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Posts tagged ‘media’


2012 High School Media Literacy Video

Salisbury High School was awarded a grant through Drug Free Pennsylvania to develop media based on research and development on media literacy and media messages in the adolescent world.  Mr. Kelly Wetherhold and his media students were asked to create a video designed to reach out to the current generation, sharing meaningful messages and ideas.  The students involved in this process developed many critical skills. Problem-solving, creativity and production all became relevant, and the students truly benefited from the experience.  Student views of media and its power also developed and were altered throughout the course of the grant initiative.

The grant opportunity provided Salisbury High School with funding to purchase an iPad and HD video camera, technical assistance and collaboration opportunities for students to implement a student-centered, peer-to-peer media literacy initiative focused on examining and understanding the impact of media messages on drug and alcohol use among teenagers. High schools from across Pennsylvania competed for three slots in the inaugural program. The selection committee chose Salisbury High School for participation this year.

The video below will be featured at a Drug Free Pennsylvania conference in Pittsburgh, PA this coming fall. Congratulations to Mr. Wetherhold and the students who participated: Abigail Eichorn, Jackie Busolits, Joe Skibbens, Abby Stevens, Alan Mendez, Tommy Walters, Bridgett Higgins, Lauren Brown, Kelly Esslinger, Jason Carne, and Alexa Bartel. Please watch the final video product and leave a comment!


Innovative High Schools Across PA Selected to Participate in 2012 Media Literacy Program

Mr. Wetherhold, media teacher at Salisbury High School, and the new media program are recent recipients of a competitive grant from the PA organization, Drug Free Pennsylvania. Salisbury is excited for the opportunity for our students to participate in this media literacy program! Drug Free Pennsylvania recently released the press release below, sharing more about this exciting opportunity. Congratulations to Mr. Wetherhold for a successful grant application and involving Salisbury High School in this important educational opportunity.

Harrisburg, PA (March 5, 2012) – Drug Free Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth’s statewide non-profit organization dedicated to reducing substance abuse in schools, homes and businesses announced today the winners of the the first annual Media Literacy High School grant program.

The Media Literacy High School program provides funding, technical assistance and collaboration opportunities for high schools to implement a student-centered, peer-to-peer media literacy initiative focused on examining and understanding the impact of media messages on drug and alcohol use among teenagers. High schools from across Pennsylvania competed for three slots in the inaugural program. The selection committee chose the following schools for particpiation in the 2012 Media Literacy High School program:

Salisbury High School

Salisbury High School serves approximately 500 students and is part of the Salisbury Township School District located in the Allentown area of the Lehigh Valley. The school offers an intimate setting in which students can often experience small classes and work on unique projects. These include the student media lab and broadcasting center which is used to produce daily and weekly programming and to explore the psychology and social impact of media through programs such as full-year elective courses in media messages, media management and media studies.

Souderton Area High School

Souderton Area High School serves more than 2,000 students in a rural and suburban community north of Philadelphia in Montgomery and Bucks counties. Media development and engagement has been a critical part of the high school program of studies for many years, and video production electives are some of the most popular courses offered at SAHS, culminating in an annual school film festival. The high school also allows students to explore current issues and career interests through an innovative 5th Block that provides dedicated schedule time each week.

Tacony Academy Charter School

Located in the Rhawnhurst neighborhood of northeast Philadelphia, Tacony Academy Charter School was established in 2009 as a city-wide charter school and currently serves 738 students from across the City of Phildelphia. Cornerstones of the school’s educational program include a commitment to STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) college preparatory learning and development of leadership skills. The school teaches a comprehensive elective course for students in media literacy and integrates media issues into academic, intellectual and research-based learning opportunities.

These three schools will implement a student media literacy high school initiative during spring 2012 and participate in online and peer-to-peer education and dialogue, guided by principles and ‘best practices’ established by the work of Renee Hobbs, PhD, founder of the Media Education Lab, and Brian Primack, M.D. of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The Media Literacy High School program continues and expands upon the accomplishments of Drug Free Pennsylvania’s successful “The Media Straight Up!” program for middle schools and the highly recognized Media Literacy PSA Contest program, sponsored annually by Drug Free Pennsylvania in partnership with the Pennsylvania National Guard’s Counterdrug Joint Task Force.

