Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Book Series and PBL in Media Literacy

Source: Capstone Publishing
The Fact Finder book series by Capstone Publishing helped us design one of our signature TIME (technology, information, and media education) project-based learning units called Question It. This set of eight books provides a perfect way to introduce media literacy to students in the elementary classroom. Each book covers a different media, including magazines, television, movies, music, news, video and computer gaming, online, and new media. Their catchy titles, such as Coming Distractions (movies), TV Takeover (television) and Music Madness (music), appeal to kids as well.

The similarity in design and format makes it easy for students to work in groups on a particular topic, and each book revolves around the five key questions toward becoming media literate:
Who made the message and why?
Who is the message for?
How might others view the message differently?
What is left out of the message?

How does the message get and keep my attention?
Source: Capstone Publishing
In addition, each book provides an overview of the people who work in the different media industries and the lingo peppered throughout, giving kids the language to understand terminology such as target audience and product placement, as well as other lingo particular to the field.

Source: Capstone Publishing
By using this series as a springboard for their project, the students learned about the reality of what goes on behind the scenes on their topic. They produced their own media pieces to teach their peers about the validity of online media, marketing techniques in magazines, or the gimmicks used in music promotion and movie hype. This included understanding the techniques used for product placement, fact verses opinion, appeal, and the art of persuasion.

The students used their research to create iMovies to inform others how to question what they see, hear and read in the media, and they made a formal presentation showcasing their work at our local Apple store. Plain and simple, these young media moguls took control and came away with a wealth of understanding about media conglomerates. Essentially, they became smart consumers by learning how to be media-savvy producers to teach others.

For more information on how we integrate media literacy into student learning, please see our earlier posts on the topic.


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