What do you get when you cross Greek mythology with a media literacy class on paid political advertising? Well, if you're media literacy teacher Marianne Malmstrom, you get 30-sec. video ads about kicking various lesser gods off Olympus that end with "I am Zeus, and I approve of this message" (see "The Dog Ate My Homework" project at the Elisabeth Morrow School in Englewood, N.J.). This is media literacy education 2.0. It can take many forms, but this approach teaches critical thinking about media messages by having students create their own messages collaboratively, using social media – in this case, the Second Life virtual world. Malmstrom's students created avatars, wrote scripts, and "filmed" and edited machinima (like video screenshots, or "movies" of what's happening in a virtual world). Check out the first ad on that page (it's only 30-some seconds). Also don't miss this 5:46 video, "No Future Left Behind," created by multiple stars at Suffern Middle in Suffern, N.Y., with the help of tech and media teacher Peggy Sheehy. It's a keynote presentation for the Net Generation Education Project involving 10 schools. The students were asked about how education was preparing them for the future, and their collective answer is an appeal to us adults to allow them to learn in school the way they already are on the Internet, as social media practitioners and producers and as fluent "information hunter-gatherers," as MIT media professor Henry Jenkins put it. "Education really needs an upgrade," the first line of the students' video goes.
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