Teach Your Students to Read Their World Using Classroom Media Analysis Videos by Project Look Sharp

There are many stories about the problems in education, but unfortunately fewer about solutions. Teachers are busy. Engaging students is difficult. Educators have to increasingly teach to the test and meet state standards to prepare students for college and the workplace. Many sites on the Internet provide data, resources, and information – but few show you how to use them.

To help bridge this gap, Project Look Sharp at Ithaca College has developed a series of videos to help K-12 educators lead discussions based on a Constructivist Media Decoding philosophy. These 5-10 minute long videos show how teachers can engage all students by employing objective-based questioning strategies to deconstruct carefully chosen media documents.

The videos demonstrate the process of facilitating group learning about media literacy. Students are prompted to think critically about all media messages by asking questions such as:

• Who produced this media message, and for what purpose?
• Is the information credible, how would you know?
• What techniques were used to communicate this message?
• Who might be the target audience?
• Who might benefit or be harmed by this message?
• How might other people interpret this message differently?

As shown in the videos, teachers respond with evidence-based prompts such as: “What makes you say that and where is that shown in the document?” These literacy principles are often preceded by content questions that encourage students to analyze media documents, including:

• What are the main messages here about… (fill in the blank)?
• What bias or point of view do you see here?
• What information is left out of this message and why?

Project Look Sharp developed these materials after assessing how some teachers present media documents to illustrate key points rather than to engage students. The videos include running annotations that explain how to conduct discussions about media messages using the constructivist methodology. Teachers will learn how to shift their practices from predominantly delivering facts to engaging students in rigorous analysis, application of key knowledge, and reflection on their understanding of the mediated world they live in.


Find the videos on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6Hkm6JGfZo3ipCOUUEAiSq0cHXVK3awx

Project Look Sharp is a leading developer of media analysis activities that integrate core curriculum content and standards with constructivist decoding strategies. These activities tie into specific content areas, grade levels, and standards, making it easy for teachers can integrate critical thinking skills with core subject area content. Their web site at http://www.projectlooksharp.org contains lessons that analyze paintings, web sites, songs, articles, video clips, advertisements, Facebook pages, and more.

Project Look Sharp is Ithaca College’s Media Literacy Initiative. Project Look Sharp supports the integration of critical thinking through media literacy in school curriculum and teaching. They do this through developing and providing lesson plans, media materials, training, and support for educators at all education levels. The purpose of media literacy education is to help individuals of all ages develop the habits of inquiry and skills of expression they need to be critical thinkers, effective communicators, and active citizens in today’s world.

From day one, Ithaca College prepares students for personal and professional success through hands-on experience with internships, research and study abroad. Its integrative curriculum builds bridges across disciplines and uniquely blends liberal arts and professional study. Located in New York’s Finger Lakes region, the College is home to 6,100 undergraduate and 400 graduate students and offers over 100 degree programs in its schools of Business, Communications, Humanities and Sciences, Health Science and Human Performance, and Music.



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