Media Literacy

Media literacy is the process of critically analyzing media messages and the ability to compose messages using media tools and technologies. Media literacy is defined as an extended conceptualization of literacy, the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate messages in a wide variety of forms. The term access generally means the ability to locate information or find messages and to be able to comprehend and interpret a message’s meaning. The term analysis refers to the process of recognizing and examining the author’s purpose, target audience, construction techniques, symbol systems, and technologies used to construct the message. The concept of analysis also includes the ability to appreciate the political, economic, social, and historical context in which media messages are produced and circulated as part of a cultural system. Evaluation refers to the process of assessing the veracity, authenticity, creativity, or other qualities of a media message, making judgments about a message’s worth or value. Finally, the definition of media literacy includes the ability to communicate messages in a wide variety of forms (using language, photography, video, online media, etc.).

Media literacy emphasizes the ability to use production processes to compose and create messages using various symbol systems and technology tools. In recent years, media literacy has also been described as an expanded conceptualization of literacy, a view that many literacy educators embrace. Media literacy is primarily conceptualized as a learning outcome within an educational framework that aims to give children and young people opportunities to learn about mass media, popular culture, and communication technologies. Media literacy education and media education are terms used to refer to the pedagogical processes used to develop media literacy.

Because there are many different types of genres and formats within specific media and communication technologies, media literacy programs may address these specific forms directly. For example, media literacy programs have included a focus on critical analysis of newspapers and television news, print and TV advertising, magazines, popular music, contemporary film, and participatory media such as video games and the Internet. Many media literacy advocates and educators make use of a unifying framework: key concepts or questions that identify the central ideas associated with media literacy learning. The key concepts can be explored with children of different ages and with different types of media messages. These include the following:

1. Messages are constructions. The media do not present simple reflections of external reality. Rather, media messages are carefully crafted constructions that are the result of many decisions and determining factors.
2. Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules. Individual media messages can be recognized within specific genres (like cartoons, news, advertising, romance, horror, biography). Media messages make use of symbol systems and codes and conventions that can be verbal, visual, auditory, musical, narrative, or digital. For example, in narrative films for children, the bumbling or evil adult is a character stereotype that is commonly used in creating conflict.
3. Audiences actively interpret messages. People construct meaning as they consume media messages. Message interpretation varies according to individual factors such as developmental level, personal needs and anxieties, situational factors, racial and sexual attitudes, and family and cultural backgrounds.
4. Media have embedded values and points of view. Explicitly or implicitly, media express ideological messages about issues such as human nature, social roles, authority and power, and the distribution of resources. Media messages provide the majority of the observations and experiences that people use to develop personal understandings of the world and how it works. Much of people’s sense of reality is based on media messages that contain representations that have been specifically constructed to embody points of view, attitudes, and values.
5. Media have commercial implications and exist within an economic context. Media literacy aims to encourage an awareness of how the media are influenced by commercial considerations, and how economics and power affect message content, production techniques, and distribution. Many media products that children and young people consume are created as part of global business interests. Questions of ownership and control are important because a relatively small number of individuals decide what others watch, read, and hear in the media.

Ornithology

The branch of zoology devoted to the study of birds. Like entomology it has a substantial hobbyist following, mainly because of the aesthetic appeal of the brightly coloured plumage that many birds exhibit and the fascination of their ability to fly. The observation of patterns of bird migration had a particular scientific significance in ancient times by assisting agricultural calculations; the arrival of a particular species in a locality was often employed as a signal when calendars were still primitive.

This utility undoubtedly assisted various bird species to acquire a reputation as omens, although the establishment of carrion crows and vultures as birds of ill omen had a more obvious cause. Various legendary birds were added to traditional bestiaries, including the giant roc, but the most important was the phoenix, which continually renewed its life by rising afresh from its own funeral pyre—a symbol of regeneration that guaranteed it frequent literary citation. Significant symbolism was also granted in the West to the dove, as manifest in its use by Noah in the aftermath of the flood, and the owl, as manifest in its association with Athene, the Classical goddess of wisdom.

