My Pop Studio (Media Lab)
My Pop Studio, funded through a grant from the Office of Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is an online experience designed to educate girls between the ages of 8 to 16 about digital media. As the players complete a series of highly interactive assignments, they are able to think critically about how media is created and question the type of messages that are being sent to the viewer. Players can select from four “behind the scenes “opportunities: Magazine Studio, TV Studio, Music Studio or Digital Studio.
- In the Magazine Studio, players design a magazine layout that features the player as a celebrity. As they participate in the activities, the girls can write an advice column, learn about digital retouching, and most importantly, understand the role of body image in today’s culture.
- In the TV Studio, they can edit a TV show, examine their TV viewing choices, and share feedback about teen celebrities.
- In the Music Studio, the player creates a pop star and song from a list of choices. After creating and listening to the star “perform” the song they created, the player has a chance to reflect on the role of values in music.
- In the Digital Studio, users practice their multi-tasking abilities while completing a series of tasks. This leads them to a chance to share their experiences with the challenges of working online. Finally, they are able to reflect on the role of media and technology in their social relationships.
My Pop Studio’s message about the role of media in adolescents’ lives is subtle while imparting an important message to the player. The site is important because it promotes a positive self esteem for young girls while strengthening media literacy skills. A curriculum guide for parents and teachers accompanies the website. Video segments, animation, and quizzes, and moderated blogs make the website a valuable resource for teachers and parents. Although the interactive games are designed to be used individually or with a partner, the activities are an excellent place to start conversations about health issues like body image, nutrition and weight management, and positive self esteem.
On a scale of one to ten, this is definitely a “ten”!