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Dozens of American publications reported these findings with staggering headlines, but it was hard to find the evidence. The articles reported the findings and the conclusions. They mentioned projections. They did not provide links to the report. They did not share the methodology. It is not possible to apply the critical analysis required by the Core Standards. And this is sadly true of many articles that win widespread reading these days. They are often long on shock value and brief on logic and evidence.
Throughout the Common Standards we are told to use technology and go digital when that decision enhances learning. Both YouTube and the popular online press provide great practice of the deconstrucion expected by the Core Standards.
Manipulation and distortion are present in many of the videos put forward by organizations these days. Greenpeace offers the parody of a Dove commercial (Dove Onslaught) below to heighten public awareness of ecological damage around the globe prompted by corporate needs, but it takes little time to see that Greenpeace is distorting the truth. The same deconstruction strategies employed with the Chevron video apply in this situation.
1. What are the main ideas Greenpeace is promoting in the video above?
2. Which of these ideas are explicit (directly stated) and which are implicit (suggested by images and music).
3. What strategies does Greenpeace use to persuade the viewer of these ideas?
4. To what extent does Greenpeace provide evidence to support the claims made?
5. When does a video cross the line from marketing to propaganda?
Both videos and the cat story advance a number of ideas or an argument, if you will, and students must learn to identify the argument and determine the validity of the evidence being provided to support the argument. Since video ads dominate the Information Landscape for most citizens, teachers of language arts, science and social studies are expected to challenge students to wrestle with such media across the disciplines.
Ironically, many schools block the use of Youtube, in which case it may difficult to meet the challenge posed by the Common Core Standards. In the name of security, protecting bandwidth and sheltering students from inappropriate materials, those schools also leave children unprepared to deconstruct the media that assaults them outside of school.
The Tests will help to shape the expectations!
When groups like The SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) offer actual tests that measure whether students are meeting the Standards, we will all have a clearer sense of what is expected. If you go to the sample items, you will see congruence between the examples provided in this article and the samples.
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