Eagles eventually became significant symbols of empire and ostriches acquired an entirely unwarranted reputation for burying their heads in sand to avoid unpleasant sights. The symbolic potential of birds allowed them to be used in a significant series of allegorical literary works ranging from Aristophanes’ fifth-century b.c. satire The Birds through such Medieval works as a twelfthcentury dialogue between The Owl and the Nightingale, such Renaissance works as Geoffrey Chaucer’s Parlement of Fowles (ca. 1380) and ‘‘The Nun’s Priest’s Tale’’ in The Canterbury Tales (ca. 1387), such post-Renaissance poems as John Webster’s ‘‘Call for the Robin Redbreast and the Wren’’ (1612) and William Davenant’s ‘‘The Lark now Leaves His Wat’ry Nest’’ (1650), such Romantic poems as Percy Shelley’s ‘‘Ode to a Skylark’’ (1820) and John Keats’ ‘‘Ode to a Nightingale’’ (1820), such post-Romantic poems as Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s ‘‘The Eagle’’ (1891), such moral fables as Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘‘The Ugly Duckling’’ (1845) and Maurice Maeterlinck’s L’oiseau bleu (1909; trans. as The Blue Bird ), and such calculated mockeries as Edward Lear’s ‘‘The Owl and the Pussycat’’ (1846) and James Thurber’s ‘‘There’s an Owl in my Room’’ (1934), to earnest fabulations such as Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1973).

The progress of ornithological science made hardly any impact on this tradition, and remained overshadowed by it even in literary works desirous of offering more naturalistic accounts of bird life. The postal service role played by owls in the literary phenomenon of the early twenty-first century—J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series—testifies to the residual  authority of the symbolic tradition.

The domestication of various bird species was important in the addition of protein to the human diet, in the form of eggs as well as meat, and acquired a new significance after the invention of writing, when quills became significant instruments of inscription—a role they maintained until the invention of the steel nib in the late eighteenth century. Magical eggs and quill feathers feature abundantly in folklore, and hence in fairy tales, but literature took more inspiration from the fact that certain birds are capable of imitating human speech, as famously represented in Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘‘The Raven’’ (1845). This equipped them for such purposes as forming courts to put humankind on trial, as they do in such literary fantasies as the second volume of Cyrano de Bergerac’s L’autre monde (1662)—an idea recapitulated in such twentieth-century works as Geoffrey Dearmer’s They Chose to Be Birds (1935) and James Blish’s Midsummer Century (1972), and tacitly echoed in such stories of *Nature’s rebellion as Frank Baker’s The Birds (1936) and Daphne du Maurier’s ‘‘The Birds’’ (1952; film, 1963). Satires featuring avian cultures, such as Samuel Brunt’s A Voyage to Cacklogallina (1727) and Anatole France’s L’ıˆle des pingouins (1908; trans. as Penguin Island ), also draw upon this resource.

Comparative observations of variation in wild and domestic birds played a crucial role in supplying Charles Darwin with the evidence he needed to support his theory of evolution by natural selection. The Origin of Species begins with a long discourse on the selective breeding of pigeons, whose mechanism is then analogised to the natural differentiation of the finches specialised for life on different Galapagos Islands. Birds also made a considerable exemplary contribution to the understanding of sex, not in physiological terms but in terms of their frequent sexual differentiation; male birds often have elaborately coloured plumage, whose effect is often further enhanced by elaborate competitive displays of singing, occasionally augmented by ‘‘dancing’’ and nest decoration; various aspects of this art of display are taken to extremes by such species as peacocks, birds of paradise, and bowerbirds. Speculative explanation of the genetic economics of brilliant plumage and elaborate courtship behaviour became a key factor in the development of sociobiology, but their analogical relevance to human behaviour was noted long before, elaborately depicted in metaphor and literature. Studies of birds also played a major role in the development of the behavioural science of ethology, particularly in revealing the role of psychological ‘‘imprinting’’ in establishing bonds between chicks and their mothers.

