Lesson 2- Key Questions For Media Literacy Decoding

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Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this lesson, participants be able to identify the importance of media literacy in education. Participants will learn about the National Association of Media Literacy Education key questions to become media literate and will be able to connect their newly acquired knowledge to their curriculum.

Brainstorming Activity

In the last lesson we defined media and media literacy. In this lesson, we will learn how to be become media literate. Since you know what media is, think of examples of how you use media in your classroom. Think of documents you use, videos that you show, pictures, news articles, textbooks, etc. Feel free to jot them down on a piece of paper or add it to thee discussion board: Media in Your Classroom Discussion

Now that you thought of what media you use in your classroom, answer this: How much do you actually know about each piece of media that you use. Pick one of the examples that you wrote down, that you think you know the most about and without looking it up, answer the following questions:

Who created this message and what is the purpose?

What techniques does it use to attract and hold attention?

What lifestyles, values, and points of view does it depict?

How might different people or cultures interpret this message?

What is omitted or left out?

Media Literacy Crash Course

Please click on the following video to continue our, "Crash Course" in media and media literacy education. This video is about 11 minutes long. While watching this video, think about the common phrase used on Social Studies classrooms, "History textbooks are always written by the winners"

How Do We Get to Know?

"As with all good curriculum design, we start media literacy education with specific outcomes in mind and then craft strategies that help students reach those goals. Our starting point has been summarized by the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE): “The purpose of media literacy education is to help individuals of all ages to develop the habits of inquiry and skills of expression that they need to be critical thinkers, effective communicators, and active citizens in today’s world”. In this statement, the goals are to create “critical thinkers,” “effective communicators,” and “active citizens,”2 and the strategies to get there will fall into two categories: “habits of inquiry” and “skills of expression.” source: Scheibe & Rogow

The design of media literacy education is analyzing and evaluating the messages of different types of media. To do so, it is suggested by the NAMLE to use their key questions in order to, Decode Messages, or to find out their true meaning and fully understand what this piece of media's purpose is. These questions will build "habits of inquiry" and "skills of expression" to assist in the decoding process.

As the video said, it would be impossible to ask all of these questions about every piece of media that you come in contact with. Just as it would be to ask your students to ask each question about every piece of media that you introduce them to in your class. But using these key questions are essential in decoding the true message behind the media.

Below is the list of Key Questions that come directly from the NAMLE website. As said above, these questions are essential in decoding the message behind the media. Please take some time to look over each area. Remember, it is impossible to ask every one of these questions but knowing and understanding each one is very helpful when trying to teach how to decode media messages to your students.

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Source: https://namle.net/publications/core-principles/ (now moved to https://studyclerk.com/blog/media-literacy)

Decoding Activity

Now that you have been given the tools to decode a media message, think back to earlier in the lesson when you picked a piece of media from your classroom. Take some time and try to decode that piece of media using the NAMLE Key Questions that you just learned. Feel free to do this on a piece of paper or use this online space Decoding Process Try Out to type out your response. Remember, you do not need to answer every question but make sure you are answering enough of them to gain an understanding of the decoding process.

Lets Try Again

Now that you have some experience using the NAMLE Key Questions, take some time to look at this political cartoon from World War II. Using the NAMLE Key Questions, go ahead and decode this piece of media. Free free to use this work space Political Cartoon Decoding or do so with a pen or pencil.

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Lesson Wrap-up- Self Reflection

Now that you have learned how to decode pieces of media, I want you to answer the following self reflection questions:

1. What did you find worked well for you in the decoding process?

2. What do you think was most challenging?

3. How do you think media literacy education can impact your social studies classroom?

Proceed to Lesson Three- How to Connect This With Your Social Studies World War II Unit




Rogow, Faith & Scheibe, Cyndy (2012). "A Teacher's Guide to Media Literacy: Critical Thinking in a Multimedia World." Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin, a Sage Company


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