Session Descriptions - ACME National Conference – Boston, 2011

ACME National Conference – Boston, 2011 – Description

Evening Keynote. Experience the inspiring keynote oratory of scholar, reformer, and legend Robert McChesney on the evening of April 7, following the ACME conference, and the night before the National Conference for Media Reform! Following the keynote will be a networking reception featuring the noted folk band, the Phineas Gage Project.

Presenters. The ACME conference program is replete with more than thirty authors, researchers, teachers, and students. Jean Kilbourne will do two sessions. Susan Linn, Michael Rich, Thomas Goodkind, Elizabeth Rowell, Rob Williams, Bob McCannon, Jacques Brodeur, Adam Kenner, Alexis Ladd, Mike Gange, Rose Dyson, and many others will present sessions representing organizations as diverse as Columbia Teachers College, Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, Endicott College, Horace Mann School, Edupax of Quebec, Media Power Youth, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Champlain College, the University of Connecticut, Duke University, Simmons College, Wright State University, Canadians Concerned About Violence in Entertainment, the University of Texas, Harvard Medical School, and many fine school districts from several states and Canada.

Take part in all this at a bargain price (an ACME commitment), then stay for the fabulous National Conference for Media Reform.



Body Image: Up Close and Personal with Jean Kilbourne. Media educators must analyze media, then raise awareness in ways that attract people rather than repel them. Pioneering media educator Jean Kilbourne will show the latest update of her seminal film, Killing Us Softly 4, then give attendees a rare opportunity to discuss her attitudinal, rhetorical, and persuasive techniques which, largely due to her efforts, have transformed the body image debate from a hidden agenda into a national issue. Media criticism can be a media education solution! (Jean Kilbourne)

The Core Principles. Any attempt to teach media education or media literacy should take the core principles into account. These serve as powerful guides for producing media. Attendees will receive a data DVD with several versions of the principles from several organizations with definitions and examples. (Bob McCannon)

Fascinate Students with the Language of Persuasion. One of the most useful, accessible, and interesting tools for media education/media literacy is this group of specific tools of media analysis which are also crucial tools of effective media making. This is the way that all humans persuade one another, and students love using these tools. Attendees will receive a data DVD with more than thirty tools and a hundred examples. (Bob McCannon)

Which Media Literacy? Treating “Seven Great Debates” in One Curriculum. Teach the social and economic construction of media the way Chomsky and McChesney do, and the media “isms” the Media Education Foundation eloquently treats. If your students, like those David Buckingham studied, parrot what you want them to in class, stimulate their originality. As Mimi Ito and Henry Jenkins suggest, recognize that students are already savvy re-mixers of pop culture. Learn to manage Renee Hobbs’s “great debates” about media education. This talk will introduce an ongoing experiment in reconciling different perspectives on media education. The Media Show is a nifty YouTube series starring two puppet sisters: Weena, a punk who hates all ad-driven media, and Erna, a fangirl who revels in remixing her favorite texts. Questions about media literacy play out as debates, negotiating the space between fandom and critique. Attendees will be encouraged to identify their own struggles to reconcile competing demands and values in their media education work. (Gillian Andrews)

Lost, “The Rising,” and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: September 11 and American Popular Culture. In the fall of 2011, as students return to school, our nation will observe the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Teachers will be challenged to integrate September 11 into their curriculum. Studying news coverage and the historical timeline of the attacks are important aspects of teaching and learning about 9/11. However, to more deeply understand how the day changed American culture, a broader look at how American media responded to the events of that day must be examined. Novels such as Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, films such as The Dark Knight, television shows such as Lost, and songs such as “The Rising” represented and made sense of 9/11 in significant and poignant ways. Through explorations of these forms from a variety of perspectives, students can begin to understand how media texts and their audiences react to and engage with national events. (Amy Damico, Sara Quay, Rob Williams)



