And information coming to them is so overwhelming that they must be able to make sense of it in line withthe values being taught in school."Another special day for the Confirmation class was created through bringing in youth leader, MichaelDanielson to conduct a discussion about media messages. During this dynamic session, Danielsonhelped students understand the basic principals of media literacy and how they relate to such everydayexperiences as movie and television watching.In a departure from previous years, 5th to 8th-graders received an advanced media literacy activity in theform of hands-on animation workshops. The event was sponsored by OLM's Cultural Affairs and MediaLiteracy committees to hone students' creative thinking skills as well as animation production knowledge."The rationale behind this particular workshop was that doing something in either visual arts, animation,digital arts and/or video would be more relevant for kids," said Jane Smith, Cultural Affairs DepartmentChair. There was also a financial benefit since both divisions' budgets were used to meet costs.Under the tutelage of Los Angeles-based animation-education company, AnimAction, Inc., students wroteand produced their own animated stories which were presented to parents and teachers at a festive,evening "Premier Night." The animation workshop was so overwhelmingly successful, that it is thecornerstone for future media literacy activity at the school."I think the workshop gave students a newfound appreciation for animation and that it could be used for something besides trivial entertainment," said Dr. Barbara Burgan, OLM teacher and Faculty Coordinator for the AnimAction program. And in an exciting turn of events, the segments were actually aired onMalibu's local public access station.
Generalizable Abilities Acquired Through Media Literacy
"...Creating and performing a rock song or scripting, shooting and editing a video takes adolescents out of their consumeristic passivity and unleashes their energy and imagination. If combined with research,discussion, writing and other traditional modes of instruction, producing popular art media could refineand advance adolescents' evaluative abilities. And as they explore this new ground, young people will findtheir own voices in their own local setting" (Schwarz, 2000).In utilizing media-themed, meaning-centered curriculum and reflective thinking processes, students maybecome more "connected" to standardized school subjects while developing a position of empowermentthrough pro-active and disciplined questioning, reasoning and knowledge acquisition.Support for this rationale comes from concepts such as:
Media Literacy as Meaning-Centered Curriculum.
Media literacy is contextualized based on analysis of television, film, websites, video games, commercialsand music that children use and watch in the realworld. So, instead of disconnected fact learning, thisform of education has real, immediate applicability tothe decisions students make in their everyday lives.
The core of constructivistpedagogy is empowering students to construct their own understandings through playing with ideas,exploring issues and encountering new information(Brooks and Brooks, 1993). Many elements of this popular concept of teaching and learning areingrained in media literacy education, including: presenting real-world possibilities andencouraging students to analyze, synthesize and evaluate problems and solutions; using primarysources and hands-on materials; encouragement of teacher-student and student-studentdialogue; and stimulating student inquiry through asking thoughtful, open-ended questions(Brooks and Brooks, 1993).
Key Elements for Starting a Media Literacy Program
Media Literacy Training and Staff Support.
Lesson Plans and Accessible Media Literacy Resources.