TMS Custom Resources

TMS Web Site License Information (2006)

All content on is created by The Media Spot in collaboration with schools, organizations and the media literacy community at large. We hope to Add value to that community by building on what’s already been done and in turn offering the content on this web site back to the community for reference and discussion. (more…)

K-12 Curriculum Development, TMS Custom Resources, Tools, Apps & Texts

TMS Production Menu (2006)

Collaborative, educational multimedia production poses many challenges. In a given learning environment, many factors must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, including the range of technical savvy among educators and youth, available technology resources, and the degree of technical support. This prevents a “magic bullet” prescription for media education through production, but it also provides opportunities for creative new media applications in virtually any situation!

Tools, Apps & Texts

Voicethread Tutorials & Resources

A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to leave comments in 5 ways – using voice (with a mic or phone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too on any Internet enabled computer or mobile device (Apple only as of Fall 2012).

How we’ve used it

TMS has used voicethread in schools to engage multiple literacies, practice speaking and listening skills (esp. with ELLs), allow teachers and students to collaborate and communicate using multimedia asynchronously, allow students to deconstruct media (their own productions, or others’), create open-ended student or class reflection journals, create mixed media “living” publications, and more.

How to get started:

How-to Tutorials



Voicethread for Media Literacy Education

Tools, Apps & Texts

Resources (2006)

concepts & standards

10 most frequently used words in the CPMLE

The TMS resources are here to provide support and context to media literacy education as we define it.

What’s inside

  • The media literacy page provides key definitions, concepts, and frameworks developed by TMS and national media literacy leaders
  • Our favorite media links to organizations in the field that provide online media literacy research, resources, and curricula
  • Our viewing list links to films that promote critical analysis of media, and cover the role of media in politics, the economy and culture
  • The reading list includes articles and books on media education, media studies, and novels that illustrate social issues related to media effects
  • Our glossary is a handy list of some key terms and concepts we mention often on this site related to what we do
  • The learning standards align our beliefs and core principles of media literacy education to international, national and local educational objectives

If you have a book, article, website, video, or other resources that you think we should include in our resources, please contact us.

Tools, Apps & Texts

Reading List (2006)

20 Important Reasons to Study the Media
Chris Worsnop (1999)
A rationale for media literacy, tying study of the media to 20 other subjects of study.

Amusing Ourselves To Death
Neil Postman, (1989)
The book that helped form TMS! Neil Postman wrote about communication and technology for several decades. This book is vintage Postman: a simple and engaging look at how much of our culture is funneled through television, and some of the consequences.

Brave New World
Aldous Huxley, (1932)
In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman wrote:
“[In Brave New World] no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As [Huxley] saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.”
Huxley’s vision of a mass-produced, opiated culture rings more true today than ever before.

Cultural Studies, Multiculturalism, And Media Culture (pdf link)
Douglas Kellner, (1994)
A clear description of how the cultural studies approach can be applied to media studies–Kellner touches on issues of empowerment, representation, and media immersion. This and other essays from the cultural studies perspective are also available on Kellner’s UCLA web site.

Democracy and Education
John Dewey, (1916)
A classic in pedagogical theory outlining Dewey’s ideas of pragmatism and ‘learning by doing’.

Disappearance of Childhood, The
Neil Postman, (1982)
Postman theorizes that the distinction between adults and children in our society is diminishing due to the shift from print to television as the primary medium of socialization. He explains his theory by breaking down what it takes to interpret and understand television’s messages–how relaying visual and auditory messages along with its text, television can reach adults and children simultaneously.

Encoding and Decoding In Television Discourse
Stuart Hall, (1973)
Pioneer of British cultural studies, Hall describes his theory on how people make sense of media messages, claiming that the intended message of media producers can be interpreted in different ways by audiences which has various effects on society.

Five Key Questions That Can Change the World
The Center for Media Literacy publishes a free downloadable classroom activity guide with 25 core lesson plans for K-12 media literacy. We agree with their approach of building the key concepts of critical media analysis across traditional curricula as an approach to integrating media education in the U.S. school system.

