Participating in The LAMP’s workshop for the 5th graders at PS 145 has been a great experience, and a unique opportunity to apply my studies on media literacy and see how media literacy is being integrated into school programs. This specific group of 5th graders has been participating in our workshop for a few years now, so they are well-adjusted to the facilitator, Sinéad, and to the content and layout of the classes.
The workshop encourages creativity while incorporating test prep skills and the core curriculum. I initially was worried about the concentration and creativity levels of the students after a full day of classes and test prep courses, but I was quickly mistaken. I found early on in my observations that this workshop is one of the only opportunities these kids are given to express their creativity, as a huge chunk of their school curriculum is adapted to “the test.”
The workshop uses new digital tools to teach students about the role media play in their lives. There are many differing definitions of media literacy, but all include three different factors: the ability to use and access media, analyze media, and create media. This LAMP workshop prepares these young students to understand and think critically about the various media formats, and meets twice a week. The first day of the workshop is spent educating the students on the topic of that cycle, and the next session is spent using digital media to create projects. For example, this week’s cycle topic is podcasts, so the first day, we reviewed how news stories are presented on different media (Internet, TV, radio, print), and the students use their knowledge on the topic and their creativity to create their own news stories using podcasts.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the impressive extent of the creative minds of these students. In general, the younger generation has much more experience in using new media, and that is definitely shown in the workshops. Although they are only 11 years old, they have such great potential to create media that will change the world. The workshops provided by The LAMP have given these students the opportunity, experience, motivation and support to create their own media texts.
Becca is working towards her Masters in Media Studies in the Department of TV and Radio at CUNY Brooklyn College (anticipated Graduation Date: May 2015). After working with youth for many years at a summer camp, she first-hand experienced the heavy pressure that media powers places on our youth population in this mediated society. Using her experiences and her extensive studies, she hopes to empower youth to embrace their individuality and break out of the society’s norm.
Follow her on Twitter @becca_schneider, where tweets authentic tips of navigating NYC from a native New Yorker.