Teacher Blog

12 Oct

Video Games: Audiences Negotiate Meaning

Written by Ms. Solomon and Ms. Keats

From OXO and Pong to NHL games and World of Warcraft, videogames have changed. From a basic black and white screen to an immersive world, it is not simply the games themselves that have changed, but (perhaps more importantly for our purposes) how audiences make meaning from those games. Even early on, games were a social experience. They gave people of all ages another way to play together using new technology.

What strikes me most about the above video is the enthusiasm of the players. These men created the game, have presumably played it many times over and, despite their best efforts to formally introduce the game, they can not help but get caught up in it. Videogames allow for a powerful connection between the audience and the media text itself, as well as other players.

07 Oct

Key Concept 4: #K12Media

As we progress through this special series of #K12Media chats, our discussion continues with a closer look at Key Concept 4 from the 8 Key Concepts of Media Literacy: Media have commercial implications. Last week we discussed how audiences can negotiate meaning, focusing on the topic of video games.

For a refresher on the concepts: 

4. Media have commercial implications

The study of media requires an awareness of how media are deeply rooted in commercial interests and how these interests affect content, technique, and distribution. Profits must be made and thus, ownership and control impact what is produced by the media we consume.

03 Oct

Space and Place: The Media Construct Reality


Often, our memories, both pleasant and challenging, are infused with the spaces that surrounded us as those memories were made. Our favourite moments may have us connected to the vista at a national park, a warm morning spent swimming in the sun, or sitting fireside with loved ones. This construction of memories and personal impressions is an ongoing dialogue between individuals and their environments. Upon returning to a space, that impression may be changed. Beyond the personal spaces that we can shape and control and mould to our tastes, spaces created for “us” by government and business impact and shape our experiences, perhaps in ways we do not always notice or consider. Nonetheless, “place” can help to shape our ongoing impressions of the world. This week’s twitter chat examined and explored the connection between ourselves and the spaces around us and how these spaces shape us and our behaviours.

We began our chat with a brief re-examination of the term “media”. If we consider a medium to be something which communicates data or information for a purpose, as a pathway for between a message and its intended audience, then much of the constructed world around us does speak.

01 Oct

Canada is on the Verge of Legislating Itself into a Global Disadvantage

On September 29th, the Canadian government introduced Bill C-11, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act. I have read several news reports in the last few days about Bill C-11, most of which were extremely positive. On the surface, it does seem like a fair Bill that will modernize copyright law. Unfortunately, largely because of the inclusion of digital lock provisions, it is a step back for education.

This summer, Neil Andersen and I wrote the following letter to send to our Members of Parliament. We have decided to make it available to raise awareness of this important issue:

28 Sep

Key Concept 3: #K12Media

Our special series of #K12Media chats will centre on Concept Three from the 8 Key Concepts of Media Literacy: Audiences negotiate meaning. Last week we discussed how media contribute to our understanding of reality. We explored the idea that the familiar spaces and places we inhabit influence how we perceive our reality, and what we feel we are able to do within it. We spoke about the construction of intersections, neighbourhoods, schools and even our virtual environments online. This week we’ll look at how WE negotiate meaning.

For a refresher on the concepts:


3. Audiences negotiate meaning

Media are constructions, and in turn, they can shape our reality, but there is more to the equation than that. We, as viewers, create impressions and opinions of the world around us based not only on the media we are exposed to, but also based on what we bring to the table. Our biases, personal experiences, socio-economic status, culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability and more all contribute to how we make meaning out of a media text. In order to truly understand how we negotiate meaning from a media text, we need to better understand the intersectionality that informs our individual perspectives. We also need to confront the fact that the meaning of a text is not fixed, but rather negotiated by the individual.