Students are all over online media. YouTube, streaming audio, memes, live streaming, etc… Kelly Mendoza, Director of Professional Development at Common Sense Media has put together an awesome resource for students to use when working with media. Over at CommonSense.org a lot of great resources are posted every day. We want to try to highlight some of those resources such as this great checklist students can be using to analyze the media they are using. The idea behind this checklist is that students are already learning print literacy, but they should also learn about multimedia literacy. How they can read and write those same print messages but in different forms of media such as images, video, audio, etc. Through analyzing media students will gain a better understanding of how multimedia literacy.
Students can use these five key questions that many leaders in the digital and media literacy community already implement.
1. Who created this message?
This helps students “pull back the curtain” and recognize that all media is constructed by an author with a particular vision, background, and agenda. Yes, this includes questioning the textbooks, apps, and platforms they use.
2. Which techniques are used to attract my attention?
Whether it’s a video, commercial, or app, different forms of digital media use unique conventions to keep us engaged.
3. How might different people interpret this message?
This question helps students consider that people bring their backgrounds, values, and beliefs to the table in interpreting messages. There is no one “right” interpretation.
4. Which lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented — or missing?
All messages have embedded values and points of view. And oftentimes certain perspectives and voices are missing — a gap that’s important to consider.
5. Why is this message being sent?
In this question, students explore the purpose of the message. Is it to inform, entertain, or persuade, or is it some combination of these? They also explore motives behind sending a message, whether to gain power, profit, or influence. For secondary students, examining the economic structures of the media industry will come into play.