Media Literacy and Understanding Today’s Social, Political, and Economic World. Assuring critical thinking through deconstruction of bias and inaccuracy in news media’s reporting of defining moments, this session demonstrates the important relationship between media literacy in today’s social/political/economic world and developing critical thinking and decision-making skills in young people. Examples are presented of the deconstruction of bias and inaccuracy in the news media’s reporting of defining moments in our daily lives. Format includes deconstruction techniques, examples of related social/political/economic content and events, brief hands-on experiences for participants using materials provided, and discussion. (Thomas Goodkind and Elizabeth Rowell)

Media, Marketing, and Make Believe with Susan Linn: How Commercialism Stifles Creativity, Why it’s a Problem, and What We Can Do About It. Today’s screen-saturated, commercialized childhood inhibits the development of creativity, divergent thinking, and constructive problem solving and reduces the ability to resist pressure to conform (a staple of most advertising)—skills essential for democracy and for living a healthy, productive life. This session explores the commercial landscape for children and its negative impact on how they experience the world, as well as how we can make a difference. (Susan Linn)

Kicking Big Media’s Ass: Reinventing Civic Journalism for the 21st Century. Vermont Commons: Voices of Independence news journal has been publishing for more than five years as Vermont’s only truly independent statewide news source. Come to our workshop to learn how Vermont Commons is combining traditional print journalism with powerful new digital Web 2.0 tools—the Drupal open-source web platform, blogging, YouTube’ing, Twitter, and Facebook—to reinvent affordable and high-quality citizen journalism for the twenty-first century, and how you can join the quest for more democratic media. In an age of corporate commercial consolidation of the “news” business, citizen journalism is more vital than ever, as an antidote to corporate commercial PR propaganda, constructed “news,” and spin. (Rob Williams)

A Sustainable Future Depends upon Developing Trends in Media Use and Misuse. The survival of humanity will depend upon our ecological literacy, which can only be achieved through media education and media reform. Understanding the basic principles of natural, environmental processes and how the media distorts them is key. Politicians, business leaders, and professionals must be educated. Trends in communications technologies, media content, sustainable futures, and related marketing forces must be more fully addressed in media education curricula as well as in advocacy work and community building. Skills in facilitating a basic understanding of ecological principles are essential for all teachers but especially media educators. Market force domination within a digital age can swamp us in ever expanding genres of cultural information. Billions of advertising dollars, targeting us from the cradle to the grave, enhance the seductive characteristics of consumerism, shrinking energy resources and increasing carbon outputs and pollution. Most scientists warn that we need to reverse these trends. Value systems that threaten a sustainable future could be replaced with those which are, ultimately, more satisfying. A transition to more sustainable lifestyles where ecological footprints are reduced, yet health and well-being are enhanced will be discussed within the context of media education as it relates to emerging policy trends. Strategies for needed change will be examined as possibilities for media literacy curricula. This session will define various forms of mass media, violence (both subtle and overt), and media interfaces with eco literacy, and will present potential solutions. (Rose Dyson)

Implementing a Media Education Program School-Wide and Community-Wide: An Overview of a Successfully Implemented School-Wide and Community-Wide Media Education Program. Stanford University Prevention Research Center developed the Student Media Awareness to Reduce Television (S.M.A.R.T.) curriculum for 3rd or 4th grade students to reduce the negative effects of excessive television, movies, and video game use. This research-based curriculum has shown a reduction in student aggression and a decrease in obesity and weight gain. In 2003 Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District began developing “Take the Challenge,” a preschool-to-high school media education program that includes the S.M.A.R.T. curriculum and other resources, including integrated reading, writing, math, science, and technology activities. Delta-Schoolcraft ISD implemented “Take the Challenge” in more than thirty schools and conducted playground observations in nine schools. The average decrease in student aggression on the playground was 55%. There was also a 48% decrease in negative classroom behavior. Schools that were implementing the curriculum during the state assessment saw an increase in math and writing achievement at the elementary level. A Youth Correctional Center implemented the program and saw a 43% decrease in aggressive incidents. Workshop participants will receive training and materials on how to implement the program at the preschool, elementary, and secondary level, as well as how to engage the community. (Kristine Paulsen)



