Engaging Ideas

for Education

Archive for the category “Media Literacy”

Olympics-Biography Exploration

Why does NBC’s Olympic page show these athletes are the most popular? (click on picture to enlarge it)



The purpose of this exercise is to help students explore athletes from other countries and use the athletes as a basis to better appreciating the life circumstances in those countries as well as help connect them to critical questions related to global issues.  Students will also pick up skills in navigating the web.

First using the NBC image, ask students why these athletes are pictured?  Note the countries they come from…which should be something the students notice. One athlete isn’t from the United States–why do they think he made the list?  Note the clothing advertisement of Ryan Lochte reinforces the same message (and he’s one of the most popular).   You can also notice sports that are listed and how that compares with all the sports at the Olympics and why other sports aren’t listed.  You can also see if the list has changed http://www.nbcolympics.com/athletes/index.html.  Presumably popular here is based on clicks.

You might then explore what it means to be popular?  How does that work at school?  How does it feel when you’re not popular?

Now segway into the activity.

How do you think an athlete who has worked hard, but hasn’t gotten that recognition would feel if you tied to learn about him or her and even rooted them on?

The Olympic page for the 2012 games has information on all the athletes which can be searched by the athlete’s surname, by country, or by sport.


Read more…

Olympics – Media Analysis

The London Olympics bring many opportunities to explore global issues.

The teacher might tape a portion of the Olympic coverage and can discuss what’s shown, emphasized, and what’s not. Alternatively, students can be asked to watch and record with a worksheet from home.  Or a newspaper/news outlet sports section could be used, either paper or on line.

Learning Objective: Make students more aware of the tendency of  American media outlets to focus primary on the United States.  This isn’t to detract from the United States athletes but to help students become more aware of the subtle impacts media can have more broadly on their lives and how they view others through the media.  The Olympics can be entry point to this wider discussion.

For instance, if your only interaction with a member of an ethnic minority group is through news depictions of them as criminals, how might that impact your view of them?

Other issues to consider include that media outlets pay substantial sums to cover the Olympics and they need an audience! They sell that audience to advertisers.  As such,  you can have students think about how they would plan their coverage of the Olympics.   You can see if they efforts end up reinforcing a focus on athletes from their country.
Read more…

Post Navigation