so long ago, when we wanted to find the definition of a word, we went to a printed dictionary and looked up the word. Regardless of where we were in the world, if we used the same edition of the same dictionary, the word would be defined in the same way, on the same page, in the same typeface.

What happens when we do a search today, using the same key words? Ask students to find out and see for themselves.

AHA! I can enter the exact same key words to search Google or Bing (or any other browser), but my results may be very different from others.

Grade Level: 7-9

Key Question #3: How might others experience this message differently?
Core Concept #3: Different people experience the same message differently.
Key Question #5: Why is this message being sent?
Core Concept #5: Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.

Materials: Use Smart Phones or Computers with a browser

Activity: Ask students to pair with a partner. Each pair should have a different device to do a search using the following terms (and write down examples of responses from each device as the searches are completed):

Pizza near me
Medical clinic
Tips for Healthy Living
What is Obamacare?
What is the Affordable Care Act?

What are some examples of your findings? Did you get the same findings from each device? What were some differences? Was there some overlap? Were the findings presented in different orders? What do you think may account for some differences? Why – or why not? -- do you think these differences may be important?

The Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions of media literacy were developed as part of the Center for Media Literacy’s MediaLit KitTM and Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS)TM framework. Used with permission, © 2002- 2017, Center for Media Literacy, http://www.medialit.com

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 August 2017 12:52 )
 

How to Make a Maker

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The Maker Movement as we know it today is generally held to have coalesced around the launch of MAKE: Magazine in 2005. MAKE: was created by Dale Dougherty, co-founder of O’Reilly Media (a publishing company focused on computer language handbooks), and creator of the first-ever commercial website on the Internet in 1993. He had initially intended to call the magazine HACK, after the original meaning of the word “hacker”—not someone who breaks into computers, but someone who takes things apart to make them better. However, his daughter Katie, then in her early 20s, was adamant that he call it something else. Hacking didn’t sound good, she said, she didn’t like it. She suggested he call it MAKE, because “everyone likes making things.”[i]

From the start, Making was meant to spread beyond expert hackers to “everyone.”  In this MediaLit Moment, students will discover the values that Makers identify with and promote, by examining a “crappy robots competition” that started in Japan and became popular with Makers worldwide.

AHA!: Makers have values and they want me to share them!

Grade Level: 6-8

Key Question #4: What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in or omitted from this message?

Core Concept #4: Media have embedded values and points of view.

Key Question #5: Why is this message being sent?

Core Concept #5: Most media messages are created for profit and/or power.

Materials: Computer with high speed internet access, data projector, projection screen Crappy Robot Competition Video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOi-pvVQokk. Printouts of “What is Hekobon?” (sic) PDF

Activity: Start by asking the students to describe their image of someone who makes robots—a roboticist. What education would they have? How old would they be? How smart would they have to be? Do the students think they could be roboticists? Why or why not?

Then, view the video with students. There will probably be a lot of laughing as the crappy robots fight each other and fail. Ask the students if this video matches up with their idea of a roboticist from earlier. It probably doesn’t. However, this silly idea has become very popular in the Maker community and now Hebocons are held all over the world. Why? What is so appealing about Hebocon? Those elements tell us about what the Maker community values.

Next, hand out the “What is Hekobon?” (sic) PDF listed above [ii]. Let the students know it has been translated from Japanese by Google Translate—i.e. It’s a crappy translation like the crappy robots.

Have the students break into 3 groups, one for each section of “What is Hebocon?”: 1. “Heavy,”/“First, Heavy Robot”/“Second, Heavy Creator;” 2. “Can I make a robot without technology?”/”Hebocon for everyone;” and 3. “Knowledge of the Hebocon.”

Ask each group to answer Key Question #4 for their group’s section.

Rejoin and have each group report the values they discovered. Once there is a consensus, have them apply Core Concept #5: “Most media messages are created for profit and/or power.” Since no one makes money off of Hebocon, what kind of “power” might its creators and organizers be seeking? If they reach the conclusion “the power to spread their values to be shared by others,” ask the students which of their own values they would want the power to spread, and how they might go about doing so.

Extended Activity: Have the students plan and promote a Hebocon for their class or school. When producing their rules and promotional materials, direct the students’ attention to Key Question #5 for producers, “Have I communicated my purpose effectively?” 

This MediaLit Moment was created by Mya Stark, Executive Director, LA Maker Space, http://lamakerspace.org


[1] Gui Cavalcanti, “Is it a Hackerspace, Makerspace, TechShop, or FabLab?,” MAKE: (blog), Maker Media Inc., May 22, 2013, http://makezine.com/2013/05/22/the-difference-between-hackerspaces-makerspaces-techshops-and-fablab[1] ヘボコンマスター 石川 大樹, “ヘボコンとは?,” @nifty (portal), NIFTY Corporation, accessed May 11, 2017, http://portal.nifty.com/hebocon/whats.htm.   

The Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions of media literacy were developed as part of the Center for Media Literacy’s MediaLit Kit™ and Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS)™ framework.  Used with permission, © 2002-2017, Center for Media Literacy, http://www.medialit.com 


Last Updated ( Thursday, 01 June 2017 08:35 )
 

A Link to Confusion

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In the “olden days,” people primarily relied upon newspapers for their news, and the papers were clearly labeled by section -- “News” “Features” “Opinion.”  Through everyday use, newspapers trained their readers to expect the international and national news on the front page, and state and local news in following pages, and to flip through the pages for articles about local heroes or topics of interest like Home and Garden, Sports, or their favorite columnists and Editorials. Today, such labels are abandoned when articles are lifted as links and shared via social media, or when people check YouTube for the latest news, or when people accept their friends’ postings as “news.”  When you read your news on Facebook (and many people do!) you are not alerted to the genre of the story, and it’s often hard to tell which category the story may fit. Especially difficult is distinguishing news reports from opinion pieces. 