Empowering Youth to be Positive Media Message Makers. Media Power Youth empowers youth to lead healthy, safe lives through smart use of media in a program that uses after-school time and out-of-school time: Media Power and You. In this program, youth receive real world training in a hands-on manner, interweaving media literacy, media production, health prevention and community issues. Youth learn team- and consensus-building, mediation, and cooperation. The media production project unites diverse groups of students as they learned to disagree respectfully, value everyone’s opinion, and keep working to create the final product. Media Power and You attendees become empowered and confident about being positive message-makers and the contributions they can make to their communities, families, and peer groups. Participants discuss varied models for engaging youth in media literacy, production, and advocacy, and shares the media produced by youth participants. (Lydia Henry)

Media Education versus Marketing Harassment. Civilization is facing a major crisis. Children and teens are asked to become responsible citizens, yet they are targeted by powerful industries spending huge amounts on advertising to convince them to engage primarily as consumers. Parents and teachers have complained for decades about impacts of screen exposure on obesity and aggression. Marketers reply by financing pseudo media education. Real Media Education should help parents protect children from screens. The 10-Day Screen-Free Challenge experienced in many Canadian schools for the last seven years allows children, teens, teachers, and parents to join the same team and enjoy a new game, improving their health and success. Evaluations show that students learn that screens should serve human beings, instead of the corporations. The Challenge increases their desire and ability to augment their media diet with healthy activities. Attedees will learn many details about the 10-Day Screen-Free Challenge, including implementation, benefits, and evaluation results. The challenge of modern education is clear: young people will either learn how to master screens or will accept being targets, prisoners, and slaves. (Jacques Brodeur)

Deconstructing Tobacco and Alcohol Ads with Jean Kilbourne. Jean Kilbourne was one of the first to use media literacy as a tool for the prevention of several public health problems, including addiction to alcohol and tobacco. She started studying alcohol and tobacco advertising in the late 1970s and has made several films on these topics. In this session, she’ll demonstrate the deconstruction of ads and discuss the tactics of the alcohol and tobacco industries and some strategies for fighting back. (Jean Kilbourne)

A Program of Media Literacy for Preservice Teachers. Preservice teachers need to understand the importance of teaching media literacy to their future students. In this session, they will learn to construct and deconstruct media messages, collect data in an effort to understand media bias, integrate media with literature and drama, and plan lessons that use lesson study and learning communities. This session will share examples of students’ lessons on such topics as Silly Bands. Research will be shared on how to use media as both an attention grabber and a model to scaffold student learning of difficult strategies such as the reading and writing of various expository text structures. The reflections of preservice teachers’ middle school students will be shared as well as the teachers’ feelings and conclusions about the need to teach media literacy. In their words, the “future of our democracy depends on it.” (Richele O’Connor)

Finding Huck Finn with Michael Rich: Reclaiming Childhood from the River of Electronic Screens.
Because of their ubiquity and mobility, media may now be the most constant and powerful environmental influence on child development. The Center on Media and Child Health (CMCH) at Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School has created a open-access database of the rigorous scientific research on the positive and negative effects of media use on the physical, mental, and social health of children and adolescents, ranging from studies of TV violence over the past half century to the latest real-time brain imaging. Michael Rich, Director of CMCH, shares an overview of what the data show, the influence of both quantity and quality of media consumed, and the role of media education in guiding healthy and effective media use. He reveals the latest research on media multitasking, and its effects on attention span, academic performance, sleep, anxiety and aggression, as well as health risks such as obesity. What happens when the brain is constantly stimulated? Are young people becoming habituated to switching tasks, losing the ability to focus? Will their brain architecture develop differently? Can kids become addicted to media? Dr. Rich brings his perspectives as pediatrician, educator and parent to bear on these questions and on solutions that are evidence-based, realistic, and feasible.