This too seemed to have some analogical relevance to human behaviour. Literary reflections of this kind of scientific research, and the potential for its confusion with human affairs, include Graham Billing’s Forbush and the Penguins (1966; film 1971 as Mr. Forbush and the Penguins). The most extensive literary use of birds is concerned with the mysterious mechanics of their flight, whose inspirational quality is extensively celebrated in poetry, as exemplified by Charles Baudelaire’s ‘‘L’albatros’’ (1857; trans. as ‘‘The Albatross’’) and Gerard Manley Hopkins’ ‘‘The Windhover’’ (1918). It gave rise to cautiously modified hopes of technical mimicry, from the myth of Daedalus and Icarus to aeronautical designs of imaginary ‘‘ornithopters’’ and such literary extravaganzas as Robert Paltock’s The Life and Adventures of Peter Wilkins (1751). Images of winged humans often symbolise transcendent freedom, as in Barry Pain’s Going Home (1921), J. G. Ballard’s ‘‘Storm Bird, Storm Dreamer’’ (1966) and The Ultimate Dream Company (1979), Vera Chapman’s Blaedudd the Birdman (1978), and William Mayne’s Antar and the Eagles (1989); by the same token, the clipping of wings—often done to restrict the movement of domesticated species—becomes a striking metaphor of female oppression in Inez Haynes Gillmore’s feminist allegory Angel Island (1914).

Science-fictional images of birdlike aliens extend the various elements of this symbolism in a striking fashion, notable examples including Otis Adelbert Kline’s ‘‘The Bird People’’ (1930), Francis Flagg’s ‘‘The Land of the Bipos’’ (1930), Poul Anderson’s The People of the Wind (1973) and ‘‘The Problem of Pain’’ (1973), R. Garcia y Robertson’s ‘‘A Princess of Helium’’ (1999) and ‘‘Bird Herding’’ (2000), James Van Pelt’s ‘‘A Flock of Birds’’ (2002), and Carol Emshwiller’s series including ‘‘All of Us Can Almost …’’ (2004). In the twentieth century, several bird species became significant symbols of the dangers of extinction, largely because of publicity given to the recent fates of the dodo—ironically echoed in Howard Waldrop’s ‘‘The Ugly Chickens’’ (1980)—and the once-common passenger pigeon. The discovery of relics of giant birds in New Zealand—as featured in such stories as H. G. Wells’ ‘‘Aepyornis Island’’ (1894) and Gregory Feeley’s ‘‘A Different Drumstick’’ (1988)—lent further impetus to this symbolism, and the particular fascination of giant flightless birds was further represented in Robert Reed’s ‘‘In the Valley of the Thunder Quail’’ (2000).

Sentence Completion Test 1

1) In ancient times, glass was very important because people valued it as much as they did precious stones. HOWEVER, …

a) it can be made to stand pressure and hardware if additional chemical are put into it during production phases.
b) it is so common today that we hardly take any notice of it.
c) some glass cups have been found as old as 4.000 years old.
2) EVEN THOUGH English is the largest of all languages, …

a) there are words coined to describe or name new inventions, discoveries, or manufactured products.
b) they are constantly adding new words.
c) they turn people’s names into words – pasteurise honours a French scientist and atlas, a Greek god.
3) In the keeping of road maps up to date, many changes are made necessary by urban expansion and by extensive highway construction programs, INCLUDING …

a) engineers, constructors and other people involved in construction business.
b) the relocation of roads, new routes, and freeway developments.
c) the rewriting of rules for using parking meters and newly set-up parking lots.
4) Everything from chairs and fishing poles to rope and paper can be made from bamboo. EQUALLY IMPORTANT, …

a) a variety of food can be made from this giant grass.
b) this giant grass grows in warm climates.
c) preserved bamboo shoots can be used in soups instead of fresh ones.
5) In the 1940s, when many of today’s astronauts hadn’t even been born, comic strip detective Dick Tracy fought crime in an atomic powered vehicle. IN ADDITION TO THAT, …

a) he used lasers to process gold and a two-way wrist TV for communication.
b) Dick Tracy was a very popular comic strip in the U.S.
c) many of today’s astronauts have used a kind of atomic-powered space vehicle.

KEY

1=b  2=b 3=b 4=a 5=a

Paragraph Completion Test 1

1) …… Outside, he knelt in the wet grass, tied his shoes, and then swung off toward the barn. There, ducking under the pitchforks, he filled a bucket with oats and water to make breakfast for his sows in the orchard. To get to the hogs he took the shortest way over the bridge above the swirling stream. As he passed over the water, he saw the boat of his grandfather pounding itself to pieces against the jagged rocks.

