Home MediaLit Moments
MediaLit Moments

To Be or Not to Be? That is the Social Networking Question

E-mail Print PDF

According to a recent MacArthur Foundation study, teens typically use social networking sites to “hang out” with friends.  Teens also put together personal pages as an expression of their style, creating something to make an impression on other teens who “hit” their site out of curiosity. In this MediaLit Moment, your students will explore the difference between personal pages they use primarily to communicate with friends and pages they design primarily to make an impression on people they don’t know.  In the process, your students are likely to discover that they create different personas for themselves from page to page.      

Have your students create a personal home page designed to impress someone they would like to meet. 

AHA!: The “me” I show to my friends is different from the “me” I show to somebody I don’t know!

Key Question #1 for Producers:  What am I authoring?

Core Concept #1: All media messages are constructed.

Grade:  9+

Materials:  Computer, data projector, screen, high speed internet connection.  OR printed screen shots of students’ home pages and the new pages they’ve created.

HOMEWORK: Ask your students to start a home page which they would use to introduce themselves to someone they would like to meet.  See the suggestions below for possible scenarios. 

If they wish, students can create this as a subsection of their home page.  If students do not yet have an account with a social networking site provider, this may be an opportunity for them to get started, though they could draw a plan of their new site as well. 

POSSIBLE SCENARIOS/TOPICS: You’ve been asked to host a foreign exchange student in your home.  Put together a page which tells the student about the US, the city you live in, and about yourself.  Or, let’s say you would like to be a foreign exchange student in another country. Create a page in which you introduce yourself to a potential host family.       

What’s your dream job?  What would your dream company be like?  Now imagine that this company is looking for entry-level employees.  Put together a page that might impress the people at this company. 

Create a page or profile to send to a group (offline or online) that you might like to join.

Is there a college or school you hope to attend in the future?  Work on a page that you would like to send to that school.

Create a page for someone who’s an expert at something you would like to learn more about (examples -- a comic/graphic novel illustrator, a fashion designer, a local musician).

IN CLASS: When students return to class, ask them to compare old and new pages.  Ask them to complete the following fill-in-the-blank response:  The _________ (student’s name) I see in my new page is _______________  (personal qualities--for example, organized, scary, serious, laid-back, knowledgeable, etc. )

In small groups, or as a class, discuss the differences between students’ pages, (especially the different kind of people they appear to be from page to page).

Extended Discussion: 

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.

In small groups, students talk about their design process as well.  What kinds/categories of items did they place in the new page that they did not have “up” on their old page?  Why?  


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, © 2002-2008, Center for Media Literacy, www.medialit.com  



Last Updated ( Monday, 06 July 2009 07:43 )

Making of a Model

E-mail Print PDF

The beauty and fashion industries spare no expense in transforming models into goddess-like figureheads for company advertising.  In this MediaLit Moment, your students will take an inside look at some of the techniques used to make this transformation happen.    

Ask students to identify the techniques used to turn a woman into a billboard model

AHA!  A lot of people have to do a lot of work to create the image I see on a billboard or in a magazine ad!   

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

Grade Level:  9+  

Materials:  Computer with internet access, data projector and screen 

The goal of Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty (http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.com)  is to “widen definitions of beauty” in an attempt to free women from constrictive beauty stereotypes.  The website features a number of videos, including its “Evolution” video: http://www.dove.us/#/features/videos/default.aspx[cp-documentid=7049560]/ This video begins with an initial photo shoot of a woman, then lurches into fast motion as its depicts the application of make-up, hairstyling, and digital enhancements used to turn her into a fashion photo image.  The video is just over a minute in length.   

Questions for Discussion:   What techniques were used to make this woman look so flawless?  What changes had to be made to her appearance?  Is this type of beauty attainable for the advertiser's audience?

Further Discussion: The video ends with the message:  “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted.  Every girl deserves to feel beautiful just the way she is.” As you prepare to lead this discussion, consider Core Concept  #4:  Media have embedded values and points of view.

You may also want to lead students in a discussion of the Campaign for Real Beauty.  As you prepare, consider: Key Question #5:  Why is this message being sent? and Core Concept #5:  Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.

Questions for discussion:  Why did Dove put together this video?  Why would this company, which is also involved in the beauty industry, start a campaign for “real beauty”?    

