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Counting Characters

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We have been living in a media world driven by sound bites for many years now, but Twitter has taken that trend to a whole new level. A sound bite is a quick clip or phrase that media outlets use to (supposedly) sum up a whole story or issue in one quick simple statement. A sound bite is essentially an audio version of a tweet. Like a sound bite, when we are communicating with tweets of 140-280 characters, we are not necessarily getting or telling the full story since the message lacks context. This is a problem. But, given that millions of tweets are sent each day it behooves us to train students to use the platform in a positive way.

Have your students generate a tweet as a community service message.

AHA! Different formats impact my message and creativity!

Grade: 8-12

This is a production activity. The following Key Questions are aimed at the producer of the message. To see Key Questions for consumers, please go to our website www.medialit.com.

Key Question #1: What am I authoring?
Core Concept #1: All media messages are constructed.
Key Question #2: Does my message reflect understanding in format, creativity, technology?
Core Concept #2: Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules.
Key Question #3: Is my message engaging and compelling for my audience?
Core Concept #3: Different people experience the same message differently.
Key Concept #4: Have I clearly and consistently framed values, lifestyles and points of view?
Core Concept #4: Media have embedded values and points of view.
Key Question #5: Have I communicated my purpose?
Core Concept #5: Most media messages are sent to gain profit and/or power (influence).

Materials: School twitter feed (#) for this project. Smartphones and projection screen.

Activity: In pairs, ask students to decide on a community service message they want to share with their classmates. Examples might be: reminder about a clothes drive for disaster victims, register to vote, driver safety, recycling... and have them create a tweet (only one tweet) to get themessageout. Displaythetwitterfeedonalargescreenanddiscussasthetweetscome in.

Ask students: Was this difficult? Do they wish they could tell a fuller story? Or offer more details? How did they decide what to include or omit? Why did they choose this particular issue for their classmates (audience)? Is there enough information in a tweet to ensure understanding? Do they like this mode of communication for important subjects or would they prefer a different way to share the information? Is the character limit a plus or minus? Use the Key Questions to analyze the tweets.

Additional resources: Article from NPR teaching students to use social media the right way.

The Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions of media literacy w ere developed as part of the Center for Media Literacy’s MediaLit KitTM and Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS)TM framework. Used with permission, © 2002-2018, Center for Media Literacy.




Last Updated ( Monday, 29 January 2018 11:10 )
 

Selfie Fix-ation

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Did you know the word selfie is now in the dictionary? Per Merriam-Webster online, it means: an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks. When it comes to posting images online, we all know about cropping and filters, but what might come as a surprise is that there are apps designed to alter selfies by “fixing” facial and/or body features. These apps promote the notion that a natural look is not pretty enough and contribute to unrealistic standards for beauty.

Ask students if an altered selfie is still a selfie?

AHA! Some selfies are not real.

Grade: 7-12

Key Question #1: Who created this message?
Core Concept #1: All media messages are constructed.
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 #4: What values, lifestyles, points of view are included or omitted in 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 organized to gain profit and/or power.

Materials: Video from Amanda Hess, The New York Times, The Ugly Business of Beauty Appshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bch1lxd7prs

Activity: Ask students to pair up and talk about their social media habits. Do they post selfies? Do they alter their selfies? Do they think celebrities alter their selfies? If so, why? What do they think when they see a digitally altered selfie? Why do people post selfies in the first place? Is an altered selfie still a selfie?

Show The Ugly Business of Beauty Apps video and continue the discussion. Ask a few students to share their thoughts with the class as they address the Key Questions/Core Concepts of media literacy.

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 ( Tuesday, 28 November 2017 14:41 )
 

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 )
 


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