Production 2: What is New Literacies/New Literacies Studies?


Literacy learning is best inferred, engaged and achieved in a dynamic social situation and not within the confines of a single room. Literacy learning requires real cultural context for it to be useful and worthwhile. Learning is not just a cognitive enterprise but rather requires the use of many different discourses. Literacy is connected to media of all kinds, both online media and textual media. Move from old literacies to try and teach students the acquisition of standardized basic skills to a more adventurous view of learning, through the use of real world media technologies which are present for use by the students. New technologies help to further a student’s knowledge and increase the amount of knowledge they retain.



Harnessing “popular culture” to express the New Literacies approach to socially-contextualized learning.

Educators can use “popular culture” to further students understanding of certain concepts and theories they learn within the classrooms. The use of “popular culture” can be a form of New Literacies because it takes a social context and applies it to the students learning to further develop concepts. A great example is to use certain well known tv shows and build lessons around them so that students have a more emotional attachment to the lesson and tend to learn and retain information about lessons.


Here we can see the use of the show “Star Trek” to show students how to understand the use of Punnett squares in a real life example. Students will retain this information and remember the use of the lesson within the societal context.


Debate #2: A Question of Transfer

Informal and formal learning are related, informal learning may be very vague in terms of its teaching ability but it helps formal learning through the difference and contrast between the two types of learning. The two learning types do not need real bridging but rather more reverse bridging to occur, where formal learning leans on informal learning to help better teach the student.


Production 3: Critical Lenses

This didn’t happen to me specifically but I noticed it a lot at the highschool I was in. During those years I would notice how the other children would behave towards all the Special Ed. students in the school. They would be treated as lower human beings and a lot of students would insult them. There were so many barriers put up for these students which were completely unnecessary but were deemed to be helping these children. Many of these students would be completely misrepresented and completely segregated from the rest of the students. Talking to these individuals I would be able to see how much insightful knowledge was to be found within them and made me really think as to why they were even segregated in the first place. Some of these students only had physical disabilities yet were still forced out of the “normal” classroom.


IEP VS NON IEP.jpgCan you spot the difference? At the end of the day we are all human beings with many differences from one another, but we should not be treated unequally and unfairly. As a socially just society we need to make sure we treat all human beings fairly and with equity.


Much of this representation is caused due to the portrayal of certain individuals within popular culture. Certain texts and even films led many students and even teachers to believe that many of these segregated students were not capable of much and needed to be placed into different areas away from other students. Rather than creating accommodations and modifications to help these students, teachers at the time were hindering their learning. The effects of this can be seen even today, where parents are very skeptical and deny their children needing to be diagnosed for any type of learning disability. A huge (incorrectly placed) stigma has been placed on students with learning disabilities. “…popular culture representations are socially constructed and thus open to critique and reappropriation…” (Stack and Kelly, pg 17) As we can see teaching students to be more critical of popular culture’s representations is important. Many pop culture representations are meant to be ironic but students sometimes become oblivious to these details. So we as educators have a critical role to play to show students the intricacies of pop culture and the meaning behind a lot of its media. Stack and Kelly suppose that we should teach students to be just as critical of the news as they are of pop culture as many misrepresentations are found within the news as well. “…adults can engage with youth to challenge media representations that present them in a stereotypically negative fashion.” (Stack and Kelly, pg 11) They also believe that allowing students to create their own pop culture media will help them realize how pop culture media works and they will be able to create their own learning and in the process may be able to remove or reappropriate representation created by other pop culture media.

  1. Stack, M., & Kelley, D.M. (2006). Popular media, education, and resistanceCanadian Journal of Education, 29(1), 5-26.
  2. Appleman, D. (2009). Critical Encounters in The English Classroom. Teachers College Press.Chapter: Post-Colonial Theory in the English Classroom  (as you read, see if you can make interdisciplinary connections to your teachable)


Production 5: Critical Pedagogy and Popular Culture

The newer version of the story of the The Three Pigs by David Wiesner helps to show the use of pedagogy of access which can help create new and invigorating stories. This leads to creation of remix culture where old stories, texts, media, etc. are renewed with modern ideas to help critically analyze old works. In this text we see the author take the characters from within the original story and put them into different situations. The story continues to take place but we can continuously see it being affected in different ways. Eventually we see the three pigs move into different stories as they move around and learn the extent of their new ability. Eventually the pigs make their way back to their own story and with their new friends they are able to change the story and their own fate. “…popular culture representation are socially constructed and thus open to critique and reappropriation…” (Stack and Kelly 2006, page 17) This story can be a great way to show students that not everything is set in stone and things can change over time and not to take everything to be true and/or fact all the time. Everything, even the Three Little Pigs, is subject to critique and modification. As Morrell states the use of critical literacy is important because it can be used to “…illuminate the power relationships in society and teach those who are critically literate to participate in and use literacy to change dominant power structures…” (Morrell 2007, page 241) We can see this occurring in David Wiesner’s retelling of the The Three Pigs story, as he uses the media to instead empower the pigs and liberate them from the wolf.


