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Media Across the Curriculum: Lessons from a TV Studio

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Lizzy was working on a short movie about Women’s History Month for her broadcast media class. Using the “labeled for reuse with modifications” Google search option, she had gathered images to represent women’s accompishments over the years. Now she was inserting text throughout her film, highlighting the names of pioneering women.

“What do you think?” she asked Bella. “Crafty Girls font or Special Elite?” She turned her laptop so her friend could see her work.

“Oh, not Crafty Girls! That’s way too swirly -  doesn’t match the tone of your movie. Stick with something more serious. I like Special Elite - it looks like a typewriter - it goes with those older photos.”

Since Lizzy, Bella and their classmates create media for their school’s daily news show, they have begun to recognize (and use) the strategies that artists, graphic designers, and advertisers use to influence viewers. Prior to this class, most students wouldn’t realize how a particular ad might affect their shopping habits, but now that they are on the other side of the screen, designing media themselves, they are becoming quite savvy about the careful construction and potential uses of media.

Our students navigate a world that is saturated with various forms of media: images on their cell phones, movies on their iPads, text on screens and paper; and GIFs, emojis, and tweets dominate their communications. But passively consuming and sharing media does little to improve students’ media literacy skills. It is in the creation of media that we begin to understand how much media can influence us. When we use the strategies that media-makers use, we view media with new eyes. We become critical consumers, less likely to be swayed by the images that surround us every day.

Media production is a natural part of any broadcast class, as you wouldn’t see a news show that doesn’t include images, videos, and text on the screen. But your students shouldn’t have to enroll in a broadcast class before they discover the power of media production. Engaging your students in media production will not only build their digital literacy skills, but it will offer them a variety of ways to demonstrate their learning.

Here are some resources for incorporating media production across the curriculum:

Worried about learning how to use all these tools yourself? Never fear! Your students will love diving into new apps, and they will especially enjoy teaching YOU how to use them. 

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