a) It was obvious from the very start of it that Tom’s Saturday morning would be different from other mornings of the week because hardly had he got up then he sadly realised that he had lost one shoe the previous night when he had had too much to drink.
b) Tom silently put on and tied his shoes as soon as he left his bed since he was sure that he would be asked to set the table if one of his parents happened to wake up.
c) Tom’s Saturday morning started very early as on other days of the week as he made his way to the garden.
2) …… One example is the new breed of cattle being developed by the Brazilians and specially adapted to withstand the pests and the climate of the tropics. And so it is that they are not only working on a new breed of cattle, but also on a new type of grass that is suitable to feed them.

a) Brazil is doing her best to make sure that the flow of tourists continues while the country prospers as far as agriculture is concerned.
b) In South America, where Brazil, together with Argentina, is the driving force of economy, farmers are surprised to find that their cattle will refuse to eat any sort of fodder that is imported from sub-tropical countries.
c) The Brazilians today are developing their own civilisation – not a European civilisation, but one which is adapted to the tropical climate, tropical vegetation, tropical light, and tropical colours.

3) …… If you say only that it is loss of memory, you include in the group of amnesiacs any man who forgets his wife\’s birthday or goes off to the office without his wristwatch. Actually, amnesia is something a bit more sinister. It is loss of memory, to be sure, but it is the sort brought on by injury, overwork, worry, or a nasty blow on the head.

a) What can be done to stop amnesia?
b) What, then, is amnesia?
c) Why is amnesia so common?

4) …… In the first place, the ant often brings to the surface from a depth of several feet considerable quantities of subsoil. This is spread over the surface and exposed to the atmosphere. In the second place, the burrows quickly conduct air and the moisture into the deeper recesses of the soil.

a) Although most ants prefer to dwell in houses where they can comfortably feed from the kitchen, garden ants choose to dig their complex labyrinth system out in the garden
b) Common garden ants are harmful not only as pests that eat our crops but also simply because they are hard to destroy
c) While the activities of common garden ants are often annoying, their excavations are extremely valuable in renewing the soil

5) …… First, it doubled the area of the United States and provided territory from which fourteen new states were created either wholly or in part. Second, it gave control over the mouth of the Mississippi River and opened up the way to foreign trade. Prior to the purchase, the waterway had been blocked by the Spanish, probably with the approval of Napoleon. Third, the land was rich in timber, minerals, and natural resources of other kinds. And, finally, the cost of transaction was unbelievably low; the total of $15,000,000 amounted to approximately four cents an acre.

a) It was with the Lousiana Purchase that the first traces of trouble that led to the Civil War started to appear in the US.
b) The Lousiana Purchase proved to be one of the most intelligent business pacts in the entire history of the U.S.
c) When the Lousiana Purchase enabled the United States to take a large area under its dominance, someone estimated that it would be one the most troublesome pacts that the US would ever sign.

6) …… The Harbour or Leopard Seals, mottled with light or dark spots, prefer to remain close to home on the rocks just off the shore. Their fur is of little commercial value. The Alaska Fur Seals breed in the Pribilof Islands but range the length and breadth of the Pacific. They are extremely valuable but are protected from hunters by strict international agreement. The Steller Sea-Lions have been found from Santa Barbara all the way to the Bering Sea, but they are now extremely rare. Their noise is a roar and this, plus the tawny, lion-like mane, doubtless accounts for the name. The California Sea-Lion is small, dark, and usually trainable. Because of its size and sagacity, it is most often selected for zoological gardens and trained seal acts.

a) California coast houses thousands of seals and sea-lions that are, at present, facing the danger of extinction.
b) Not very surprisingly, the four species of seals and sea-lions off the California coast consume an incredible amount of fish each day, thus infuriating American fishermen.
c) Seals and sea-lions known to the rookeries off the California coast are of four species.

7) …… This spider, named Micromegale debliemma, has only two eyes where most spiders have six or eight. Unlike most spiders, it does not have lungs but instead absorbs oxygen through its skin. Just three one-hundredth of an inch long, Micromygale is one of the world’s smallest spiders.

a) Scientists have discovered a spider which is remarkably different from any other known spider.
b) Scientists have discovered a spider which is in the size of the head of a pin.
c) Scientists have discovered a spider which inhabits the coastal forested regions of Panama.

8) …… Cirrus clouds are thin and delicate, whereas cumulus clouds look like cotton balls. Nimbus clouds are dark and ragged, and stratus clouds appear dull in colour and cover the entire sky.

a) A stratus cloud on the ground is called fog.
b) There are four basic cloud types – cirrus, cumulus, nimbus, and stratus.
c) It is possible to predict the weather by studying clouds.