Future of Ideas, The
Lawrence Lessig, (2001)
From the Stanford Law web site:
“In The Future of Ideas, Lawrence Lessig explains how the Internet revolution has produced a counterrevolution of devastating power and effect. The explosion of innovation we have seen in the environment of the Internet was not conjured from some new, previously unimagined technological magic; instead, it came from an ideal as old as the nation. Creativity flourished there because the Internet protected an innovation commons. The Internet’s very design built a neutral platform upon which the widest range of creators could experiment. The legal architecture surrounding it protected this free space so that culture and information–the ideas of our era–could flow freely and inspire an unprecedented breadth of expression. But this structural design is changing–both legally and technically.”

Instructional Practices In Media Literacy Education And Their Impact On Students’ Learning
Renee Hobbs, (1999)
From “This study reports the findings of qualitative and quantitative research designed to assess the impact of different types of instructional practices involving media literacy education across the curriculum. Teachers in a small school district participated in a staff development program in media literacy and developed unique approaches for integrating media literacy concepts into language arts, history, math and science at the ninth grade level. The work of four different teams of ninth grade teachers is described by examining the instructional practices, motivations and philosophy behind teachers’ application of media literacy concepts into the curriculum.”

Literacy in a Digital World
Kathleen Tyner, (1998)
A thorough look at the history of literacy in the U.S.; comparisons of literacy, communication and educational theory; makes the case for the expansion of literacy to include “multiliteracies”; examines the relationship between access to educational technology and media education.

Media Literacy: Education for a Technological Age
Center for Media Literacy, (2002)
An excellent introduction to some of the theory behind media literacy: well-written, simple, and concise.

Necessary Illusions; Thought Control in Democratic Societies
Noam Chomsky, (1989)
from ZNet:
“This book applies the propaganda model Chomsky has developed with Edward Herman to media coverage of the diplomatic process in Central America and the Middle East, human rights issues, terrorism, and other topics, revealing the crucial function of the media and educated elites in limiting democracy in the United States.
Rigorously documented, Necessary Illusions is an invaluable tool for understanding how democracy functions in the United States.”

Plug-in Drug, The
Marie Winn, (2002)
Classic study of the impact of TV on youth development and family life. Highly debateable theories, but ideas all parents and teachers should consider. Good source of statistics on children’s media consumption.

Seven Great Debates in Media Literacy Education, The
Renee Hobbs, (1998)
Another bedrock TMS resource, Renee’s comprehensive account of the prevailing debates that exist in the development of a standardized U.S. media literacy curriculum is great place to start framing your own approach to media education.

Teaching Youth Media
Steven Goodman, (2003)
Founder of the Educational Video Center‘s social constructivist guide to supporting literacy through documentary video production.

Technics and Civilization
Lewis Mumford, (1934)
An account of how the incorporation of new technologies has effected society in the past, and what factors we should heed as new technologies arise that will affect our future.

Understanding Media
Marshall McLuhan, (1964)
A classic — many would say progenitor — of the media literacy movement. Though not a scholarly work, McLuhan makes compelling arguments for more analysis of the role of technology in culture by cobbling together changes influenced by technology in human history with tremendous foresight into the effects of modern technology including the prediciton of a “global village” connected through new media.

What Media Literacy is NOT
Center for Media Literacy, (2002)
A short list of some misconceptions about “media literacy” that can help students and educators understand what the term really means.

Tools, Apps & Texts

Media Literacy Links (2006)

Media Literacy Leaders

National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE)

The National Association for Media Literacy Education is a national membership organization dedicated to advancing the field of media literacy education in the United States. Check out their list of Organizational Members to find other leaders in the field. The Media Spot became a member in 2009, and TMS Director Rhys Daunic is currently serving on the executive board. @medialiteracyed

The Learning about Media Project (The LAMP)

Brooklyn-based friends in media literacy education providing in and afterschool, library-based youth workshops, and creators of LAMPlatoon & the Media Breaker.

