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HSI, Day 12: Continue Video Editing & Flickr, Self-Reflection on Media Literacy & HSI

Photo Scavenger Hunt

We’re going to walk around campus as a class and take photos for our scavenger hunt. Then we’ll post them to our blogs as well as write a reflection post (see below).

Class Discussion & Blog Post: Self-Reflection on Media Literacy & HSI

Your HSI experience is almost to an end. How do you feel about that? What stories will you tell about HSI? Let’s take some time to answer these self-reflection questions. Be honest and thoughtful when you answer these questions. In the distant future, you will want to remember what kind of person you were at HSI.

  1. What are the top 5 lessons you will remember from this class? Remember that the goal was for you to become more media literate and more knowledgeable about multimedia and storytelling. Did you meet this goal?
  2. What are the top 5 lessons you will remember from your sciences/math class?
  3. What is your favorite memory from HSI? Describe the memory in detail. Why did that memory make such an impression on you?
  4. How do you think you’ve grown as a person from coming to HSI? Have you become more outgoing and friendly? Have you conquered any fears? Have you learned to be more independent?
  5. How do you think HSI prepared you for college life and your future career path?
  6. If you could re-live HSI, what would you do differently?
  7. What will you tell your friends and family back home about HSI? You know that question is just waiting for you back home…

I’m curious about what everyone took away from HSI. Let’s hear it!


HSI 2016 – Snowy Range Photography

On the first official day of summer (June 20), we traveled to the Snowy Range Mountains to practice our creative devices in a beautiful landscape one more time before HSI concludes. Here are the students’ creative results.

The Snowy Mountains

Snowies/Mirror Lake

Top 10 Snowy Range

Snowy Range

Snowy Range

Snowy Range

Snowy Range Trip June 2016

Andrew’s Photos

Snowy Range

Snowy Range

Photography Contest Winners

Best Use of Creative Devices

Rule of Thirds – Andrew

Balancing Elements – Trevor

Leading Lines – Caroline

Symmetry – Chase

Viewpoint – Eli

Clean Background & Focus – Trevor

Creating Depth – Syler

Framing – Jillian

Cropping – Jillian

Color – Tori

Texture, Pattern, &  Repetition – Caroline

Contrast & Light – Megan

Top 3 Landscape Photographers

  1. Trevor
  2. Eli
  3. Caroline

Top 3 Portrait Photographers

  1. Abi
  2. Syler
  3. Caroline


HSI, Day 10: Snowy Range Photo Contest, Media & Body Image

 Snowy Range Photography: Creative Devices Contest

Let’s open this survey. Then we will go through each person’s photos and live-vote on who won each category.

If there’s time…

Activity: Magazine Analysis of Body Image

  1. In your magazine that you’re given, find 10 photos that communicate body image messages.
  2. Discuss what messages each photo is sending.
  3. On a sticky note, write the message that each photo is conveying about body image.
  4. Discuss as a group.

Class Discussion: Media & Body Image

Females, Media, and Body Image

Take a look at these magazines.


The average female is 5’4 and 165 lbs, yet the average female model is 5’10 and 120 lbs.

But, this ideal female body image has not been stable throughout history. Here is a look at how female body image has evolved.

In nearly all cases, Photoshop or another photo editing program has been used to change models’ appearances.

Males, Media, and Body Image

The average male is 5’9 and 195 lbs, yet the average male model is at least 6’0 and weighs about 175 lbs.

Body image problems with the media are not confined to females.

While male “ideal” bodies differ around the world, there is still pressure to conform to some ideal.

Why does media perpetuate these body image ideals?

Advertisements and media imagery play on our insecurities to make money. Magazine, TV, and billboard images create a false idea of what we should look like, and this false advertising can make people feel bad if they don’t look like that. Thus, they hope to sell their products and *make money*.

