Remixing Media in the Classroom

This week’s readings focused on the many uses of remixing video in the classroom. I appreciated that this tool was created with the mindset of allowing students to think critically about propaganda while also keeping them engaged. Yes, we could have students look at advertisements and write about the messages within the ads. However, showing students digital media and allowing them to work with digital tools enhances their engagement. It’s one way to bring their everyday lives into the classroom and to make learning authentic and meaningful.

The MediaBreaker tool was created with political ads in mind, however I don’t know how much I want to bring political ads into my classroom at this moment. Right now, I’m having my students analyze images for details and evidence with a focus on the purpose of the image. This is where I’ve been bringing in pieces from the current election, with a focus on trying to represent both sides of each campaign. With fifth graders, I worry that this is already a little too much exposure to the election in the classroom with the voting window so close. This is a heated political atmosphere and I feel that I’m always stepping near landmines when my students participate in these conversations.

Considering I’m already incorporating political ads into other areas, I wanted to focus more on something my students see in their everyday lives and are more directly affected by. I wanted them to use these MediaBreaker tools while looking at ads for food or toys that the students see on television every day. The “Break the Election” post by Henry Jenkins mentioned the usefulness of commercials for this type of work with students. They’re so short and packed full of emotional connections and persuasion that they’re easy to pick apart in a short amount of time. I was excited to show ads to my students and have them begin to think critically about them.

In order to move away from politics, I utilized this Gender Remixing tool that allows students to take two gender-targeted advertisements and swap the visual and audio. This makes the gender messages very obvious and comical for students. This ended up being the perfect tool to integrate with breaking media. After reading the many fair use guidelines and utilizing the fair use checklist, I was able to lay the foundation for breaking media in the classroom with fifth grade students.


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