The Media Education Lab

One of the nation’s leading authorities in media education, Renee Hobbs and her team at the  Harrington School of Communications and Media at the University of Rhode Island  post and archive articles, research, and curricular resources and workshops.  Also check out their K-6 focused media literacy professional development resources at TMS director Rhys Daunic collaborated with URI and MEL on their Digitial Literacy Institute in the Summer of 2013.

The Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change

Directed by Paul Mihailidis, the Salzburg Academy is a multi-dimensional initiative that provides curricular materials, training and support for journalism schools, programs and classrooms across the world. Rhys Daunic of TMS attended in 2010 as visiting faculty.

Media Studies Podcasts

On the Media (npr/podcast)

“On the Media explores how the media ‘sausage’ is made, casts an incisive eye on fluctuations in the marketplace of ideas, and examines threats to the freedom of information and expression in America and abroad. For one hour a week, the show tries to lift the veil from the process of “making media,” especially news media, because it’s through that lens that we literally see the world and the world sees us.”

Media Matters with Bob McChesney (radio/podcast)

Robert McChesney is a major force in media education: …author of eight books on media and politics, professor of communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and host of the weekly talk show, Media Matters, on WILL-AM radio. McChesney also writes widely for both academic and non-academic publications. He gives talks frequently on issues related to media and politics in the United States and world today.

Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting

FAIR provides a thorough liberal analysis of the major news media.

Related Curriculum Providers

The Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in The Moving Image

A comprehensive film production curriculum for K-12 provided by the NYCDOE Arts Education division.

PBS Newshour Student Reporting Labs

Student Reporting Labs connect students with a network of public broadcasting mentors, an innovative journalism curriculum and an online collaborative space to develop digital media, critical thinking and communication skills while producing original news reports for PBS NewsHour Extra.

NY Times Media Studies: Daily Lesson Plan

Excellent source for grades 6-12 media literacy lesson plans. Each lesson is accompanied by follow-up questions, interdisciplinary connections, assessment techniques, related web links, and academic content standards.

Ed Tech Sources

The Consortium for School Networking

An excellent resource for understaffed K-12 schools struggling to support the technology the have strategically to improve teaching and learning.


K-12 Curriculum Development, TMS Custom Resources

TMS: The Benefits of Media Literacy Education (2006)

The goal of working with TMS is primarily to increase media literacy for youth and educators alike. The production projects deal with a range of topics and content, but always support the core concepts of media analysis and our objectives. Below are some of the benefits of working with us (see also: Learning Standards).

Connecting with the world of 21st Century youth

We believe that at whatever age, youth can apply their own experiences to uniquely enrich projects in ways that inherently promote media literacy. The TMS production process is designed to connect students’ comfort, or “ways of knowing”, with new media to existing curricula.
Foundations: Spiral Curriculum, Goodman, Tyner, Winn, PBS

Professional producers working with you

TMS media professionals provide the technical expertise to help educators complete projects with confidence while focusing on new and traditional teaching opportunities during the production process. (see also our philosophy‘s section on “collaborative production”)
Foundations: Hobbs, Tyner

Curriculum-based content

Our projects start with language-based subject matter drawn from existing curricula. This adds new perspective and learning opportunities to existing teaching strategies.
Foundations: Hobbs

Technology planning and support

Any computer use in a group setting requires professional technical support and planning. The rush to acquire new media has left many groups with more computers than they can maintain and no realistic plan for using them to increase learning. Collaborative production with TMS can include long-term technology planning and technical support to allow educators to capitalize on potential learning opportunities instead of troubleshooting technical glitches they are not trained to handle.
Foundations: Tyner, COSN

Create new media voices in your community

We believe that if a child knows their work will have a life beyond their immediate surroundings, they will be more invested in the process. Digital audio and video, and the Internet have made it possible for virtually anyone to create a voice in these dominant forms of 21st Century public discourse. Aside from helping youth create these voices, TMS works to distribute and share your group’s work through community screenings and, with your permission, on the Internet.
Foundations: Goodman

Custom educational resources created by YOU

Material produced through TMS can be distributed within your educational community as teaching material with cross-curricular value. With your permission, your projects can become part of The Media Spot’s production archive for others to use in their pursuit of media literacy.