Blog Post on Media and Body Image

What are your thoughts? Please write a blog post that discusses these questions:

  1. Describe some examples of media images that are problematic for girls/women and boys/men. What does the media “say” girls/women and boys/men should look like?
  2. To what extent are unrepresentative media images a problem for society? How so?
  3. Is it realistic for everyone to achieve the looks of models and celebrities in the media?
  4. Imagine if everyone was the same as the ideal body image perpetuated in the media. What would that mean for our society?
  5. How do media images affect children, teens, women, and men?
  6. Is there really an ideal body image for males and females? Why do you think that?
  7. Have you or your friends ever been affected by media images? How so?
  8. List three things the media can do to change the promotion of an ideal body image.
  9. List three things that you can do to promote acceptance and appreciation of unique qualities in others.

Creating a Healthy Body Image

People differ in a wide variety of ways (e.g., eye color, weight, height, skin color, hair, likes/dislikes, abilities, interests).

Some things we can change through effort (e.g., studying, practicing), and some things we can’t change even if we want to (e.g., height, skin color).

Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses as well.

Let’s take a look at some critical views about media and body image. Advice for girls. Advice for boys.

 Take home points:

  1. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses.

  2. We are all different in terms of our physical appearance, which makes us unique.

  3. Each of us should focus on staying healthy, being the best we can be, and showing respect for others and their abilities.

  4. There is no ideal body image. Everyone should strive to be physically, emotionally, and socially “fit” and happy.

  5. With maturity comes the capacity to think about how our actions toward others make them feel.

  6. And as we learn to think for ourselves, we are better able to cope with how we perceive that others view us.

HSI, Day 8: Censorship & Ethics of Banning Books

— Finish Magazine & Advertising Activity —

The First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Activity: Small Group Discussion

Discuss these questions with your group members:

  1. Why was the first amendment needed?
  2. What are some benefits about the first amendment?
  3. What are some drawbacks of the first amendment?
  4. How does book banning relate to the first amendment?

Class Discussion & Blog Post: Ethics of Banning Books

Each group discusses one of the responses with the class.

Now, let’s look at a list of books that are commonly banned. As you can see, the reasons often deal with foul language, racism, sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, and homosexuality.

Here is a video summary of 10 commonly banned books.

The sides of the debate are typically either:

  • Pro-censorship: Protect children, protect integrity of character
  • Anti-censorship: Protect free speech

Let’s talk about what these arguments mean.

It’s important to realize that religious books and references are sometimes banned as well. Here is a Fox News pundit explaining how one school banned a religious reference in a school paper. Banning religious and Christian books.

Class Discussion:

  • Is this type of ban appropriate and fair?
  • Is this ban different than banning nonreligious books?
  • Have you experienced anything similar to this?

Case Study: And Tango Makes Three

Now let’s explore a case study of book banning. We’ll watch the clip together and then you’ll write a post that answers the questions below. There are no right or wrong answers; it’s just your thoughts and opinions.

The local public elementary school has banned the children’s book And Tango Makes Three. The book is based on the true story of Roy and Silo, two male Chinstrap Penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo. The book follows the six years of their life where they formed a couple and were given an egg to raise.

Blog Post: Book Banning

  1. Briefly summarize the book and its content
  2. Discuss both the pro-censorship and anti-censorship viewpoints.
  3. Was the ban unwarranted? Or, was the ban appropriate?
  4. Do you have any personal experiences with your own school or parents banning books?
  5. How many books on the Top 10 Commonly Challenged Books Lists have you read? Which books have you read?
  6. What is your general opinion about book banning?
  7. Can organizations, schools, and families really “ban books” in our time of the internet and social media?
  8. How does the first amendment relate to book bans?

— Class Discussion —

HSI, Day 7: Ethics of Media Consumerism

Class Discussion & Blog Post: Generation Like, Corporate Marketing, and You

We will watch a PBS Frontline episode about this topic. Then, we’ll write a blog post and discuss.