Funding for the Media Literacy High School program was made possible by the suppport of the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

For more information, go to


High School – Communications

Mr. Kelly Wetherhold, Communications teacher at Salisbury High School, provides students with many opportunities to learn about various types of media and the messages they convey. Here are some examples:

Mr. Wetherhold’s students explored how the media creates advertising messages, including target audience. The students created media messages using the theory they learned about advertising and analyzing target audience. The product was then showcased during the Falcon Period on Impact, the high school TV show. To create the product, students used story boarding techniques as well as software such as Keynote, Garageband, iMovie, screen captures and screen recordings.

To explore the idea of the use of communication in today’s society, one student chose to explore how communication is used to tell if someone is telling the truth or lying. The student produced “How to Spot a Liar” to express how humans disclose information. The student used iMovie with an emphasis on beat markers to create the project. This project was also showcased during Falcon Period on Impact.

Students were challenged with the phrase “If ______ was never invented how would the world be different than it is today?” – a counterfactual project. For one project a student chose the printing press. Using iPhoto she produced a story to predict what would happen if the printing press was never invented.


Valuing Both Friendship-driven and Interest-driven Spaces

In 2008, a study was released by the MacArthur Foundation exploring the uses of digital media by youth. The study, published in the book Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out, is important because it is the first to examine in detail the social and recreational uses of technology by youth.

The findings define two domains that account for youths’ participation in media:

  • Friendship-driven – hanging out behavior – participating in MySpace, Facebook, text messaging and IM
  • Interest-driven – messing around and geeking out behavior – creating YouTube videos, remixing video, creating podcasts and writing fan fiction

Additionally, findings indicate the majority of youth are more engaged in friendship-driven than in interest-driven use of media. However, both are sites of learning. Youth learn important social behaviors in the digital world while engaging in friendship-driven activities. Interest-driven activities allow youth to engage in content creation, and the development of specialized interests, technical literacy and media literacy. Both domains emphasize the importance of socialization and content creation, two activities that take on new meaning when digital technology enters the picture.

As educators and parents, our challenge is to provide the greatest opportunities for our children to engage and learn in both domains. We need to engage our children in conversations about privacy and identity in the friendship-driven domain. We also need to engage our children in opportunities to create new content in the geeking out spaces to foster the understanding of content, the value of civic engagement and the importance of following ones passions.  How involved are schools and parents in engaging children in both the friendship-driven and the interest-driven domains?

In the video below, Mimi Ito, the lead researcher in the Hanging Out… study asks two interesting questions:

  • Why do we assume that kids’ socializing and play is not a site of learning?
  • Why do we assume that schools cannot have a spirit of entertainment and play as part of what they’re doing?

Are there connections between the goals of TL2014 and the friendship-driven and interest-driven domains? While we are still in the early stages of the initiative, what can we do better in school to engage students more effectively in the two domains? What can we do better to help parents productively manage after-school time on the laptop computers? Please leave your comments!

The TL2014 initiative accelerates the process of providing our students with the knowledge and skills necessary for post-secondary success – the work force or higher education – in the 21st century. TL2014 has as its stated goals:

  • Increased learning opportunities for the development of critical 21st century skills: critical thinking and problem solving, effective oral and written communication, collaboration, creativity and curiosity, adaptability, organization, initiative and entrepreneurialism.
  • Increased opportunities for student engagement in a dynamic, technology-rich learning environment.
  • Increased opportunities for project-based and challenge-based learning, mirroring real-world work force and higher education environments.
  • Increased opportunities for differentiation and individualized instruction through the use of technology.
  • Increased opportunities for reading and writing in new formats and modes common in the 21st century.

Additional material about the Hanging Out… study is available on the Digital Youth website. The entire book, Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out, is available for free online in PDF format.



Not only is this a terrific video about learning in real life, it’s an excellent example of how we communicate about ideas with media in the 21st century.

LEARN from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.