In this lesson students are introduced to the concept of “avatars” and share their experiences creating and playing avatars in video games and virtual worlds. They then create avatars using a program that is intentionally limited in terms of available body types and gender markers, first creating an avatar of their own gender and then of the opposite gender, and then discuss the program and relate it to representations of gender and body image in games and virtual worlds and in other media. Students then create avatars using a much more flexible version of the program and compare that experience to the more limited version. Finally, students use the more versatile program to create avatars that represent how they see themselves and how they would like others to see them online and reflect on the choices that went into creating them.
In this lesson, students consider the positive aspects of video games as well as the ways in which games may take time away from other activities they enjoy. Students are introduced to the idea of balancing game and screen time with other parts of their lives and learn about the reasons why they may be tempted to spend more time playing games or find it difficult to stop playing. They then keep a diary of their game play (or another screen activity if they do not play video games) that prompts them to reflect on their gaming habits. Partway through that process, they are introduced to techniques that will help them moderate their game play and deal with the difficulties they may feel reducing game time. Finally, students reflect on the experience and develop a plan to make their game play more mindful.
In this lesson, students discuss their experiences playing free online games and then learn the costs of these “free” games in the form of paying with money, sharing personal information or providing attention to advertising or branded content. Students then learn a variety of techniques for mitigating the risks and drawbacks of online games and communicate their learning by describing one of these techniques in video-game terms.
In this lesson, students will compare and contrast a variety of online social networking platforms and build an understanding of how they work to share messages. They will reflect on basic online rules and explore concepts of safety and privacy when accessing and sharing information online.
In this lesson students will identify and classify their own interactions with the Internet and will engage in a collaborative critical thinking activity that will have them examine the Internet from a variety of perspectives.
In this lesson, students will gain a greater understanding of how messages are sent and received over the Internet. They will analyze three videos to identify key information and vocabulary that will help them to continue constructing their Online Dictionaries from Lesson 1.
Level: Grades 4 to 6
About the Author: This lesson was written for MediaSmarts by Ethan Anderson
Duration: 1-2 hours
In this lesson, students talk about dressing up and taking on identities that are similar to or different from them. They are then introduced to the idea of avatars as a kind of “dressing up” inside video games and consider the ways in which the technical, generic and aesthetic limitations on avatar creation and customization affect their choices and their ability to represent themselves online.
In this lesson, students start by discussing the phenomenon of “selfies” and serve as experts in advising the teacher on the standards by which the “best” selfies are judged. They then discuss a number of statements taken from interviews with youth that highlight issues of self-representation, body image and gender standards, and learn about “photoshopping” images. Finally, students apply what they have learned by modifying an image that is at least 50 years old to meet “selfie” standards.
For most youth, the Internet is all about socializing and while most of these social interactions are positive, increasing numbers of kids are using the technology to intimidate and harass others – a phenomenon known as cyberbullying.