Ask students to illustrate their understanding of the difference between an editorial and “hard” news.

AHA! Authors or producers generate stories with a purpose and an audience in mind.

Grade Level: 7-9

Key Question #1: Who created this message?

Core Concept #1: All media messages are constructed.

Key Question #3: How might different people understand this message differently?

Core Concept #3: Different people understand the same media message differently.

Key Question #5: Why is this message being sent?

Core Concept #5: Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.

Materials: Links to articles/YouTube videos in various genres for projection in front of the class.

Activity: If computers are available, break students into small groups and give them a specific story to research online. Ask them to find examples of a news report and an opinion piece on the same story. Or, do this as a class using a projector.  Use the Key Questions, and Definitions (provided below).

Ideas for research topics: 2017 Super Bowl, 2017 Oscars, Kim Kardashian jewelry theft, Bob Dylan Nobel Prize.  All of these topics have news reports as well as columns and op-eds that circulated widely on Facebook. For starters, check NPR for news reports, and Entertainment or Sports web sites for columns and opinion. Can your students identify the differences?  Do they or their friends mis-take opinion for news? Why is it important? What will they do differently?  

Definitions:

News – news reports are meant to be factual, verifiable accounts of an event. They are descriptive reports that rely on interviews with knowledgeable people and outside sources. News articles by professional journalists are assumed to be researched and fact-checked. “Hard” news is typically time-sensitive, judged by editors to be the most recent and important events and happenings of interest to readers, viewers or users.

Op-Ed – this is an opinion piece (editorial) written by someone with a distinct point of view. An Op-ed reflects the opinion and bias of the author (i.e. politics, sports…) and is not subjected to the same scrutiny for accuracy or for representation of various views in the content.

Columnists – a columnist is hired to write personalized editorials on a regular basis. They develop a following by expressing their opinions in their own unique style. 

Feature – features are human-interest stories that are not time-sensitive “hard” news. A Feature is an in-depth story of a person or event typically written to educate or entertain, to attract an audience.

The Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions of media literacy were developed as part of the Center for Media Literacy’s MediaLit Kit™ and Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS)™ framework.  Used with permission, © 2002-2017, Center for Media Literacy, http://www.medialit.com

Last Updated ( Friday, 19 May 2017 11:04 )
 

Sports Extravaganza

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Sporting events have become media extravaganzas providing a mediated experience to home viewers. What we see on TV is a highly choreographed block of time in which a game is played. There are commercial breaks, game-play graphics, close-ups and audio of coaches and players, with running commentary about every aspect of the game. What we experience via TV is vastly different from the experience of the fans in the stadium. Fans in the stadium are also treated to a media extravaganza with kiss-cams and music videos but it’s a different “show.” Stadium fans see live half-time shows and hear the crowd roar, but they also patiently wait for action to resume after commercial breaks, and they pay large sums of money for seats that sometimes require binoculars to see the action on the field.

Ask students to compare and contrast their experiences as sports fans.

AHA! Watching my favorite team on TV is way different than going to the game. 

Grade Level: 7-9

Key Question#2: What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
Core Concept #2: Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules.
Key Question #5: Why is this message being sent?
Core Concept #5: Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.

Materials: Access to article below

Activity: Ask your students if they saw any of the “big” games this year for baseball, football, basketball...Did they attend in person or watch on TV? What do they like about being in the stadium at the event? What do they like about watching on TV? Do they like or dislike the commercial breaks and running commentary? Do they like or dislike the camera coverage and replays available for home viewers? Why are coaches and team owners willing to stop play for commercial breaks? Why are sporting events scheduled to meet the needs of the TV audience?
Hint: Approx. 100 million people watched the Super Bowl in 2017 and saw the commercials. This exposure is worth millions of dollars to advertisers.

Ask your students to read the WSJ article My $170 NCAA Championship Nosebleed. This is an entertaining viewpoint about sitting in the last rows of the stadium and needing binoculars to see the field. Is just being at the event with the energy of the crowd worth it regardless of the seat? Or do your students prefer the media event via TV viewing?

The Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions of media literacy were developed as part of the Center for Media Literacy’s MediaLit KitTM and Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS)TM framework. Used with permission, © 2002-2017, Center for Media Literacy, http://www.medialit.com

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 25 April 2017 10:08 )
 
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Previous Issues:

 21st century skills
 a day in the life of a media literacy educator
 a year in review 2014
 a year in review december 2012
 advertising consumer debt and media literacy
 anytime anywhere learning
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 body image and media literacy
 building a strong foundation
 call to action
 cell phones as learning tools
 change management in schools
 children and media literacy part 2
 children and media literacy
 citizen journalism
 citizenship in the digital age part 2
 citizenship in the digital age
 cml media literacy trilogy
 comics and media literacy
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 confirmation bias and media literacy
 criteria for media literacy instruction
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 education creative economy australia
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 teaching healthy skepticism
 television and media literacy
 the mediated city and the public
 the role of journalism in society
 trust through technology
 us department of education
 voices of media literacy
 what media literacy is and is not
 whats in a name
 where are we now institutionalizing media literacy

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