  • What messages and information do you remember the most from the video? What “spoke” to you as a teen in “Generation Like”?
  • Did anything surprise you about the video?
  • Do you think the practice of integrating advertising/marketing into social media is ethical, appropriate, and acceptable? Or, do you think this practice is irritating, unethical, or inappropriate?
  • Did you know what “selling-out” was before you saw the video? Do you think it’s a problem or a concern? — Check out a music video from a 90’s ska band that is all about “selling-out”. (Silly fact: I saw this band live when I was in college! Lol…)
  • Do you have any other thoughts about the video clips you saw?

Activity: Identifying the Hidden Persuaders in Advertising

Get into groups of 3. Look at the ads. Discuss the advertising techniques used. Discuss with the class.


  1. Bandwagon: Join the crowd. Everyone is buying it/using it/doing it.
  2. Testimonial: A famous person or authority claims the product is good.
  3. Image advertising: A product is associated with certain people, places, activities. The implied message is one of attractiveness, wealth, enjoyment, etc.
  4. Weasel: A promise is implied by using words like “usually” or “chances are.”
  5. Omission: Facts about the product are not told.
  6. Repetition: Saying it again and again.
  7. Scale: Making a product bigger or smaller.
  8. Association: Promising adventure, attractiveness, quality.
  9. Name-calling: Making the product seem better by using unpopular terms about the competition.


HSI Cheyenne Trip: Wyoming Tribune Eagle & Train Depot

We traveled to Cheyenne to photograph the beautiful downtown architecture and public art work. We also visited the Wyoming Tribune Eagle to understand how a news organization functions and prints the newspaper every day. Here is our work!

Downtown Cheyenne and WTE




Cheyenne Trip




Downtown Cheyenne June 2016


HSI, Day 6: Cheyenne Reflection, Photo Editing, News & Entertainment

Class Reflection on WTE Field Trip

Name one thing that you learned at WTE. We’ll make a list as a class here.

  1. There are multiple colors of ink for the newspaper that have to be layered properly.
  2. The size of the printing press was impressive: it took 2 ships and 20 semi trucks to deliver the printing press from Germany.
  3. There are special technicians that are experts on the printing press in case it needs maintenance.
  4. There are only 3 of the WTE-type printing presses in the US. There are about 11 of them in the world.
  5. The managing editor assigns individual reporters to specific “beats” (e.g., education, sports, features).
  6. The WTE printing press also prints other regional papers, such as the Laramie Boomerang and The Greeley Tribune (in Greeley Colorado).
  7. The printing press and the editors/reporters are seemingly working 24 hours a day to keep the news cycle going.
  8. The WTE keeps an archival library of every daily WTE newspaper that has been printed.
  9. The WTE prints their own newspaper as well as flyers, advertisements, and other paid media materials.
  10. The printing press speed was impressive.

Multimedia: Editing in Photoshop and Top Cheyenne Photos

Editing in Photoshop

While we will use Photoshop during class, if you do not have access off-campus to Photoshop, then consider using Google’s free photo editing software, Picasa, or another popular open-sourced application, GIMP.  Any others?

Cropping: Crop to ensure that only one clear subject exists. You can crop to ensure the photo fits a certain aspect ratio (e.g., 150 pixels height by 350 pixels width). The Crop tool is located on the toolbar.

Resizing: Sometimes, you’ll need to resize your photo in order to make it fit a certain area. You can go to Image –> Image Size. There is an option to keep the constrain proportions option checked.

Image Adjustments: Go to Image –> Adjustments and you’ll find several options. My favorites are Brightness/Contrast, Levels, and Color Balance. Play around with them to get the look you want to achieve, without over-doing it and changing the essence of the photo. You can also make an image Black and White here.

Dodge/Burn: The Dodge Tool looks like a lollipop icon in the toolbar and can be used to lighten specific areas of your photo. Right-click on the Dodge Tool and you’ll find a Burn Tool to darken areas of the photo. This tool is appropriate for photojournalists to improve the lightness of a specific part of a photo. However, be sure not to go too far with this tool and alter the photo completely.

