"Media Literacy In The K-12 Classroom" (ISTE, 2012)
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Great ideas. I always appreciate hearing from educators who find my book valuable in their work. Thanks so much for sharing.
Frank, I told you some months ago that my independent study course using your book was approved. I wanted to share a little something I created based on your book. I was asked outline two activities (of my own invention or from my own research, but based on principles in your book) that students could complete to become more skilled in the language of visual literacy or advertising. Thanks for the inspiration! I outlined them below.
a. “The Story Behind the Picture: Seeing and Not Seeing”
Students will look at several photographs and make notes about what they think is going on -- context, setting, events, completing a chart about what elements make them come to those conclusions. Photos will be chosen for their ambiguity or for the variety of interpretations. After discussion, students will be given additional information and discuss how that information may/may not change their interpretation. One example is Ruth Orkin’s photo American Girl in Italy, taken in 1951. Students may assume the woman is scared. They may also not know why so many men inhabit the streets. Background information like the time period (after WW2, when many men were unemployed, etc) as well as the photographer’s own account will alter the “message” they originally had of the photo.
b. “‘Know Your Audience’: Magazine Advertising Demographics”
After an introduction to the use of demographics in targeted advertising, students will look at a variety of advertisements from three magazines with different demographic targets (ex: Food & Wine, Motocross, and Elle). The advertisements will be separated from the magazines with all identifying text removed. Based on the products and the advertisers’ modes of promoting them (images, text, language, etc), students will construct a typical “audience” member the ad is targeting. They will provide justification, identifying elements that guided their conclusions. Once the magazines are revealed, students will read selections from the magazine industry’s demographics profiles and match the advertisements to the criteria.
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