Teaching Visual Literacy: Media Studies Before the Internet

media studies demo
media studies demo

I thought I’d share this recently rediscovered relic from my early days as a teacher. Keep in mind that when I began teaching, educational technology featured:

  • Mimeo ~ remember the smell?
  • Filmstrip ~ who wants to advance the slides?
  • 16 mm film ~ you kids be quiet while I splice the break in the film!
When the Betamax arrived to my classroom I was in heaven! Back in the late 1970’s / early 1980’s I started teaching a high school “Media Studies” class. (Pittsford-Sutherland HS, Rochester NY). It was one semester, social studies elective that examined the impact of media on society (mainly TV – and all very McLuhan).
Duane Sherwood, our building edtech specialist, was inspired by early TV pioneer, Ernie Kovacs to shoot this 1 minute video. I used it after my first few introductory lessons. That day, instead of their teacher, my students found a TV / recorder in front of the class. The sign instructed them to “watch this video.”
The shot took “forever” to set up. I attribute my bad acting / missed lines to sitting sideways and trying to keep a straight face. It’s just too bad I wore red flannel and khakis that day….
Hat tip to Stan Merrell for digitizing this one!

4 thoughts on “Teaching Visual Literacy: Media Studies Before the Internet

  1. Reply
    Renee Hobbs - April 13, 2009

    Thanks for sharing, Peter! This charming video reminds us that one of the many benefits of media literacy education is the pleasure students experience as they collaborate and create imaginative ways to represent their new knowledge and critical thinking skills

  2. Reply
    Ken - August 18, 2012

    Aha. Now I see why it took hours to set up. Very good intro to a class on this topic. Well done.

  3. Reply
    Peter Pappas - August 18, 2012

    Thanks Ken,
    I ended up with a very sore neck. I think it sort of shows in the video. But it was worth it. Had a great discussion with the students after watching it. We even did a “unit” on “subliminal advertising” – a very popular meme back then. All seems so quaint from today’s vantage point.
    ~Cheers, Peter

  4. Reply

    […] magazines, Hollywood.  I taught a media studies class in the seventies and eighties. It was all very McLuhan – how TV was shaping our […]

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