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, © 2002-2008, Center for Media Literacy, www.medialit.com   

Last Updated ( Monday, 06 July 2009 07:45 )

Going for Gold: Ads from the Olympic Games

E-mail Print PDF

Advertisers often create different ads to sell the same product to different (niche) audiences. They spend large amounts of research time and money to determine what appeals to certain audiences. Television advertisers for the Beijing Summer Olympics used a number of strategies to market their brands, and creating a sense of heightened emotional participation in the lives of athletes was one of the most common--and popular--approaches advertisers used.  With this Media Lit Moment, you can help students identify some of the responses advertisers hoped to elicit from viewers of the summer games. 

Have students investigate their responses to an advertisement about a famous Olympic defeat (Visa). 

AHA!  This advertiser knows I’m a fan of the Olympic games and has targeted this ad to me to stir my emotions. They want me to like their brand because I like the Olympics! 

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

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

Grade Level:  middle school + 

Materials:  Still frame from or entire advertisement by Visa for Beijing Olympics which narrates the injury and defeat of Derek Redmond in a 1992 summer games track event.  Computer with internet access and projection screen; OR overhead projector and transparency for still shot. 

Resources:  Article on Olympic advertisements from August 18th Wall Street Journal online, which includes a free video link to the advertisement.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121901681793648157.html   And/or sample still shot from: http://www.astropix.com/SPORTSPIX/OLYMPICS/1992/92_11.HTM

Activity:  The camera and the narration for this ad devote significant attention to the athlete’s pained expressions and Redmond’s father helping him walk to the finish line. Have the students talk about the image(s) and the emotions they evoke.   What is their response to the close-ups of Redmond in his moment of defeat?   What do they think/feel about the presence of Redmond’s father in the scene?  What does this ad make them think or feel about the Olympic Games in general?What kind of response do they think the advertiser hoped they would have?  Why would Visa create this ad?  (Visa is not only promoting its product, but its sponsorship of the 2008 summer games).   

Encourage Further Discussion:  Use the Wall Street Journal article to discuss television advertisements for the Olympics in a broader context.  The article discusses the pricing of ads, Nielsen rankings for most popular ads, and the different types of ads which tended to be the most popular.  The online article also includes free links to about fifteen of the most popular ads, including a few ads for Chinese audiences.       

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, © 2002-2008, Center for Media Literacy, www.medialit.com   


Last Updated ( Monday, 06 July 2009 07:46 )

Who Gave SpongeBob His Square Pants?

E-mail Print PDF

Aside from the celebrities who lend their voices to big budget productions by Pixar, voiceover artists are some of the least known people in Hollywood. Yet these are the very people who are so instrumental in the creation of animated characters that we all know and love, from SpongeBob to the Family Guy to Remy the Rat in Ratatouille. 

In this MediaLit Moment, students get to discover what it takes to create an animated character. 

AHA!  Somebody had to create this character before he ever came to life!  SpongeBob is the result of someone’s imagination.

CML Key Question #1:   Who created this message?

CML Core Concept #1:  All media messages are constructed

Grade Level:  3-6

Materials:  DVD player, DVD of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, or access to Tom Kenny in Central Park at www.nick.com/turbonick/video 

Activities:  Ask students what they know about the making of cartoons.  How are cartoons created? Who decides what the character looks like, what he says, what he wears, where he lives, who his friends are? Who is your favorite cartoon character? Why?   

For any of the SpongeBob DVDs, play the special features which discuss Tom Kenny’s role in creating the SpongeBob character.  Make sure to include live shots of Kenny voicing the character in studio.  Or see the link above for Tom Kenny in Central Park.

Ask students questions to assess their comprehension of the feature they’ve finished watching.  Who is Tom Kenny?  What does he do?  How important is Tom Kenny’s voice to the character of SpongeBob?  What did Kenny and others do to turn SpongeBob into the character we see on the screen?     

Extended activity:  Can you draw a cartoon character? What would the voice of your character sound like? 

CML Key Question  # 1 for Producers:  What am I authoring?

Materials:  “Animatics” special features on SpongeBob DVDs.  The animatics features  re-play voice tracks from the DVD while displaying just the storyboards for the corresponding scenes.  Or  access the Inside Nicktoons Studio with SpongeBob SquarePants at www.nick.com/turbonick/video   You’ll find a link there to a video of an artist drawing the characters.    


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, © 2002-2008, Center for Media Literacy, www.medialit.com   

Last Updated ( Monday, 06 July 2009 07:48 )

Who is renting my eyeballs?

