Teaching Media Fluency skills is crucial to the educational environment as technology continues to reshape how students think and react to digital media and the messages they receive. This is an important aspect of teaching that cannot be ignored. All students should be able to access, analyze, evaluate and create media in a number of forms. This shapes their understanding of how media affects society. They also learn why Media Fluency is essential in the digital age.
Possessing Media Fluency skills fulfill a number of needs:
- They develop critical thinking capacity
- Students can better identify target markets
- They help students recognize bias and misinformation
- They hone the ability to distribute personalized media messages
These are just a few effective lesson ideas that can be taught focusing on Media Fluency. You can make a definitive impact on shaping the minds of students and broaden their critical thinking skills with such activities. In the process, you’ll also provide an alternative perspective on media and how it is used. Students can look forward to building other important learning skills as an added bonus such as writing, researching, and analytical thinking.
1. Picture Prose
Students view an image of some sort. They then brainstorm about the events and characters that could be a part of the image. Next they write from a character point of view. They share their thoughts, feelings and the events that led up to the picture, or events that will take place after. This also supports narrative writing.
2. Fact or Fiction
Using Snopes.com, students will learn about urban legends and investigate why people believe in them. This happens through a discussion about sources of information. The focus is how to determine whether or not those sources can be identified as credible.
Introduce students to Snopes.com and to urban legends found on the site. Next, let them survey the information and identify additional sources to confirm whether the legend is true or false. Lead a discussion on how media can shape perception, whether true or false.
3. What’s in a (Digital) Name?
This is about creating a safe persona on the Internet. For this Media Fluency lesson, students discuss online personas and profiles through researching and discussing their names. Have them investigate the role that situation and audience play in using a nickname or full name. Determine what name would be most appropriate for social media and email.
They discuss what name they would choose and why it would best represent them online. More importantly, they discuss how it can be perceived by that platform’s audience.
4. Men, Women, and Media
Haver students explore representations of men and women and discuss their findings. They would construct a collage of images that represent men or women and discuss how each one is depicted in the media. The idea is to deconstruct those messages by identifying the source and how it may have influenced audience perception.
5. Copyright Capers
This Media Fluency lesson explores issues of copyright infringement through the discussion of downloading music from the Internet. Students will call upon prior knowledge and experiences on how they retrieve music online. Next they conduct Internet research to understand the history and legalities of copyright infringement. They would then synthesize the information and evaluate the content and their points of view. They will end up taking a stand on their beliefs of whether downloading is right or wrong.
6. Tech Reviews
Students get to employ analytical thinking in this one by reviewing a technology of their choice and researching reviews of that technology. The students will then use a list of evaluation and review questions to think about why the technology is used and why people choose one over the other. Have them write a personal evaluation of the technology and offer recommendations on the audiences it is best suited for.