Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Persuasive Media Project

In eighth grade, I teach animation with Flash. It gives advanced students a taste of OOP while allowing less-advanced students a point-and-click 'programming lite' experience. Everyone gets to reinforce ideas like instances and classes, scoping, and lots of other stuff. Plus they find it very engaging. 

The final project is called the persuasive media project. It combines media literacy with animation. Students watch two of a bunch of different web-based persuasive presentations and respond to a set of questions. We discuss the animation techniques they know (and the difference between how you construct something vs. how the audience perceives it!) plus persuasive techniques used in media. Then they choose a topic to persuade someone of. They plan a persuasive presentation including storyboard, then create it. Past presentations have covered everything from 'the war in Iraq is wrong' to 'CS should not be mandatory' to 'school should give less homework'. 

Here are the animations they can choose to watch:
They have to watch two - one we watch together (frequently Pentagon Strike or part of The Story of Stuff so we can discuss them!) and fill out a handout for each one. I got the questions from The Center for Media Literacy. Here are the questions on the handout:
  1. What presentation did you watch?
  2. What were they trying to convince you of?
  3. Who created the message?
  4. What techniques did they use to attract your attention or convince you?
  5. How might other people understand this message differently from you?
  6. What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in or omitted from this message?
  7. Why was this message created?
  8. Who is the intended audience?

Do you have any suggestions of other persuasive presentations I can offer?

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