In the spring of 2010, Gus and co-worker Skye MacLeod from the Gottesman Video Collective set out to a high school in Brooklyn to test out using the Yell and Sell episode as a tool for teaching media literacy and media production. Over the course of five weeks, meeting with the class one day a week, we met with a class of about fifteen high school seniors, all of whom were relatively recent immigrants to the United States, and were from places as diverse as Tibet, Ghana, and the Dominican Republic. The goal was to have them produce “mashups” of commercials in response to Erna and Weena’s prompt at the end of the episode.
In the “Teaching Media Literacy” track of this case study, we present the results of that experiment in video form. We also provide additional lesson resources to support units on each episode of The Media Show. Further description of the high school class follows.
(One quick note: You may find that there is a great deal of overlap between this track and the Teaching Video Production track of this case study. Media literacy educators have long discussed whether an understanding of video production should be a part of media literacy education. We believe it should! Understanding how media get made supports an ability to deconstruct the messages they deliver. We recommend browsing through the Teaching Video Production articles, and seeing whether you can incorporate them into your media literacy teaching as well.)
What is “viral video”? It’s a term people use a lot these days — especially when they’re waving their hands and trying to impress you into giving them your money. When The Media Show started out at AfterEd TV, the channel was calling itself a platform for “viral video.” But our most-viewed videos only got a few thousand hits, not millions like, say, Sneezing Baby Panda, or Hamster On A Piano.
We came to the conclusion that “viral” isn’t something you can declare in advance; it’s only something you can see after it happens. But even in hindsight, when can you call a video “viral”? Does it mean it has been viewed a lot? Over how long a period of time? Does it mean the video has been linked to by a number of sites, or just one powerful site which gives it a lot of views? Do people have to forward it to their friends for it to be viral? Does it have to involve “Web 2.0″ technologies like blogs and Twitter, or can it just be sent over email? And the million-dollar question: can you make a video go viral, or does it just happen?
Blaine Cook continues to think hard about future directions for social media. You can follow his thoughts at his blog or Twitter stream . We particularly liked his post Facebook Is My New Boatcar, a discussion of Facebook’s privacy, interface, and applications which generated a lot of commentary in the community.