This module we delved into the significance of media in the lives of our students today. There is no denying that kids are surrounded by media every waking moment of their lives. It would not only be negligent as educators to ignore the media’s influence on our students, but it would also be a missed opportunity to utilize a widely available and rich educational resource.
One of our readings presented a model to follow when teaching about the media in the classroom. Maness (2010) described 3 components educators should include in media education. First, a teacher should listen to the students to determine where they are in their media knowledge and understanding. Teachers should then activate and draw out the skills students already possess as they critically view the media with which they engage. It is important for students to know that they actively implement their own processes of discernment when they engage in the media that interests them, when they react to it in a specific way, and when they incorporate media influences into their own lives. Finally, teachers need to extend students’ media knowledge by correcting misinformation and equipping them with the skills to effectively connect this knowledge to their own lives and the world around them.
Learning about the media can start as early as in kindergarten and can be incorporated into most content areas. In reading, students can learn about fiction and non-fiction and how it is represented in familiar media. Environmental print in the media is a powerful reading tool in that it empowers young students to identify themselves as readers. Printed media, such as magazines, are useful in Social Studies as young learners can use them to identify a variety of human behaviors and emotions.
Much discussion during this module centered on technology use in the classroom and at home. There was concern regarding the amount of social interaction that takes place via technology and how this can impact communication skills. At the same time, students are experiencing an array of cultures across the globe through podcasting, video conferencing, or even email. These are experiences that would have been unattainable a few short years ago. It is clear that the media, and technology in particular, is a critical tool in our society today but it must be used with awareness and caution and viewed with a critical eye. Therefore, media knowledge needs to be purposefully embedded in our curriculum in order for students to grow to be discerning media consumers.
Maness, K. (2010). Teaching media-savvy students about the popular media. In F. Parkay, et al., Curriculum leadership: Readings for developing quality educational programs (pp. 118-124). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.