Battle of the Sexes: Gender and Social Media
In the article, "Transforming Teaching and Learning Through Critical Media Literacy Pedagogy," by Antero Garcia, Robyn Seglem and Jeff Share, the authors discussed the idea of how important it is for teachers to be looking at critical media literacy in their teaching. What made this article different from other things that I've read and explored was the fact that it added the idea of not only consuming this media, but producing alternatives to it that offer other more accurate or effective points of view and also help students work towards the idea of digital citizenship.
I've always been a firm believer in the benefits of technology when used and regulated properly. I am absolutely convinced that there is an etiquette that must be applied to this technology when used in the classroom (cellphones, Facebook, iPads etc), but I have witnessed how much can be accomplished and also how much can be retained when appealing to the generations of students we are teaching today through these things. There were some excellent ideas throughout the article for assignments that can be used to make students more conscious of what the media is telling them. I loved the idea of reproducing the magazines so that they are more honest and almost sarcastic in exposing hidden agendas and hidden meanings - the example that stands out was transforming the People Magazine article into what essentially seemed more like a satire to me. I also really liked the Wanted Poster idea and the "Through Other's Eyes" assignment. Both provide opportunities for higher level thinking, but also for developing that self-representation and personal identity that we've been discussing.
I think it is really important to mention that while the article does discuss possible obstacles and barriers to this type of learning, I think in reality, it is very hard to teach this kind of literacy. I've taught Media Studies before on more than one occasion, and I have personally found that students today lack an awareness so much that they've somewhat conditioned themselves to only see things in this one way. I keep thinking of the Filter Bubble video that we watched as well because I feel like these two things go hand in hand. In some ways, it's almost like we sometimes create our own filter bubbles. I have taught students, and I know certain individuals, who don't want to see the world in any other way outside of their bubble. I'd like to think that the majority of my students take many things away from my units in Media, but I know that there are still so many issues that need to be addressed and as teachers, we feel like there is so little time. I once taught a unit on advertising and I recall extensively reviewing advertising techniques and using these great examples of them being applied in well-known commercials and print-ads. While I do feel that much was taken away from this unit, I still saw my students falling into marketing traps all the time. I guess what I'm essentially trying to say is that what's mentioned at one point in the article, which is that while some students will get the 'critical' side of media literacy, others won't - at least not right away. I think that this is true in many things, but would be especially hard to deal with in something so current and new.
In addition, while I work with high school and college students, I think that when dealing with younger students, the production aspect of critical media literacy might also prove complicated when it comes to consent. Production in media and technology often involves making things public and participating on the web and I'm sure that schools have privacy policies in place around these things. I once taught grade seven and did a blogging assignment which required me to send home consent forms to all parents. Fortunately, everyone agreed, but I'd imagine that some parents who aren't so open to the internet and technology (especially with younger children), may be hesitant to allow for the production to become public which is important in that participatory aspect of our culture.
While evidently challenging, I do believe that teaching critical media literacy is an essential skill that is lacking in many people (both youth and adults) today. This article has given me some great ideas on how to accomplish this or at least how to begin thinking about ways to make students more 'aware' of the importance of challenging information and power.
Christopher Reeve once said, "A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles." I've always really loved that quote because it reminds me of my
I've spent many years admiring great story-tellers and I've been consciously trying to incorporate my own stories into my classes, whether they be personal anecdotes or content related. I've gotten a positive response so far, and sometimes even at the end of a course I've taught, a student will remind me of a story I told way back when, and tell me that it has stuck with them or made a difference to their learning in some way. I once had a mature student tell me, "Your stories have taught me a lot about life" which was probably one of the greatest compliments I've ever been given.
In less than two weeks, I have been pleasantly surprised with the various readings assigned in class thus far. There have been many different aspects of technology and teaching discussed and for the purpose of this first post, I'm going to be discussing two of these topics: the evolution of self-representation, and digital storytelling.