London UK – In June, Cyndy Scheibe of Project Look Sharp presented the organization’s media literacy curriculum lesson for young children at the International Communication Association Annual Conference. Scheibe’s presentation was part of a special extended session on media literacy research and approaches.
The Project Look Sharp lesson that was shared at the conference was designed to teach young students about nutrition, advertising, and persuasive intent by having students decode TV commercials that target members of their age group. While watching the commercials, students are asked to record any “tricks” they find that the advertisers may have used to make the product seem better. “In one exercise students are shown a Fruit Loop commercial and they are asked to determine whether the product really has a lot of fruit in it or not,” Scheibe explains.
During the event, Scheibe also presented the research findings conducted by her psychology students. They found that when young children, mainly kindergarteners, are exposed to these lessons the children will often go home and talk about what they've learned with their families. Through the exercise children are exposed to critical thinking and media literacy at a young age, which can be very effective in their educational process overall.
Scheibe’s session at the conference was sponsored by the Division on Children, Adolescence and Media (CAM) that included two of the leading media literacy experts in the UK, David Buckingham and Sonia Livingstone. There were also presentations in that session by Kim Walsh of UC Santa Barbara and Erica Scharrer of U Massachusetts and new CAM President, Elizaveta Provorova of Temple U, Kath Albury of U of New South Wales, Australia, and David Bickham of the Children's Hospital/Harvard Med School.
Project Look Sharp is Ithaca College's Media Literacy Initiative.