E-mail Print PDF

The Product Placement Counting Game

Product placement is an increasingly common practice whereby advertisers pay media makers to use or display their products as props in movies, television shows and video games. Here’s a “teachable moment” to help students recognize who is renting their eyeballs when they watch their favorite shows or movies.

Have students count product placements in media programs:  TV shows, videogames, social networking sites all provide great resources.    

AHA! My media is full of hidden advertisements. I’m being influenced without realizing it!  And sometimes these product placements affect how the story is being told…the advertisers are renting my eyeballs and often, I’m paying them for the privilege!

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

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

Grade Level:  3 – 12

Materials: Video or DVD of a current film, videogame or television clip appropriate to your age group that contains multiple product placements, DVD/VCR player, paper or chalk board, internet access.    

Resources: http://www.brandchannel.com/  tracks product placements in the week’s number one film and includes archives from past years. 

Activity:  Have the students talk about advertising in general. What were some examples of products? Where do you see most advertisements?  How do you know if you are viewing an ad? When you see the specific name of a product being used in a TV show or movie, do you consider that an ad? Why or why not? Have you ever heard the term “product placement?” 

Show the media piece or the video clip twice. First, look at it through without stopping or commenting. Then look at it again and have students note (or call out) when they recognize a specific product being used. List all products on the board in front of the class. How many products did the students count? 

Guiding Questions for additional discussion: How can viewers know when a product is used for artistic or narrative reasons and when it is simply a paid product placement?  Who benefits from product placements and who is hurt by it?  Is it unethical if money is paid for an ad that is never identified as advertising?  Why are product placements not listed at the end of a TV show or movie? Are there times when product placements are useful or helpful?   

Have the students go online to media industry web sites to see examples and read how the industry describes product placements.

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, © 2002-2008, Center for Media Literacy, www.medialit.com   

Last Updated ( Friday, 31 March 2017 11:42 )

Page 22 of 22
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
 artificial intelligence- a new mil application
 big data
 body image and media literacy
 bots terrorism and media literacy
 building a strong foundation
 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
 community media
 confirmation bias and media literacy
 copyright and media literacy
 covid 19 - shaking up education and family life
 criteria for media literacy instruction
 crowdfunding and media literacy
 data representation and media literacy
 digital britain
 documentary film and media literacy
 education and creative economy
 education creative economy australia
 empowerment theory practice activism
 esl and media literacy
 fair use for media literacy
 faith and media literacy
 frameworks for inquiry
 gender representation media
 global citizenship media literacy
 global education
 heuristics nudge theory and the internet of things
 history of media literacy
 institutionalizing media literacy through legislation
 leadership elizabeth thoman
 len masterman and the big ideas of media literacy
 libraries museums and informal learning
 maps and media literacy
 media and body image
 media and information literacy
 media and information literacy part 2
 media deconstruction as essential learning skill
 media literacy computational thinking
 media literacy risk assessment
 media literacy and 21st century skills
 media literacy and arts education
 media literacy and common core
 media literacy and human rights
 media literacy and masculinity
 media literacy and media businesses in the post-soviet baltics  a strategic defense priority
 media literacy and media construction
 media literacy and nutrition
 media literacy and personal data management
 media literacy and pharmaceutical advertising
 media literacy and science
 media literacy and student empowerment
 media literacy and the environment
 media literacy and video games
 media literacy early childhood education
 media literacy for grown ups
 media literacy in the community
 media literacy june 2019
 media literacy march 2021
 media literacy may 2019
 media literacy november 2019
 media literacy pioneers
 media literacy policy and legislation
 media literacy q1 2020
 media morals and empowerment
 media representation lgbtq
 media violence and media relationships
 media violence
 mobilizing for media literacy
 monsters and media literacy
 new curriculum and media literacy
 online privacy and media literacy
 online safety
 parents and media literacy
 participation in what
 professional development for media literacy
 propaganda and media literacy
 public health and media literacy - march
 reality tv and media literacy
 redefining school communities
 research media literacy
 responding to racism and stereotypes in media
 self representation and media literacy
 sexism in media
 social networking
 sports and media literacy
 systems thinking and media literacy
 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- guillermo orozco gomez
 what media literacy is and is not
 whats in a name
 where are we now institutionalizing media literacy
 whom do we trust the people
 youth participation in media literacy