More than ever before, media production and consumption shapes our world and personal lives. The ability to critically analyze media matters not just to the individual consumer but to the society in which they live. Fake news, skewed reporting, bias, and bubbles of information are potentially dangerous influences to our students and will have an affect on their future. In addition to helping students develop media literacy so that they can be informed and aware consumers, educators have a responsibility to help students become savvy producers of their own content. Whether in the professional roles that we hope to prepare them for or in their own personal lives on social media, students need an understanding of how information is gathered, produced, and shared responsibly.
This lesson unit braids three strands of learning throughout: the technical aspects of production, the critical aspects of media literacy, and the professional aspects of careers in the field. With each lesson, student teams will build towards a news production of their own, while learning about the ways in which media can be manipulated and working towards a responsible and engaging product. The series includes multimedia resources from TV One, such as video clips from NewsOne Now and specially created career videos from the staff who work on the show.
It is important to note that these lessons were designed to work in any environment, regardless of the technology available. Some educators may have access to a full TV production studio, in which case the lessons should include technical training on equipment; other educators may not have access to any TV production equipment or studio space, in which case the lessons should include discussion of the potential to produce media with mobile phones and an internet connection. Educators that wish to teach these lessons without formal equipment or training may find freely available hardware and software tutorials helpful.
Finally, these lessons provide many opportunities for differentiation. The nature of TV production lends itself to a variety of types of work and work products. As you plan and deliver instruction and facilitate and assess learning, consider modifying the materials and assignments. Much of the content is related to the video clips from NewsOne Now: students might be asked to focus on only one part of the video, such as the intro, or to keep track of only one element, such as onscreen graphics. Also, you can be deliberate in assigning specific roles, or have some students share roles, in order to offer more support or more complexity to certain students. For example, a student who needs time accommodations may do better as an editor than as a director (though not always!) and a student who looks to make connections may find the role of producer most challenging. Overall, the complexities of both the role and the project should inform your differentiation.