Tag Archives: media literacy

New Literacies and Kittens!

I was shown one of the funniest Youtube videos I’ve seen in a while yesterday, which I have embedded below.

The video, Kittens!  Inspired by Kittens!, is of a little girl video taping herself “reading” a book about… well… kittens as she isolates each picture and creates dialogue according to their body position.  The crazy thing is this video has over six million views!!!

Although my friend introduced me to this video so I could get a good laugh, it also got me thinking a lot about technology and the skills our students are practicing regularly at home that could be utilized at school.  Most students go home and are surrounded by technology whether it be with their cell phones, iPods, computers, etc.  Kids are coming in with different literacies… new literacies… and schools need to work on embracing this new change!

Think about the world our students live in.

What are they doing for fun when they go home?  How many still play with dolls, action figures, or fake kitchens?  More children are using technology, becoming comfortable with technology, growing up understanding and learning with technology… so why when they come to school is this powerful and familiar tool being taken away?

School should be a place where students can blossom using the skills they already have in order to prepare them for the 21st century world, not a place where their full potential is being limited because of deficits in our education system.

Yes, some of the students that enter my classroom are low level readers and writers, but these are the same students that are extremely tech literate!  They can create webpages, navigate through information, and collaborate with their peers about their interests!  These are the new literacies that students need to have!  As educators, it is our job to recognize that these skills as equally as important as other traditional literacies and find ways to effectives incorporate them into our lessons!

Enjoy watching the video below and think about this..

What kind of 21st century skills are our students coming to us with and how can we embrace them in our classrooms?

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Get Students Asking Questions about Info Online!

Coming into teaching, I assumed students were entering my classroom with an understanding of computers, technology, and the internet that I did not need to address.  I was quickly proven wrong.  Yes, our students can use social networks like Facebook, type an essay, and send an e-mail, but when it comes to actually using the technology for learning they were clueless.

Because it was evident they were not getting instruction in media literacy, I decided to start!

My first Media Literacy lesson was on Evaluating Websites.

I began this lesson by showing students the website for Dog Island, which can be found here…

http://www.thedogisland.com/

I told the students I wanted to send my dog there as a Christmas present, and needed their advice!  We searched the website together reading all of the information, looking at the pictures, clicking on all of the different links, and discussed our findings.  I was shocked at how many of my students believed there was a Dog Island!  However, in each class I had my skeptics, at least 2-3 people that knew it was somehow a hoax.

After our discussion, I clicked the Disclaimer at the bottom of the page showing the students the website was indeed a fake!

Following this, I did a quick powerpoint with my students that reviewed how to evaluate websites (which can be found on my class wiki!), and gave them a sheet explaining the 5 things to ask when faced with a new website (also on my class wiki)!

WHO… created the website?

WHAT… is the purpose of this site?

WHEN… was the site created/updated?

WHERE… is the information coming from?

WHY… should I use this information?

Students then were given a list of ten websites to evaluate using the criteria discussed in class.  They posted their responses on our class wiki!

The powerpoint and the websites used can be found here under the Media Literacy page…

http://msspiezio.wikispaces.com

*Note!  All of the websites used were fake!

After this lesson, the students began doing research for historical fiction pieces they were writing.  I am happy to report that my students were finding great information from reliable sources!  They were evaluating the websites carefully, calling me over to help them find information about the author or the date the site was last updated.

My students are now more critical of the information they find online, and have the skills they need to navigate through all the data the Internet has to offer!!

I hope you find this lesson and the resources listed to be helpful!

If anyone has any other suggestions for Media Literacy activities please comment 🙂

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