Empowering Youth to Lead Healthy, Safe Lives through Smart Use of Media. Media Power Youth has developed models which demonstrate that media literacy can influence healthy decision-making for youth through teaching the principles of media literacy. The media education model can be integrated into existing curricula, involving and engaging school faculty. It is sustainable and measurable and works collaboratively with school districts, communities, coalitions, key stakeholders, foundations, and research institutions. The director and evaluator of MPY will discuss and demonstrate its elementary school curricula and share evaluations and curriculum. Sustaining media education necessitates involvement in public health networks, coalitions for youth, state and local prevention efforts, and issues ranging from substance use, violence, and bullying to nutrition and obesity prevention. Attendees will begin a plan for implementing and sustaining health-focused media literacy through involvement of their communities and stakeholders. (Rona Zlokower)

Eye Hear Ya: A New Spin on Record Reviews: An Enjoyable and Valuable Lesson with Complete Materials. In “Life: The Movie,” author Neal Gabler says we all have our own soundtracks. Music entertains us, soothes us, motivates us. This has never been truer, as music is available on platforms that were once thought of only as science fiction: embedded in video games, played in sports teams’ locker rooms, and used as persuasive subtext in movies. Yet members of this headphone-generation rarely take the time to analyze and write in depth about the music they consume. This session will show how to teach about music in a structured yet enjoyable way that moves up through levels of critical thinking skills using the updated Bloom’s Taxonomy, which includes media education concepts. By using these techniques, students will write publication-worthy reviews of albums. Not only do the rubrics provide a step-by-step guide for students, they also take the guesswork out of marking, helping teachers get students to higher-order thinking while taking the argument out of whether the work is superlative or mediocre. In this session, media education overlaps with media literacy, meeting outcomes from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Texas, among others. The strategy is to teach students about media through their own experiences and lives, and to teach them to write, produce and analyze their media products as if they were going to work in the media industry. (Mike Gange)

Media Education Programming in Action. Educators working on the front lines of the media education movement, along with their students, will participate in a panel discussion representing all levels of education, from early childhood through college. This dialogue will include curriculum development, viable resources, methodology, and the sharing of educator and student experiences and responses to media education. The purpose of this workshop is to offer insight into what media education presently looks like across a broad spectrum, to offer skills and resources to educators, to open our awareness to the perceptions of the youth who are the focus of this educational outreach, and to offer a supportive environment to brainstorm and create new curriculum and projects for media educators. Our methodology includes dyad and whole-group experiences to generate practices that support viable and progressive media education. (Ben Boyington and Dianna Morton)

Using Theater Improv to Teach Teens About Media Literacy. Connecting Youth’s “Whose Media Is It, Anyway?” workshop is designed to encourage critical thinking about media messages in a unique and exciting way. Based on the popular television show starring Drew Carey, the workshop teaches the basic theory of improvisation as an instructional technique, as well as specific games and activities for engaging youth in media literacy efforts. It examines the relationship between media, substance abuse, violence, and eating disorders. Through the use of theater games like those seen on “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?” participants will explore the “B.A.M.” approach to media literacy—Be aware of media’s influence; Ask questions; and Make connections between media and other social issues. The goal of the workshop will be to teach participants skills that they can take back to their own communities. Margo Austin, Peer Prevention Educator for Connecting Youth, will present this workshop together with four students from the nationally acclaimed See Why Theater Improv Troupe at CVU High School in Hinesburg, Vermont. (Margo Austin and Rebecca Alpert)

Come See Middle School Students Demonstrate Media Ed Knowledge and Skills. Eighth-grade students will perform a skit that presents important media literacy concepts learned in a seventh grade Media Literacy course that met twice a week for 45-minute sessions. When asked what were the most important aspects of the course, students identified three topics: the sexualization of girls, corporate power and consolidation of media control, and deconstruction skills. The skit uses deconstruction to explain the consequences of normalizing unhealthy images and body images and explores who is promoting these messages and consequences. Students will perform the skit, then lead a lesson on deconstruction skills using a popular media example. The students and teachers will provide details of the year-long course’s curriculum, materials, and activities and discuss them with attendees. (Alexis Ladd)



