Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Media studies

One of my favorite topics to teach is media studies: Currently I'm guiding a class of sophomores and juniors through a media analysis unit - fostering critical thinking about the media they consume.

A few areas of study for our thematic unit include:
  • analyzing cable and local news for quality of content and bias
  • studying the impact of social media
  • examining the changing role of journalists
  • the role of journalism in a democracy
I'm working to give my students the tools they need to be educated, savvy media consumers in today's age of total media saturation. To complete this lesson, together we're building a participatory blog/online forum, and the entire process is a real thrill as I put my communications degree and experience to work.

As much as I enjoy teaching literature like the unit on Elie Wiesel's Night my freshman class is currently undertaking, or examining the poetry of John Keats, it's media studies and mass communication/new media that hold my unwavering attention.

I've been a student of media since I read Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neal Postman as a young man; I now hope to instill a similar passion for critically consuming media to my students.

Update 2.5.10: Was just on the ASCD's blog and I see a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation claiming kids between ages eight and 18 spend almost eight hours a day engaged with electronic devices such as computers, TVs and smart phones! The blog's author asks, "Do you help students manage their media intake?" Absolutely!

(Click here to view a lesson plan from this comprehensive unit)

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