In Year 7, my students undertake a short unit of work called Epic Wallpaper, in which they attempt to make a glossy wallpaper using Acorn and some graphic design techniques. This is the first year I have run this unit, and it went very well, with the students really enjoying the creativity of image editing. The 9 best designs are shown below. All are under Creative Commons licenses, so feel to download and use them as your wallpaper.
This lesson used to be part of a unit which was dropped from the Year 7-9 ICT Course due to time constraints. However, the content is so powerful that I decided to include it, not as a unit, but as a single lesson. The aim is to get students to think more about how the media works, and how much of what the media portrays can and should be trusted. The content of this lesson could quite easily apply to any number of subjects including ICT, Media,PSHE/Pasotral, History and Theary of Knowledge.
I believe it the video included in this lesson is extremely valuable, not only for girls, but also for boys, as we seek to shape their values and open their minds to the world around them.
Let’s start this lesson by seeing if any students understand the meaning of the word representation in media.
One way to think of representation is ” the way that reality is portrayed or shown in magazines, TV, books, film and music”.
Do you think we can we trust the way that others represent reality? Should we?
Representation of Gender
Let’s take a look at this video, and discuss any ideas which is throws up.
What does the above video tell us about the representation of women in the media?
Can you think of positive and negative gender representation of women?
Now I would like you to work in pairs to find examples of representation on the web.
Links to items are to be placed into a shared Google Doc.
After 15 minutes I will get you back together to view and discuss the various materials found.
This lesson aims to introduce students to the concept of misleading images, and to try and engender in students a certain skepticism when interacting with media. This lesson could potentially be used in a range of subjects including ICT, Media, History, Theory of Knowledge, PSHE/Pastoral etc.
In the past this has proven to be one of those lessons that really gets students sitting up, listening and discussing, as most of them have no idea they are being constantly manipulated by the mass media.
In general we trust photos in a way that we would never trust words: we know that photos can be faked, but we don’t usually question what we see in the media and on the Internet. Let’s use some fun examples to see what we can and cannot trust:
The resources below look at how photos can be misleading, either through accident, doctoring, creative photography or omission. Digital photography and computer technology make this process much easier and more powerful, but it is important to keep in mind that these exact issues have been relevant since the dawn of the photographic era.
Of particular interest is the process by which images are “photoshopped” (i.e. digitally manipulated), and just how much transformation is possible. The videos below give an insight into this process (they are accelerated, it really takes much longer to do this, and lots of skill too).
We can look at the impact of misleading photos from different perspectives, including:
Political – what might a country gain by manipulating photos of its enemy at war?
Individual – how does unrealistically attractive portraits in magazines make me feel?
Society – how have misleading photos changed our expectations and measures of beauty?
In the end, how do we know what to trust if we cannot trust what we see?