TechnoKids Releases TechnoCommercial

With people today viewing close to one million commercials in a lifetime, it is essential that students are aware of the powerful influence the media has on how they think and act. TechnoKids is pleased to announce the release of TechnoCommercial, a new intermediate project. In this project, students become media savvy by analyzing the manipulation techniques used by advertisers and then using them to make their own commercial using video equipment and Windows Movie Maker.

NOTE: This project has been a favorite for many years. Unfortunately, it is no longer available. To find other TechnoKids projects for middle school students view the Project Matrix or visit the TechnoKids website.

The emphasis in this project is placed on media awareness, with tasks that promote critical viewing of advertisements. What is so exciting about this project is that no high-tech devices are required. If your school has a video camera, web cam, digital camera, or even nothing at all, you can complete the activities.

The project begins with analytic activities that encourage students to consider the amount of time they spend consuming various forms of media and its impact on their lives. Afterwards, they analyze television advertisements to learn how to identify the purpose, target audience, selling techniques, obvious and hidden messages, and stereotypes. These activities are sure to help your students become critical viewers.

Once students are familiar with these key concepts, they prepare for the creation of their own ad, by learning how to use the video editing software Windows Movie Maker. Students import raw footage of a commercial and edit the content by deleting clips, applying video effects, adding transitions, inserting text overlays, and importing music. The goal is to discover the capabilities of the program.

Next students learn how to operate camera equipment. To start, they study a commercial to notice the types of shots, angles, and camera movement. Once familiar with how a camera can be used to share information with an audience, they experiment with the program features in Windows Movie Maker. By altering the microphone settings, color brightness, frames per second, and camera position, they gain an understanding of how to record quality video.

Now students are ready to team up to produce their own commercial using all the persuasive and production techniques of the professionals. As a group, students must determine the target audience, selling technique, and messages they would like to convey to the viewer, to convince them to purchase a chosen product. Using a storyboard, they divide the commercial into shots, outlining for each one the action, characters, words, props, and camera position. Once they have all their ideas organized, students film the production.

Each member of the production team then takes their video footage and individually edits the content. By applying their knowledge of Windows Movie Maker, students produce a television advertisement that gets the “right message” to the “right person”. When they are finished, their commercial is shown to viewers.

TechnoCommercial is recommended for students in grades 6-8.

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