Something to notice about the title of David Wiesner’s story is that he doesn’t refer to the pigs as little, this is significant because the original text refers to the pigs as little and the wolf as big. This creates preconceived notions within children that being little means to be weak and frail, while being big means to be strong and sturdy. But throughout David Wiesner’s retelling we can see these norms be broken down, thus through this text we can see how a form of popular culture can change how some would view the words little versus big. “Critical literacies involve the consumption, production, and distribution of print and new media texts by, with, and on behalf of marginalized populations in the interests of naming, exposing, and destabilizing power relations; and promoting individual freedom and expression.” (Morrell 2007, page 241) What is described by Morrell is what David Wiesner has provided for us in his story. The postmodern version of the story promotes individual freedom and expression by giving more character to the three pigs and sending them off on newer adventures where they are able to learn so much more.

  1. Wiesner, D. (2001). The Three Pigs. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  2. Morell. E. (2007). Critical Literacy and Popular Culture in Urban Education: Toward a Pedagogy of Access and Dissent.
  3. Morrell, E., & Duncan-Andrade, J. (2002). Toward a critical classroom discourse: Promoting academic literacy through engaging hip-hop culture with urban youth. English Journal, 91(6), 88-94.
  4. Stack, M., & Kelley, D.M. (2006). Popular media, education, and resistance. Canadian Journal of Education, 29(1), 5-26.


Production 6: Doing Cultural Studies

Music Video:


The music video that I analyzed as a cultural studies scholar was 1-800-273-8255 by Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid. This music video looks at the issue of sexual orientation and the causes of suicide related to it. The video shows us the life of a child that undergoes many cases of bullying and depression due to his sexual orientation. This is a great topic to talk about in terms of media literacy with students. Many media and other forms of communication portray certain sexual orientations and the LGBT community in a certain way and create negative stigma around them. This music video helps to show viewers that this is a major problem within our society. It helps to raise awareness of the issue and to tell individuals that they aren’t alone, there are others going through similar events as they are. It also helps to show students that there are many help lines out there such as the suicide prevention hotline. The students can also see the use of rap/hip-hop music being used as a means of communication to tell people out there that they aren’t alone and people are out there that are willing to help.


The video would be prefaced with certain questions to help the students start thinking about these societal issues and explain why the author created the music video in the way they did. The questions will be used to “…prompt critical thought and advance media literacy about popular music videos”.(Jordan M. McClain) Questions can be used to help show how the music video helps to break the barriers that are put up against the LGBT community. Jordan M. McClain also explains that giving background information about the author can help shed light on the music video as well. The music video can also help to show that race is not always to the genre of rap music, as students will be able to see that the rapper Logic is not of African American descent. This music video can help develop a great social justice curriculum within the classroom which students can build on. The students can also analyze the lyrics of the song and compare them to the video and see how they relate to one another. The students will be able to see how influential and empowering short videos such as this one can really be. Students will be able to relate to the video and discuss among peers why it is important to understand these issues and come up with different strategies to overcome them.



Critical Media Analysis


Watching the latest film based upon the story of Spiderman, we can see many aspects that were different in the filming of the new Spiderman Homecoming film. In the movie, Peter Parker, played by Tom Holland, is portrayed as a young teen living as a high schooler. Throughout the movie we can see many references to STEM within his schooling career. We can even go as far as to see that the school Peter Parker and his friends attend is called Midtown School of Science and Technology. Back in 2015 Joachim Allgaier and Hauke Riesch stated “…that entertainment media also influence public perceptions of science, research and technology…” From this we can see that Spiderman Homecoming helps to  show individuals how important science and technology is even for students in high school. Throughout the movie we can see Peter Parker use different forms of science and technology to help him solve problems. Although there were some aspects of science and technology in the older versions of Spiderman, none of them were as explicit as the current rendition was. The older movies also portrayed Peter Parker as an older individual studying in college or university. There has also been an increase in the use of STEM related materials and information within different forms of media today. We can see it in TV series such as Breaking Bad, films such as The Martian, many video games, etc.

We can also see more diversity within the film’s cast. Peter Parker’s best friend, Ned, is portrayed by a Filipino teen. Laura Harrier, who plays as Liz the love interest of Peter Parker, has African American background. The movie also casts Tony Revolri, who has Guatemalan background, playing as Flash. There are many more cast members that are portrayed by many different racial backgrounds as well. “…popular culture representations are socially constructed and thus open to critique and reappropriation…” (Stack and Kelly, pg 17) We can see how the use of the media can breakdown differing ideologies that have been created around different races. The use of many racial identities in the movie helps to show multiculturalism within the school community and the society. If we compare the cast of Spiderman Homecoming to that of any of the old Spiderman films we can see how much more diverse the cast of Homecoming really is. This is because we starting to see a rise in the minorities within the population in North America and more individuals are bringing race, gender and sexual orientation discriminations to light.

  1. Stack, M., & Kelley, D.M. (2006). Popular media, education, and resistance. Canadian Journal of Education, 29(1), 5-26.
  2. Wilson, C. C., Gutiérrez, F., & Chao, L. M. (2012). Racism, sexism, and the media: the rise of class communication in multicultural America. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
  3. Allgaier, J., & Riesch, H. Science in Society: from Elite Media to Mass and Entertainment Culture. Conference Report of #POPSCI2015: Science, Research and Popular Culture.
  4. Citton-Battel, L. (2017, September 13). Entertainment media’s duty to make STEM cool again.




Production 7: Graphic Narratives