I created these five tips for good news media literacy this week for the upper school students at my school but wanted to share them here as well. Please feel free to share with your own students if you think they would be useful.
Here are five tips to ensure you are getting (and sharing) good information:
A version of this review originally published on JEA's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion blog.
One of the key points in Zaretta Hammond's book Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain is that becoming a culturally responsive teacher means educating ourselves — immersing ourselves in diverse perspectives. One of my favorite ways to do this is to listen to podcasts hosted and produced by people too often marginalized in mainstream media.
NPR’s Code Switch started as a blog, which I read regularly, so I was absolutely thrilled when it morphed into a podcast four years ago. The very first episode, “Can we talk about Whiteness?” debuted May 31, 2016, and I’ve been a devoted listener ever since. I was thrilled when they rebranded this year: their new tagline (“Race. In Your Face”) reflects an unflinching willingness to ask those hard questions and talk about them openly. Co-hosts Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji blend stellar reporting with personal anecdotes; they have an easy camaraderie that gives the podcast warmth and humor, even when they are exploring some of the darkest and most troubling topics. They are experts, yet they freely admit questions about race and identity aren’t easily answered — one of the most common refrains on the show is “It’s complicated.”
After I finished my journalism Master's degree in 2018, I took a break from this blog. There's plenty of teaching blogs out there, I thought — what might mine add? I don't know if I have an answer to that question, but more than a month into COVID-19 and safer-at-home orders, I think it's important we take time to make a record of what this time has been like in education. I would never dream of speaking for "all teachers" since our experiences are so profoundly different depending on where we live, what resources our schools and students have and what our personal situations are, but I can speak to my own life as a teacher and how teaching has changed for me. Since I'm finishing my 23rd year in education, I've been around the block a couple of times, but nothing (not even 9/11) compares to this.
Keywords: Camtasia, tutorials, multimedia, photo-editing
After four years slowly working towards my Masters in Journalism while also teaching full time, this blog marks a milestone: my last assignment for my last grad class. (Well, except for the big research paper and professional project I'm finishing this summer, but that's Future!Kristin's problem.)
For this final project, I developed a tutorial using Camtasia, a screen-capturing video program on steroids. I'd often wondered how people made dynamic tutorials with fun animations — arrows pointing at content, speech bubbles clarifying context, screens zooming in to help the viewer focus — but I figured whatever program they were using was too complex for a full-time teacher to tackle.
Camtasia may be a bit pricey for a longterm solution, but I was really impressed with how quickly I was able to pick it up during the free trial. You can see my first attempt at an animated tutorial later in this post. I see enormous potential for this as a teaching tool.
These past two weeks have been busy ones. I spent April 12-14 at the National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco, which was as hectic, invigorating and inspirational as always. A quick trip home and a few days of teaching later, and I was back to the city again, this time for a two-day qualitative study of Tracy Sena's wonderful journalism program at Convent of the Sacred Heart. In the middle of that, my yearbook students finalized and submitted their book, my Oracle students covered another school walkout, I started giving feedback on a pile of essays, my junior English students began The Great Gatsby and an out-of-town guest arrived to stay a few days.
Given my preoccupation, I was not putting my full effort into my Teaching Multimedia class. We'd spent two weeks researching good video techniques and storytelling, and — in theory — I made a careful plan about what video I wanted to shoot and gone out and got that footage. In reality, I was scrambling yesterday to find a story in my community that I could shoot and edit in one day.
That story idea came in the form of the California Poppy Festival, which happens yearly in Lancaster about an hour north of my home in Los Angeles.
"Perfect!" I thought. "I'll bring my out-of-town friend with me to see those beautiful poppies, and she can keep me company as I do this video assignment."
Reader, that is not how it went down.
“And though she be but little, she is fierce!” -A Midsummer Night’s Dream