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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Media Literacy (Alternative vs. Summer School)

So I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a good number of my summer school students are present on the web. Bebo is by far the most popular social networking site. Even if I hadn't given them the survey I would have known that Bebo was the favorite. Today while blogging a few students used anonymous browsers to surf to their Bebo sites. This is lightyears beyond my students at the alternative program.

During the regular school year most of my students can't remember a password for more than 30 min. Here We only go to the computer lab once a week and not only do they remember their logins and passwords for Blogger, but they all remember their network logins as well.

I haven't had a single student ask if they can just do the work on paper. They all seem to enjoy doing the blogs. It seems to come naturally to them.

As for mass media literacy they all seem to be a little behind the curve. By far the most popular television show is The Wayans Bros., which has not had an original episode since 1999. I would venture to say that it did not have an original joke since the pilot. Many of the students would argue and say that the show was still in production. This leads me to believe that they still do not have an understanding of content delivery. Is a knowledge of budgets and production details necessary to be media literate? Does it make you a better reader knowing the process a book goes through in order to reach publication?

Most of them were at least familiar with the summer blockbusters even if they had not seen them. I only had a couple of students that hadn't seen a movie in over a year. Over all I have a better feeling about the state of media literacy and the shrinking of the digital divide. I don't know if "at-risk" status is a symptom of a lack of media exposure or if this illiteracy is just another by product of being at risk. If I had to venture a guess I would say that it is the latter. My students spend so much time dealing with crises in the concrete environment of "the streets" that they can't find the on ramp for the "super-highway."

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