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Making Media

Molokai Art and Media Academy offers sessions.

Community Contributed by Alestra Menendez, Molokai Art and Media Academy director

“Media literacy empowers people to be both critical thinkers and creative producers of an increasingly wide range of messages using image, language and sound.” – National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE)

According to researchers at NAMLE, children nationwide spend an average of 6 1/2 hours daily in front of some kind of screen: computers, hand held games and television, to name a few. The tendency, at least in my household, has been to limit excessive screen time.  Perhaps a better approach would be a shift of focus from how much, to how our children are using media.

Media is a way to communicate. We do this face to face, through the written word, or through radio, television and increasingly the Internet. Children learn to read critically and to write persuasively in school, yet how do we educate our children to access, evaluate and use media for their own benefit and to reach out to others?

We, at the Molokai Art and Media Academy (MAMA), would like to give students a chance, during their school intersessions, to be both evaluators and creators of various forms of media. One film instructor at MAMA, Genesis Lodise, states that, “Children will be changed forever by being behind the camera.” That is, by setting up the story, creating the scenes, shooting and editing the perfect shots and then seeing the audience reaction, the child’s perspective is changed when watching films made by others. There is a great deal of intentionality behind media, and understanding this is one proponent of being media literate. 

But we want children to have fun, too. This is why we balance our approach between an outdoor camp atmosphere replete with s’mores, games and kayaking as well as music, dance and drama. We have also joined forces with Akaku Molokai Media Center to both broaden our scope and keep us close to home. This season, we are offering the making of music videos as well as spoken word poetry for students ages 8 to12, with music, international dance and improvisational role play for children 5 to 7. Student showcases will be made available for all to see in mid October.

If you would like more information, or to enroll your child during their fall intersession, contact kumualestra@gmail.com or call (808)646-0340.


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