Media Literacy - Comic Life & Bit Strips

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This weeks reading is an article from the Media Awareness Network entitled "What is Media Literacy." The article defines media literacy as the ability to sift through and analyze the messages that inform, entertain and sell to us every day. Media literacy is the ability to look beyond the medium and examine the motives, the money, the values and the ownership and to be aware of how these factors influence content. It is important for teachers to educate students in media studies in order to promote media literacy, this is called media education.
There are three stages of media literacy that are important to maintaining media empowerment;
1. Managing one's media diet
2. Learning specific skills of critical viewing
3. Explore deeper issues
Media literacy seeks to empower citizens and to transform their passive relationship to media into an active, critical engagement— capable of challenging the traditions and structures of a privatized, commercial media culture, and finding new avenues of citizen speech and discourse.

New Software and How To Use It

comiclife1.jpg Comic Life

Comic Life is a cross-platform software that has become an instant hit in many schools and at all levels. It is so easy to use and has so many uses, that it is easy to incorporate in many areas of the curriculum. Comic Life allows users to create a comic using their own images and text. It can be used for stories, timelines, biographies, autobiographies, instructions, and newspaper type articles. When using this in the classroom it is important to have students create a storyboard or rough copy before hand. Comic Life is an excellent resource that can be used in all classrooms. Below is an example of my work using Comic Life.
My Olympic Comic using Comic Life

My Avatar (made using Bitstrips

bitstrips_logo.png Bitstrips

Bitstrips is a new resource that allows students to create cartoons or comics. Bitstrips is not software but an internet resource that is available for anyone to use. Bitstrips can be used for the same sort of assignments as Comic Life but calls upon different skills. Bitstrips is different then Comic Life because students create avatars and then make comic strips using these characters. Bitstrips has also already created backgrounds and props for creators to use. To the right is my avatar that I created using Bitstrips.

Assistive Technology 93550162.jpg

In an education system with growing diversity in the classroom assistive technology is an important resource. For students with special needs, assistive technology provides some of the support they need to be successful. This week we looked a two programs that are considered assistive technology. Write Outloud and Co-Writer are two excellent resources for exceptional students. The programs are pretty easy to use and most students would be able to figure out how to use them with little or no guidance. They would be an excellent resource for any classroom.

What I learned this week... 87388126.jpg

1. It is important to educate students about the impact of media and media literacy.
2. Comic Life and Bitstrips are excellent resources that can be used in all classrooms.
3. There are a lot of excellent assistive technology resources that can be helpful for students with special needs.