Understanding Media Literacy

This program prompts students to examine the messages they are bombarded with daily.


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TV and radio commercials, Web sites and banner ads, magazine ads, pop songs, photos, and even news articles and textbooks: all of them are sending messages to influence the reader/viewer/listener. How do they grab their attention? What are they selling—a product or service? a lifestyle? an ideology?—and why?

Would a different media consumer interpret the message differently? This program raises more questions than it answers, which is the whole point: to prompt students to question, question, question the messages they are bombarded with daily. Savvy media consumers aren’t born—they’re made; and this program is an excellent tool for shaping the classroom dialogue.

Video Segments

1. Asking Questions About Media Messages The film moderator introduces teen to the concepts of active and passive media consumerism. Teens learn to ask questions such as, "Who sent me this message?" and "Why did they send me this message?"
2. Teenagers: Target Market for Advertisers Teens learn that most media messages are designed to sell a product, service, or point of view. Teens' questions open discussions about target marketing and the intention—or hidden agenda—of messages.
3. Photographic Media Literacy Media messages come in a variety of forms designed to grab teens' attention, such as photographs. Photographic techniques such as angle, framing, lighting, and photo alteration are analyzed for their effects on media consumers.
4. Media Literacy: Newspaper Articles Teens learn to consider the following when reading newspaper articles: author and author bias, author intention, stereotypes, and offensive content.
5. Media Messages: TV Commercials Teens analyze variations of a TV commercial for product identity, background music, character types, and sex appeal to determine whether they would purchase the product advertised.
6. Media Literacy: Movie Trailers Teens learn to identify how movie trailers make use of the following: role of the announcer, emotional affect of music, and number of high points shown.
7. Media Literacy: Print Ads Teens learn to look for the following when analyzing a print ad: text content, images, target market, and implied values.
8. Media Literacy: Songs From long instrumental ballads to short, up-beat modern pieces, songs are media messages. Teens learn to consider instrumentation, tempo, volume, emotion, vocals and lyrics, values, artist image, and genre.
9. Media Literacy: Radio Commercials Teens learn to analyze radio commercials by considering the following: affect and quality of voice, emotions that are evoked, contribution and quality of music, message content, effectiveness, and demographics.
10. Media Literacy: Websites Teens learn to analyze websites by considering website credibility, author expertise, conflict of interest, and types of website advertising.
11. Media Literacy: Online Ads Teens learn to analyze online ads by considering function of animation, attention focus, ad content and product visibility, identity of ad sponsor, and content of fine print.
12. Media Literacy: Textbooks Though most textbooks strive for accuracy and are important learning tools, teens learn to treat them in the same way as newspaper and magazine articles and other media messages. That is, they look for author credibility, bias, and accuracy.
13. Media Literacy: Subliminal Ads Teens learn to find subliminal messages where they wouldn't normally expect them, such as on clothing worn by sports figures, brand names inserted in written text, ad banners in restaurants, and sporting event sponsorship visibility.



Grade: 6-8, 9-12

Understanding Media Literacy (DVD)
© 2007
Time: 35 Minutes

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