Lesson One- Introduction: What is Media and Media Literacy

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Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this lesson, participants of this course will be able to define media and media literacy. Participants will then self- reflect on their own use of media.

Brainstorming Activity

For this activity, take a pen and pencil and jot down your answers. You will circle back to these later on in the lesson. Or you could type down your answers in this work space: Media Discussion

What comes to mind when you think of media?

What comes to mind when you think of media literacy?

Media Literacy Crash Course

Please click on the following video to get a, "Crash Course" in media and media literacy. This video is about 11 minutes long.

What Do We Know Now?

What is media?

Media was defined as the plural of medium or multiple mediums. A substance or a method in which something is communicated; its the vehicle for a message. Many times it is mass produced.

Mass media can be characterized as:

  • Media convey messages through visuals, language, and/or sound.
  • Media messages are mass-produced for a mass audience and are mediated by some form of technology.
  • Producers of media messages are not in the same physical space as the receiver(s) of those messages.

Compare and Contrast: Take a look at your list of what you came up with and review other types of media that you may not have though of here list.

What is media literacy?

"Over several decades, continents, and academic disciplines, a definition has emerged that characterizes media literacy as a set of capabilities applied to media messages and experiences.1 A frequently cited version in the United States is “the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and produce communication in a variety of forms.”2 That definition has not always provided clear direction for teachers, however, and it leaves out capabilities that are crucial for successful navigation and communication in today’s complicated media world. A more current definition, articulated by media literacy expert Renee Hobbs (2010b), includes capabilities such as comprehension, collaboration, reflection, and social action. In general, people who exhibit skills and knowledge in the following areas have what we would call media literacy:

• Access—Having physical access to up-to-date media technologies and high-quality content and knowing how to use the technologies effectively

• Understanding—Comprehending basic, explicit messages from media sources as a precursor to being able to ask analytical questions about those messages

• Awareness—Paying attention enough to notice the presence of media messages and their role in one’s life

• Analysis—Decoding media messages in order to think critically and independently about them

• Evaluation—Making informed, reasoned judgments about the value or utility of media messages for specific purposes

• Creation—Making media messages for particular purposes and using multiple media formats

• Reflection—Contemplating how personal experiences and values influence reactions to and production of media messages and assessing the full range of potential effects of one’s production choices on oneself and others

• Participation—Initiating or joining in collaborative activities that are enabled by interactive media technologies, such as wikis, social networks, and virtual worlds"

Lesson Wrap-up- Self Reflection

Now that you know the definition of media, you can identify various forms of media, and have an understanding of what media literacy is, I want you to answer the following self reflection questions:

1. What forms of media do you use in your daily life?

2. What forms of media listed in the video surprised you or never came to mind as being considered, media?

Media Consumption Activity

One way to become more familiar with media is to track how often you use media each day. So, for the next 5 days record your media consumption here Media Consumption Recorder Sheet . Keep a tally (rounded up to 15 minute intervals) for the amount of time you use each kind of media. The worksheet has been broken down into categories with examples in each category to help you differentiate them. After 5 days of recording, average out how much media you consume per day. After 5 days please check in to Lesson Five- Self Reflection.

Proceed to Lesson 2- Key Questions For Media Literacy Decoding



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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