Images and words: using, manipulating, playing

Whilst I was on-line this morning up popped a couple of emails, One was sent by a teacher and it included the photograph below.

I looked around the web and found a blog, CFRU 93.3fm Election Radio, which posted the photo with the following text

It would seem that the credit crunch is having a really significant impact in the UK.

Even those more fortunate than most are having to make difficult decisions to ensure that their standard of living is maintained.

I don’t know if they created the photo but it certainly brought a laugh to students and teachers alike. I had a great discussion last week with the boys in the reading club/group. We started off talking about some books, then got om to how the media manipulated readers by the language used in their stories and finally discussed the economic crisis and the speeches made by politicians (what do they really mean?)

I was sitting in the library and around me there was a display of newspaper headlines for this year. I had collected these news banners for the morning delivery of papers over this year. So many words in bold print saying…?

These headlines have caused quite a bit of discussion with the students when they have come into the library over the past week.

I then started thinking about what activities you might base on these headlines. They could be the basis of some interesting approaches to language.

One of the language teachers was pointing out some of the different types of language uses to her year 11 students. She is always looking at how language is used and misused. It would also be interesting to compare a year of HeraldSun, The Age and the Australian headlines by creating tag clouds using Wordle. I have my own thoughts one the sorts of words/language that recurs in each of the three main daily newspapers.

I thought that another approach might be to let the students use their imaginations. A lot of students have quirky ways of “reading” headlines so it would be an interesting exercise for the students to create a visual of some of the headlines in the papers. If taken literally of there would be some very unusual pictures. The students could explain their choices (why and how they read their headline that way) as well as the images they put together.

Our students could use the software at school to alter their images. The images could be some they drew or photographed themselves or they could find and use images that are in the public domain or are licensed under Creative Commons. The tools that make free-to-use photos, in Creative Commons, easy to find could be brought to the attention of students. These tools include FlickrCC, CompFight and. FlickrStorm is another nice search tool that has some useful features such as the ability to look for CC photos only and create a list of images that can be shared. The student’s could then go on to write a brief “news” report to go with the created image.

These are just a few thoughts and I’m sure there are many others. The images could be posted electronically on in a class space, in the library even doing something more involved with Glogster. I think I shall contemplate it further!

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