DURATION: 2 hours
Basic understanding of MIL and the teaching and learning process
- Pedagogical approaches for MIL
- Teaching about and through MIL
After completing this unit, teachers will be able to:
- Identify the ways in which MIL can enhance the teaching and learning process
- Explore pedagogical approaches associated with MIL
- Develop particular activities that utilize these pedagogical approaches
PEDAGOGICAL APPROACHES and ACTIVITIES
Pedagogical approaches to teaching MIL:
Issue-enquiry learning is a student-centred learning approach where the enquiry focus is on the issues related to media and information literacy in contemporary society. It incorporates many of the features associated with enquiry learning, problem solving and decision making, where learners acquire new knowledge and skills through the following enquiry stages: identification of the issue; recognition of underlying attitudes and beliefs; clarification of the facts and principles behind the issue; locating, organizing and analyzing evidence; interpretation and resolution of the issue; taking action and reconsidering the consequences and outcomes from each phase. It is an appropriate method to teach MIL as students can be given opportunities to explore issues in depth. Examples of the issue enquiry approach in MIL include: exploring gender and race portrayals through media analysis; exploring privacy and the media through primary and secondary document
analysis; and exploring cyber-bullying through ethnographic research.
PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING (PBL)
Problem-based learning is a curriculum development and instructional system that simultaneously develops students’ interdisciplinary knowledge bases and skills, as well as critical thinking and problem solving strategies. It originated in the Faculty of Medicine of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. It is a highly structured, cooperative learning mode to enhance both individual and collective knowledge by engaging students in critical and deep enquiry of real-life problems. The learning objectives, enquiry questions and methods, and the outcomes are all managed by students. An example of problem-based learning in MIL would be designing an effective social marketing campaign for a particular audience.
Scientific enquiry refers to a variety of techniques that scientists use to explore the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence they find. The enquiry process is often expressed as a simplified set of steps called the enquiry cycle, which involves activities such as: making observations; posing questions; finding out what is already known; planning investigations; reviewing past knowledge in the light of experimental evidence; using tools to gather, analyze, and interpret data; proposing explanations; and communicating the results. This method could also be incorporated into the teaching of MIL. Examples of scientific enquiry in MIL could include investigating the impact of media violence, or investigating the roles of online communities.
The case study method involves an in-depth examination of a single instance or event. It originated in the Harvard Business School, where students make use of real life events to see how theoretical knowledge can be applied to real cases. This is suitable in the teaching of MIL as students are exposed to various forms of media messages daily. This requires a systematic way of looking at the events, collecting data, analyzing information, and reporting the results, which in turn supports enquiry learning among students. Students are able to gain a deeper and more thorough understanding of why the events or instances happened as they did. Case study also lends itself to the generation and testing of hypotheses. For example, students could undertake a case study of the marketing and release of a blockbuster film or other high profile media product.
Cooperative learning refers to the instructional approach that puts students together to work towards accomplishing shared goals. Cooperative learning can range from simple paired work to more complex modes such as project learning, jigsaw learning, guided peer questioning and reciprocal teaching, all of which aim to produce learning gains such as the development of conceptual understanding and higher-order thinking, better interpersonal skills, more positive attitudes toward school and the self, and the exploration of how to manage academic heterogeneity in classrooms with a wide range of achievement in basic skills. This is an appropriate method for MIL learning and teaching, as it requires the sharing of ideas and learning from one another. An example of this approach in MIL would be working collaboratively in a wiki space.
Students learn to undertake textual analysis through identifying the codes and conventions of various media genres. With this type of semiotic analysis, understanding of key concepts can be increased. For instance, students learn how language codes and conventions are used to create particular types of representations that will appeal to certain audiences. Students are taught to identify the ‘technical’, ‘symbolic’ and ‘narrative’ codes of any media text. Where possible, this type of textual analysis should be done in a meaningful context, and not just conducted as an academic exercise for its own ends.
Example: Ask students to select a piece of media text that is of interest to them. This could be a news article, a video from YouTube, or a video clip from an online news source. Put students in groups and guide them in analysing the audience, purpose, author, technique/textual features, and context.
Students are shown how to undertake basic contextual analysis, particularly in relation to key concepts concerning media and other information providers, but also in relation to a range of theoretical approaches for MIL. Examples of contextual analysis and pedagogy in this area include helping students to learn the classification systems for film, television and video games that operate in their country, or how media ownership and concentration relates to questions of democracy and free speech.
With this approach, students take information presented in one medium, and convert or ‘translate’ it into another medium. For example:
- taking a newspaper article that they have written about an incident at the university and converting it into a podcast radio news story
- viewing a brief section of a children’s film and then working in small groups to draw a storyboard that corresponds to the scene, identifying the shots, angles and transitions that have been used
- taking a fairytale and converting it into a storyboard to be filmed
- collecting a range of existing visual material related to a person’s life and using this as the starting point for planning and making a short documentary film about them
Simulation is frequently used as a strategy in the film and media curriculum units. As already mentioned, the tutors use simulation to demonstrate to the students what media learning ‘looks like’. That is, the tutor takes on the role of classroom teacher, and the teachers act as school-aged students, at least when doing the activities. This strategy is then discussed with the students as a pedagogic process.
Simulation could be used in the following ways:
- Students take on the role of a documentary production team making a documentary for a youth-oriented television programme
- Students take on the role of radio- or Internet-based journalists who are investigating media teaching and are required to interview a practicing media teacher and edit a podcast from the interview
- Students assume the role of a marketing team from the university making a brief video introducing prospective students to life at the university
This approach entails learning by doing which is an important aspect of knowledge aquisition in the twenty first century. Students should be encouraged to explore learning at a deeper and more meaningfull level. The production of media and information content offers the opportunity for students to immerse themselves in learning through exploring and doing. Through the production of media texts (for example audio, video and print), students are able to explore the creativity and to express themselves through their own voices, ideas and perspectives.
Examples include: students use software such as iMovie or Moviemaker (or any other similar free and open source software) to make a one minute digital story about an environmental issue or any other subject of interest.
- Ask teachers to identify and describe examples of any of the 10 pedagogical approaches to teaching MIL listed above that they are familiar with, and have teachers identify the key components that make them effective in teaching and learning MIL
- Through group work, guide teachers in developing activities that would illustrate these strategies in their own work