Presentations & Notes

Our Philosophy (2006)

Our approach to modern curriculum design

The following recommendations are an attempt at simplifying school innovation (and promoting educator sanity) in the coming years:  

  1. Identify your school’s “pedagogical bias” — your philosophical approach to curriculum development and instructional practice.
  2. Identify and internalize within your school culture broadly applicable digital skills and “media literacy” concepts necessary for 21st century citizenship, identity, and the workforce.
  3. Build curricula informed by the above that expands and enhances the Common Core State Standards with new tools and modes of communication, that are open to continuing cultural shifts. 

Theoretical Foundations

Our approach is rooted in the core principles of critical media analysis (see our media literacy page) with the following beliefs guiding us.

  1. Media literacy is critical to maintaining independence and identity in the digital age.
    Media education provides citizens with the foundation to actively and critically engage media in their environment and determine who they are in relation to the agendas of those who produce media.
    foundations: Hall, Tyner, Winn, Hobbs, PBS

  2. The 21st Century idea of “Literacy” should include new media to serve the democratic ideal of an educated and informed citizenry.
    Literacy and critical thinking skills, the foundation of education, empower individuals to inform themselves through information gathering to make decisions in the interest of themselves and their community. In the “digital” or “information” age, proficiency in image and computer communication is as vital to this process as print literacy. Media education should be a fundamental part of our society’s pedagogy.
    foundations: Jefferson (1820), Kerry (2006), Eco, CML

  3. Critical analysis of media should be emphasized over judgement of particular media or their content.
    Rather than flattening media (i.e. television, books, the Internet) or media outlets (i.e. Fox, NBC, World Book) into “good” or “bad, “biased” or “unbiased”, and so on, we encourage individuals to be aware of how and why media are produced. We feel that by participating in and learning the basics of production students are more likely to recognize the inherent bias in any media message, regardless of its subjective value. Whatever a producer’s intent, the media they produce will be interpreted differently by different audiences. We want TMS participants to think about why.
    foundations: NAMLE, Tyner, Kellner, Hall

  4. Media literacy is not equivalent to technological or vocational mastery of production tools.
    We emphasize understanding and analysis of the media production process over mastery of the technical tools of production. Computers and software vary in different environments. We focus on making participants aware of the unique languages different media use to communicate. Students have varying interests, strengths and technical abilities. The TMS collaborative production process insures the completion of projects allowing participants to contribute to the decision making process in all aspects of production, regardless of their technological interests.
    foundations: Hobbs, Tyner

  5. Collaboration between children of the digital age and media professionals from varying backgrounds create teachable moments for the key principals of media literacy.
    TMS productions require participants to work closely at each stage of production with experienced writers, storyboard artists, directors and editors. The various points of view and styles that these collaborators bring to the table during the creative process can increase awareness of the wide range of audience interpretation inherent in mediated communication. Each production decision provides opportunities to discuss key principals of media literacy while they are tangible for all collaborators.

  6. Beyond access to technology, increased learning and media literacy through the use of new media requires adequate planning and support personnel.
    We believe that reducing teacher frustration with technology operation in learning environments is a crucial to production-based media literacy curricula taking hold in U.S. education. To accomplish this requires a coherent plan for technology acquisition and management. To increase media literacy and learning through the media production process, educators must be free to capitalize on teachable moments related to the unique languages of print and visual media during production. We encourage educators to design projects utilizing only the technology that can be adequately maintained and supported in their learning environment, and to involve support personnel when possible in the classroom.
    foundations: Tyner, COSN