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Showing posts from July 6, 2008

Media Literacy Curriculum

Adapted from the McREL Standards DatabaseWhat students should knowabout different media:1.That media messages have economic, political, social, and aesthetic purposes (e.g., to make money, to gain power or authority over others, to present ideas about how people should think or behave, to experiment with different kinds of symbolic forms or ideas)2.How different media (e.g., documentaries, current affairs programs, web pages) are structured to present a particular subject or point of view 3.The elements involved in the construction of media messages and products (e.g., the significance of all parts of a visual text, such as how a title might tie in with main characters or themes)4.The production elements (i.e., rhetorical elements) that contribute to the effectiveness of a specific medium (e.g., the way black-and-white footage implies documented truth; the way set design suggests aspects of a character's socio-cultural context; effectiveness of packaging for similar products and t…

Enduring Understandings in Media Literacy

1. Audiences actively interpret mediaMeaning does not reside in the media text itself, but is a product of the interaction between text and audience. Audiences interpret meaning based on situational elements such as geography, culture, age, class, gender, time of day, and the context in which they interact with the medium. Various media forms resonate in different ways, depending upon the experiences, values and knowledge that audiences bring to it. Although audiences differ in their perceptions, understandings and reactions to media, the key to media literacy is to educate them to be aware of their own subjectivity as well as that of others.2. All media are constructionsMedia are neither reality nor windows to the world. Instead, they are carefully constructed products – from newspaper headlines to nature documentaries. A media literate person is aware that many decisions are made in the construction of each media product and that even the most realistic images represent someone’s in…

Media and The Assault of Man's Body

by Brandon Keim

In the movie Fight Club, the character Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt) boards a bus and is confronted by an advertisement depicting a model's perfectly muscled fantasy male body, sculpted by pathological obsession and posed as if natural. "Is that what a real man is supposed to look like?" he asks.It's a common question, though not always a conscious one. Modern life takes place amidst a never-ending barrage of flesh on screens, pages, and billboards. These images convey assumptions about what is desirable in our physical selves while dispensing with reality. AdvertisementBecause the media have been objectifying women for so long, researchers have had time to create a body of literature on the effects of these images on women. (In short, they make women feel worse about themselves, and often cause unhealthy behaviors.) But over the past two decades, the gender gap in media objectification has closed. Every bit as unattainable as Barbie-doll proporti…