A major change in the way people get information
has occurred in the last 40 years. Most citizens and
students now get most of their information about their own
country and the wider world from the electronic media.
Wisconsin Social Studies Academic Standards
Planning Curriculum: MEDIA LITERACY SKILLS
Young people today live in a media-rich environment,
experiencing an unprecedented flood of images
from many different sources. On a daily basis, they are
bombarded with information on the conflict in Iraq,
terrorism threats, politics, entertainment, news, music,
sports, fashion and myriad other topics and
issues. Children are growing up in a culture where
most of their information and entertainment comes
through the media, whether from newspapers, radio,
magazines, film, the Internet or television. Consider
- The average teen watches approximately
23 hours of television per week.
- Each year, most children spend about 1,500
hours in front of the television and 900 hours
in the classroom.
- Children see at least an hour of commercials
for every 5 hours of programs they watch on
- Digital media has changed the way Americans,
and indeed the world, communicate with each
- 63% of Americans now go online, and teens
spend an increasing amount of time on the
Internet downloading music, gaming, in chat
rooms, or Instant Messaging their friends.
Source: Pew Research Center, 2003
- Children who watch a large amount of violent
programs tend to favor using aggression to
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics Studies, 1999-2001
With an ever-increasing number of media and
communication options, from satellite television to
cell-phone text messaging, the complexity of choices
provides the need to examine the media to better
understand the basic elements of good communication.
This is the purpose of the educational outreach
effort for My Journey Home. We want to assist
community college and high school educators in engaging
students to better understand the media and how to use
basic messages to communicate information and stories.
By taking the issues and themes of immigration
from the stories in the documentary My Journey Home,
we also want to renew the rich history of storytelling
using the media. To do this, Media Literacy workshops
can assist community colleges and high
schools in helping students to better understand the
media, elements of storytelling, and how to use both.
The outreach project has two components: a
Media Literacy workshop for teachers and students
to be held at your school and a student multimedia
project and competition.
The My Journey Home outreach project provides
high school and community college students with a
hands-on learning experience designed to help them
understand the power and uses of the media and to
become informed and discriminating media consumers.
As you explore the curriculum, keep in mind
that the end product for the My Journey Home outreach
will be for students to develop print, audio and video
essays on what it is like to be an American.