By Faith Castiglione
This week at Davis Commons, we taught the students about Public Service Announcements. Since we make our visit on Thursdays and are the final group of the week, we first did a “mini review session” by asking the students what they talked about during Tuesday and Wednesday’s lesson. The students reported that they talked a lot about what Public Service Announcements actually were so they had a good foundation for our discussion. They defined Public Service Announcements as a type of advertisement on some type of medium (radio, tv, etc.) that aim to raise awareness among the public about a specific issue and maybe even persuade the public to change their mindsets on that issue. That being said, during our session at Davis Commons, our goal was to film our own Public Service Announcement. A hands-on activity such as this is important, especially given the fact that media production is an essential part of being a media literate person.
First, we asked the Davis Commons students what kind of Public Service Announcement they wanted to create. We asked them to think about certain issues in our society that are prevalent and important to talk about. We came up with several issues, but the one that they found most pertinent and that they wanted to film about was the issue of pollution and taking good care of our environment.
Next, we talked about who would do what during the filming of our Public Service Announcement. From our initial visits to Davis Commons we have talked about the importance of advertisements and filming that we see on the television. Along with this, we have emphasized that in advertisements, there are a lot of people and components that are behind the scenes. Therefore, for everything that we filmed with the students, we asked them what roles they wanted to fulfill in the production process. For our PSA we chose a director, a video recorder and actors. All the students contributed to the script writing and the props/layout of the scene.
The actual filming was a success! One of the students threw some trash on the ground as he walked by a trash can. As two of his friends approached, they told him how bad littering is for the environment and led him to the trash can to throw away his trash. As simple as this PSA was, the students took it very seriously and wanted it to be perfect. This just shows how valuable media production is in media literacy education. We are constantly exposed to advertisements and PSA’s on the television and radio. We sometimes lose sight of the fact that behind these short and simple PSA’s , there is a team creating this message—and it typically takes a lot of time, effort and consideration to make an effective PSA. Teaching students about the process of media production was very beneficial because it captures the attention of the students and makes them aware of the decisions that go into creating media messages. Again, this is just one reason why incorporating media literacy into a young person’s education is both important and necessary. Being aware and informed from a media literacy perspective is crucial because of the amount of media we consume and are exposed to daily.