Technology for Media Educators I Effective and compelling education in the twenty-first century demands a media-rich learning environment. As we work toward educating a media-saturated generation, we need to expand the art of teaching using innovative and basic, “good media” techniques such as Sound Studio, Audacity, QuickTime Pro, Free Mind, and Keynote. Fortunately, today’s digital technology puts professional-grade media tools within easy reach and a vast library of media is already available from countless Internet sources. Educational technology experts Sheryl Rivera and Adam Kenner will show you how to use cutting-edge technology to create classes and presentations that will engage, educate, and entertain media activists, students, and audiences of all ages. (Adam Kenner and Sheryl Rivera)

Building Hardiness Zones via Webinars. Hardy Girls Healthy Women, which has delivered training to many adults and girls all over the country, gives voice to girls. Powered by the latest research on girls’ development, we are using technology to adapt our trainings into webinars. The online component of our training institute provides 90-minute sessions on relevant and timely topics such as Sexualization and Packaging of Girlhood and Preventing Harassment of LGBTQ Youth using iLinc software. This presentation will demonstrate how webinar can provide an excellent forum for media education. Using iLinc, we will show participants how to share media images and video, allow training participants to mark up these images, interact using features such as chat and polling to engage learners, and thereby spread the word about media education more widely and with fewer constraints. (Renee Randazzo)

Technology for Media Educators II Today’s youth live in a hyperconnected, open-sharing, rich, and participatory online environment. At home and at school, alone and with their peers, they have the tools and experience to produce and publish media on a historically unprecedented scale. The media educator’s challenge is to create opportunities for students to use familiar online tools to organize, inform and inspire, and therefore make a personal impact on their culture. Using current Web 2.0 applications, such as Google Docs, Prezi, Blogger, VoiceThread, Diigo, Twitter, and PBwiki, this session will help participants build a large toolbox with which to enable, encourage, and engage students in online social and collaborative media. (Adam Kenner and Sheryl Rivera)

Twitter, Facebook, and Social Media Literacy: Equity, Pedagogy, and the Use of Twitter to Build Professional Networked Learning Collaboratives. 21st Century Skills can be defined as the capacity to engage in lifelong learning (i.e., self-directed and collaborative inquiry) and connectedness (i.e., communication and collaboration with experts and peers around the world). As teachers begin to adopt the latest technologies as part of their teaching practice, social media becomes both a critical resource and a functional tool. For example, Facebook can be a classroom management tool as well as a way to provide lessons about online privacy and behavior; Twitter can provide a backchannel for class participation while functioning as a resource for professional sharing and collaboration. To these ends, this presentation first reviews approaches to media education that weigh the differences between media access and digital equity, then, [delete comma] outlines current research describing teachers’ barriers to media integration and finally considers such examples by addressing pedagogical models and examples. Ongoing research suggests that nearly half of freshly minted teachers leave the profession within five years; the goal of this session is to add value to any teacher’s learning collaboratives. (Mark Lipton)

Social Networking and Social Change: Providing a More Complex and Comprehensive Understanding. Social networking is extremely popular with young people. This is a unique opportunity to connect with young people and yet can be a source of frustration. When Facebook occupies so much of young people’s time, can classroom teachers and scholars make use of it as a research and teaching tool? Can social networking become part of a comprehensive media literacy curriculum to foster technological awareness as well as digital activism and social change? This presentation highlights ways social networking can be used to connect students’ expertise with teachers’ desire for a democratized classroom grounded in critical inquiry. Facebook feels like open terrain for self-expression, but examined through the lens of political economy, there are boundaries young people are not invited to see. Facebook has helped shift grammar, colloquialism, and writing styles, understandings of “private” and “public” and connections to corporate conglomerates. The inclusion of Facebook into the classroom neither punishes nor celebrates young people’s pleasure in social networking, but rather provides a more complex, comprehensive understanding of what feels like (but is not) free space. (Allison Butler)