Youth Ministry as Media Literacy

Douglas Rushkoff recently inspired me to teach media literacy to my youth group. It’s a subject I’ve paid much attention to as a layperson but not one I’ve ever formally “taught.” In looking for materials, I found this curriculum by the Center for Media Literacy. The first installment was last night.

It’s got 25 sessions in it, five dedicated to each “Key Question” is addresses. That makes for simple lessons with very specific objectives. Last night’s: define “media,” “mass media,” and “media text,” and explore the difference between one-way and two-way communication.

My kids are crazy-smart, so they get this stuff pretty easily. Maybe too easily. I was prodding them at the end of the night, “Are you guys interested in this, or should we do something else?” A few said they liked it; that’s enough for me. Next week, deconstructing advertising.

Addendum: Here’s one of the questions I tacked onto the lesson: if the Bible is a media text, is it one-way or two-way?

Addendum 2: I also asked kids to name the one-way media of communication the church uses vs. the two-way media. They identified the  worship bulletin as an interesting case study: there are two-way elements in it (call to worship, unison prayers), but it’s a printed text that participants can’t change. So it’s a one-way medium, right?