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Media Literacy and 1984
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Media Literacy and 1984



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  • Lesson to accompany Orwell’s 1984.
  • Define literacy. Ask students to rate how literate they consider themselves on a scale of 1-10. Again with Digital literacy.
  • Type as they answer.
  • Discussion
  • Real McDonald’s ad in Austria McD’s burger = mother’s breast = nutritious, warm, home, love, comfort Message = eat our food
  • Show Nike commercial featuring NBA stars. Hip hop music appeals to the young; heroic imagery; celebrities that young people want to be like. Song lyrics: “The truth is speaking, you should listen...” message: Wear our shoes and you will not only be a good basketball player, but also a hero.
  • “ Buy our product”: persuasion. -Trying to convince someone to act/not to act in a certain way. “ Our product is good and good for you”: propaganda. -Trying to manipulate the thoughts or beliefs of a person through words and images
  • persuasion/propaganda
  • Pakistan Ordnance Factories: “Armed deterrence is an effective measure to keep troublesome elements at bay and keep the Peace [Captial P]. POF’s mission is Peace, and in more than 40 countries, we help maintain Peace. [Teacher to teacher comment: don’t even get me started.]
  • Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” music video -Do these images represent you and the U.S.A. that you know? -Is it real America? -How is this propaganda? Message: love your country. Motive: why do they want us to love our country?
  • Pop-up ad. Briefly discuss marketing strategy.
  • Different philosophies if you are knowledgeable , but same communication strategy. What if you didn’t know what each represented?
  • You are about to read 1984 The Party uses technology to maintain power and control its citizens.
  • Journal writing time.
  • If the Party and Oceania were set in modern times, what are some technological methods they could use?
  • Type in one answer from each group as they share aloud
  • Messages?
  • Potential essay question: Agree or disagree? Explain and justify your stance.


  • 1. Persuasion, Propaganda and Power Are you watching Big Brother?
  • 2. Are you Digitally literate?
    • Literacy
      • Definition
      • How literate are you? 1-10
    • Digital literacy
      • Definition
      • How literate are you? 1-10
  • 3. Digital literacy today
    • What types of digital media do you use?
      • (Student answers here.)
  • 4. Why is Digital Literacy important?
    • Can you survive without it?
    • Does it make you smarter/faster/stronger?
    • Should we teach it in school?
    • Do we need it? Why?
  • 5. Okay, now what about Media Literacy?
    • What’s the difference between digital and media literacy?
    • Definition:
      • Media literacy is the ability to analyze, evaluate and create messages in a variety of different media modes and forms.
  • 6. In other words...
    • Digital literacy = ability to use/operate media
    • Media literacy = ability to analyze/interpret media
      • What’s the message?
      • How is it communicated?
      • What’s the motive?
  • 7. What’s the message?
  • 8. What’s the message?
    • http ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Azv4j8-KRI&feature=related
  • 9. What’s the Motive?
    • Motive of McDonald’s and Nike ads?
      • - sell products
      • - make a profit
    • Power, persuasion or propaganda?
      • - definitions
  • 10. Message? Motive?
    • Is it working?
  • 11. Message? Motive?
  • 12. Message? Motive? Who does the artist of this political cartoon support?
  • 13. Messages? Motives? Miley Cyrus: Party in the U.S.A. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M11SvDtPBhA
  • 14. Messages? Motives?
  • 15. Propaganda, persuasion and POWER
    • What is the end result of successful persuasion and propaganda in the media?
    • Which of the media in this presentation could lead to power?
  • 16. What’s the difference?
  • 17. Are you Media Literate?
    • Do you know what you’re really looking at when you see images on TV and in magazines, or hear ads and songs on the radio?
    • Can you see through to the meanings and motives?
  • 18. media themes in Orwell’s 1984
    • Psychological control
      • - Propaganda
      • - Fear (Big Brother)
    • Information control
      • - Restrictions on writing/photography
    • Use of technology
      • - telescreens, microphones
  • 19. 1984’ s Historical Context
    • Written 1949
    • Onset of Cold War
      • -communism in U.S.
    • Totalitarian society (Germany, Soviet Union)
    • Negative utopia
  • 20. 1984’ s Technological context
    • Technology was used to monitor citizens and spread propaganda
    • Written in 1949
    • - no computers, cell phones, etc.
    • - Only television and radio
  • 21. 1984 in 2009
    • What if Orwell were to write about a similar situation today?
    • How would the technology be different?
    • How would the different technology effect how people are controlled?
    • Would it be more or less difficult to monitor people? How?
  • 22. Today’s technology as used by the Party Make a chart in groups of 2-3. Create fear Purpose Daily reminder to everyone: “Big Brother is Watching” Example: Text messaging Usage Technology
  • 23. Share your answers Purpose Usage Technology
  • 24. What’s the connection ?
    • Messages?
    • Motives?
    • Methods?
    • Persuasion?
    • Propaganda?
    • Power?
  • 25. What about this presentation?
    • What are the messages and motives behind this presentation?
    • Is this a form of media propaganda?
    • Am I trying to brainwash you?
  • 26. Why is Media literacy important ?
    • Can you survive without it?
    • Does it make you smarter/faster/stronger?
    • Should we teach it in school?
    • Do we need it? Why?
  • 27. Rewind: Media vs. Digital literacy
    • True or false:
    • The more digitally literate we become, the more important it is to be media literate.
  • 28. how media literate are you?
    • After viewing this presentation, rate your media literacy from 1-10.
    • Will this change the way you watch TV, listen to the radio, read books and magazines, or surf the net?
  • 29. Assignment
    • In teams, create a commercial or noncommercial media message in any format: poster, TV commercial, radio ad (recorded or typed out script), speech, website, etc. Topic must be approved by me.
    • Accompany your project with a page explaining your message, goals, motives, and strategic elements.
  • 30. Watch out for Big Brother