9) ….. For example, King William the First, better known as William the Conqueror, was the first Norman king of England. Perhaps the most famous English writer of all times was William Shakespeare. And who can forget the American hero of the West, Buffalo Bill (William) Cody?

a) One of the most common boys’ names in English is “William”.
b) William” is not only a popular name today but also the name of many famous people in the past.
c) If your name is William, you have the same name as many other people.

10) ….. Straw, which can absorb up to four times its weight in oil, can be thrown on the spill and then be burned. Oil can be broken up and sunk by bither sand, talcum powder, or chalk. Under experimentation, some chemicals have been shown to disperse the spill into droplets, which microbes can then destroy.

a) There are many ways in which oil spills in the sea can be dealt with.
b) Contamination of the sea by oil spills is a critical problem.
c) Wind and wave action can carry oil spills a great distance across the sea.

KEY

1=c 2=c 3=b 4=c 5=b 6=c 7=a 8=b 9=b 10=a

The Benefits of Sleep

Although we still have many unanswered questions about why we spend one third of our lives sleeping, we do know that lack of sleep can have many negative effects. In a genetic condition known as fatal familial insomnia, middle-aged people gradually lose the ability to sleep. As the name of the disorder implies, the result of this sleep loss is eventual death. The exact cause of death is unknown, although the disorder is associated with damage to the thalamus (Gallassi et al., 1996).

Sleep, and in particular Stages 3 and 4 of N-REM sleep, plays an important role in repairing the body. Sleep deprivation slows the healing of injuries (Murphy et al., 2007), reduces the activity of the immune system (Zager, Andersen, Ruiz, Antunes, & Tufik, 2007) and results in the production of fewer new neurons in adult brains (Guzman-Marin et al., 2003). The vast majority of the release of human growth hormone, which plays important roles in repairing the body, occurs during Stages 3 and 4 of N-REM sleep (Savine & Sönksen, 2000). Another line of evidence supporting the restorative hypothesis of sleep is the behavior of people following intense physical activity. Runners competing in ultramarathons (races that are twice the length of a normal marathon) experience greater amounts of N-REM sleep the night after their performance. It is possible to selectively deprive volunteers in a sleep laboratory of Stages 3 and 4 N-REM sleep. After a night of such deprivation, volunteers typically complain of muscle and joint pain (Moldofsky & Scarisbrick, 1976). Because time spent in N-REM decreases about one half hour per decade after the age of 50 (Van Cauter, Leproult, & Plat, 2000), it is possible that reduced N-REM is the source of some of the muscle and joint aches and pains experienced by older adults.

Sleep plays a significant role in the consolidation of memories. Staying up all night results in poor memory performance, and two subsequent nights of normal sleep do not make up for the initial sleep deprivation effects (Stickgold & Walker, 2007). Memories for verbal tasks, emotional material, and procedures are all better following a period of sleep than when followed by wakefulness (Gais & Born, 2004; Wagner, Fischer, & Born, 2002; Wagner, Gais, & Born, 2001). Needless to say, students WHO wish to retain the material they’ve studied would be well advised to get a good night’s sleep.

Geriatric Assessment

People age 65 years and older are a fast-growing segment of the world population. Most remain healthy even to their later years; for others, old age means living with multiple comorbidities, limited social and economic resources, and physical and mental disabilities. Preserving current functions in healthier seniors and identifying those at high risk for disability are major goals of comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA). To achieve these goals, the geriatric assessment team collects information on the mental, functional, social, and biological status of older persons.

The team then uses the information to plan and implement evidence-based interventions to promote healthy aging and independent living. CGA requires specialists in several disciplines. The CGA team members include (at a minimum) nurses, physicians, social workers, physical and occupational therapists, pharmacists, and dietitians. Members of the CGA team collect information in four major domains of healthy living: mental, functional, social, and biological.

These domains have the most impact on function and quality of life for old people. CGA findings guide decisions on need for rehabilitation, nursing home and hospice care, and ambulatory and inpatient services. Research shows that CGA-based evaluation and management of the elderly is associated with decreased functional decline in hospitalized elders, increased psychological well-being, and better pain management in outpatient settings.