Joe Bradley Mini-Course
“A definition has emerged that characterizes media literacy as a set of capabilities applied to media messages and experiences… the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and produce communication in a variety of forms” (Scheibe & Rogow, 2012). The purpose of this course is to assist Social Studies teachers the ability to implement media literacy techniques in their classroom to help their students become skillful in analyzing, evaluating, and producing a deeper understanding of historical artifacts and propaganda that was prevalent in the United States (US) during World War II (WWII). Participants will then be able to use the skills obtained from this course to be able to “decode” media messages in their future academic studies.
1. Instructional Problem When thinking about the term media, what comes to mind? Do you think mostly TV ads, magazines, news broadcasts, or social media platforms? What about things like pre-recorded phone messages, books, government ads and historical documents? Media can be characterized as the conveying of messages through visuals, language, or sound. The messages are mass produced for a mass audience and are meditated by some form of technology. Producers of media messages are not in the same physical space as those who receive those messages. The problem that this course has the intention of addressing is the lack of skills students have in being able to navigate through different types of media. In this day in age, media is everywhere, and it has never been more readily accessible than it is today. When someone has the skills to be able to decode media messages and can gain a deeper understanding of the message, they then have acquired media literacy skills. This course will be helpful in teaching media literacy education to its participants, specifically in a Social Studies context, to be able to decode WWII media propaganda so they can gain a deeper understanding of the true message and meaning behind the artifacts.
2. What is to be Learned Participants will learn how to define media and media literacy and its impacts on their daily life as well as its impact on WWII propaganda. Participants will do so by completing multiple activities that include a deeper look into their own media usage, the usage of media in the US during WWII, techniques and key questions to ask when trying to decode media platforms, and will have the ability to create their own media decoding lesson plan for a topic of their choosing.
3. The Participants This mini course is designed for middle and high school (7-12) Social Studies teachers who specifically have a focus on WWII and life on the US home front. The participants should have a good understanding of WWII and also be familiar with the propaganda of that time period.
4. Instructional Context This course can be utilized through an online format or in a classroom setting. Though some of the activities can be completed in an individual setting, it would be highly suggested to complete this mini course as a group in a in class setting to be able to facilitate group discussion and provide in depth answers to critical questions. Participants will need access to writing utensils, course worksheets, course documents, and the use of the internet. A printer could be an optional depending on participant preference. Participants will be assessed through a series of worksheets and their final project, their own media literacy decoding lesson plan.
5. Exploring the Problem and Solution Participants will explore the ways media literacy plays a role in their own lives and its impact in historical artifacts/ documents. They will use their new skills of media decoding to be able to effectively analyze and create their own understanding of media propaganda during WWII. Using key questions from NAMLE, participants will be able to then create their own media literacy decoding lesson plan to be used in their own classroom. Through activities and informational content, these newly acquired skills will be transferable to other Social Studies related topics and can used in multiple content areas.
6. Goals The main goal of this mini course is for participants to gain a better understanding of the use of media in historical documents, specifically during WWII. The course will teach participants to be media literate, which in turn will give them skills to analyze, critically think, and execute a better understanding of the documents true purpose. By the end of this course, participants should feel confident in being able to decode historical media propaganda and be able to use this information in decoding other past and current media platforms.
Analysis of the Learner and Context
Define course-level objectives
At the completion of this course, participants will be able to:
- Recall their own uses of media in a specific time frame to interpret how the use of media influences their daily lives;
- Define an understanding of the definitions of media and media literacy;
- Evaluate the uses of the NAMLE key questions to promote critical thinking skills;
- Apply their new knowledge of media literacy to identify ways to connect media literary to WWII propaganda;
- Analyze historical documents in order to decode their true message;
- Create their own media literacy lesson plan to be used in their own classroom for their designed topic.
Elaborate and analyze the objectives to identify more specific enabling and supporting objectives.
Map out the sequence of learning units and activities to achieve the defined objectives.
References and Resources
Scheibe, C., & Rogow, F. (2012). The teachers guide to media literacy: critical thinking in a multimedia world. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.