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April 09, 2009

Teaching Visual Literacy: Media Studies Before the Internet

I thought I'd share this recently rediscovered relic from my early days as a teacher. Keep in mind that when I began teaching, educational technology featured:
  • Mimeo ~ remember the smell?
  • Filmstrip ~ who wants to advance the slides?
  • 16 mm film ~ you kids be quiet while I splice the film! 
When the Betamax arrived to my classroom I was in heaven! Back in the late 1970's I started teaching a high school "Media Studies" class. (Pittsford-Sutherland HS, Rochester NY). It was one semester, social studies elective that examined the impact of media on society (mainly TV - and all very McLuhan). 

Duane Sherwood and I were inspired by early TV pioneer, Ernie Kovacs to shoot this 1 minute video. I used it after my first few introductory lessons. That day, instead of their teacher, my students found a TV / recorder in front of the class. The sign instructed them to "watch this video." 

The shot took hours to set up. I attribute my bad acting / missed lines to sitting sideways and trying to keep a straight face. It's just too bad I wore red flannel and khakis that day....

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Thanks for sharing, Peter! This charming video reminds us that one of the many benefits of media literacy education is the pleasure students experience as they collaborate and create imaginative ways to represent their new knowledge and critical thinking skills

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