The Power of Remix
Teaching tweens to analyze media with a critical lens
It is no secret that many of us have become addicted to social media. Even as a mostly functioning adult who has seen “The Social Dilemma,” I still have a difficult time tuning out my desire to mindlessly scroll through my feed in an attempt to quench that dopamine hit. This is even more true for younger generations, whose lives are often defined by their online presence.
In the article “Leveraging Digital Literacies for Equity and Social Justice,” Detra Price-Dennis and Selena Carrion explain, “Social media and technological tools are playing an increasingly large role in the daily communication practices for the tweens in our classes” (190). With the extreme rise in teen media consumption, the question for educators comes down to two things:
- How can we utilize technological tools in the classroom to support student learning?
- How can we teach tweens to analyze the content they consume, curate, and interact with on a daily basis with a critical eye?
It is important that tweens not only understand how to use technology as a tool, but also how technology and media are used on them.
One powerful way to utilize technology and teach about media consumption is through “remixing.” Remixing is a creative process where makers take a medium that already exists and changes it for new purposes. The possibilities for remixes are endless (memes, song lyrics, found poetry, etc). The article “Remix as Professional Learning: Educators’ Iterative Literacy Practice in CLMOOC” elaborates that “by encouraging remix as an iterative, collaborative, critical practice — a practice caught up in the interstices between discourses, texts, tools, power structures, and objects — we can glimpse the transformative possibilities for web-mediated professional learning.” (16)
This week I found my remix inspiration from the cover of a magazine that I used to devour as a tween: Cosmo Girl. Looking back on the headlines from a source that I heavily relied on for advice, I saw how damaging Cosmo Girl was for my self-confidence and peer relationships. Instead of offering advice on self love and confidence, it offers tips on how to change your looks so that others might find you irresistible. My intention with my remix of the week was to hyperbolize the messages received from Cosmo Girl to show how a tween internalizes captions such as “What he really thinks when he snogs you” and “476 ways to be irresistible.”
I used Canva to create a cover page of my own and used a photo of myself from age 11. The effect of those hyperbolized messages are substantial when you see them plastered on a normal 11-year-old girl and not on a celebrity. When I finished the first remix, I created a second one with the messages that I wished I would have received as a child.
This example of remixing not only uses media as a tool for learning and making, but it also encourages a critical eye of the messages we receive from media platforms. Other ways that tweens could remix might be remixing advertisement videos on Tik Tok with that same hyperbolized tone or creating a found poem out of a caption on Instagram.
The possibilities and tools for remixing are abundant! Here are a few different tools from “Leveraging Digital Literacies for Equity and Social Justice” that can be used in a classroom setting:
Educators, how do you encourage your tweens to analyze content with a critical eye?