Clone Stamp: The Clone Stamp looks like a stamp icon in the toolbar and can be used to clone a specific area of the photo. You can then paste the cloned area to another part of the photo. This is not a very appropriate tool for photojournalists because you may clone a person or object into the photo, which is not a good idea. It may be helpful if you plan on going into strategic communication though.

Spot Healing Brush: This looks like a BandAid. It can correct small blemishes in your photo, such as stains on shirts, red eye, and strange light reflections. For photojournalism, the use of this tool is not recommended unless your editor gives you permission. Otherwise, this tool is useful for cleaning up portraits and creating strategic communication visuals.

Resolution: Publishing photos for the web is different than publishing photos for printing. You don’t need as large of an image resolution for the web. Therefore, when saving your edited photo in Photoshop, go to File –> Save for Web & Devices. You have the option of choosing a resolution that is appropriate for the web. It doesn’t need to be more than 72 pixels per inch.

Just because you can edit your photos, doesn’t mean that you should. If you’re engaging in photoJOURNALISM, You want to capture the photo in a way that does not require editing. However, if you do edit, be sure you follow good common sense and do not go past the ethical boundaries of photojournalism.


Let’s download and post our 5-10 favorite Cheyenne Photos. Feel free to use your Flickr account and make a slideshow, or you can just post 5-10 photos to your blog.

Media Literacy

News and Entertainment Use (see handout)

— Survey —

— Discussion of Survey Results in Groups of 2: What are your reactions? How can we improve this? —

Activity: Determining News from Opinion and Entertainment

Nowadays, there are so many media options, it’s hard to keep track of them. Let’s make a list of news outlets, opinion outlets, and entertainment outlets.

Questions to consider:

  • What makes a media outlet or media message categorized as “news”? as “opinion”? as “entertainment”?
  • Can a media message still be considered news if it is bias or slanted toward one opinion?
  • Are all media outlets either liberal or conservative slanted? What is Fox News? MSNBC? CNN? Your local newspaper or TV station? What is HuffPost? NPR? The New York Times?
  • Let’s go to these websites and see how issues and stories are framed.
  • Can entertainment be considered “news” if it informs people and makes people laugh at the same time?

News, Opinion, or Entertainment? Which one? Let’s look at some trending news stories on popular news websites and see if we can tell.

Your turn. Now go online and find the articles that represent the following:

  1. Straight, balanced hard news
  2. Slanted, opinionated hard news
  3. Entertaining news
  4. Pure entertainment

Class Discussion & Blog Post: News & Entertainment Use

  1. Current Events News Quiz: How well or poorly did you do? How do you feel about that?
  2. Analyze your News and Entertainment Use: When you see your survey results on paper, how do you feel?
  3. Your News Diet
    • What is news to you?
    • Name what sources you get your news from. Why do you use these news sources? Why do you trust your news sources? Is the news you consume slanted or bias in any way?
    • How often do you talk to other people about the news? Who do you talk to? What do you talk about?
    • What improvements to your news diet can you make?
  4. Your Entertainment Diet
    • What are your favorite entertainment sources? For example, TV shows, websites, movies, books, gaming, etc. Why do you use these entertainment sources?
    • How much time do you spend with entertainment? Does it interfere with other aspects of your life, like your social life or academic life?
    • To what extent do your parents regulate your exposure to entertainment? Are they more lenient now than in the past because you’re in high school now?


— My Thoughts —

Young people need to know what is going on in the greater world around them. Being more aware of news around the world, nation, state, and local community makes you a more informed, well-rounded, intelligent, and understanding person. It also improves your grades in school and gives you a better chance at getting a good job.

Vedauwoo HSI 2016

Our Class Vedauwoo Trip




Top 10 Vedauwoo


Top 10 in Vedauwoo


Top 10 Vedauwoo


Vedauwoo June 2016

HSI, Day 4: Vedauwoo Photos, Flickr Slideshow, Current Events Quiz


10 Best Photos of Vedauwoo

Work in Groups of 2 and go through your photos. Together, discuss which of your photos can make your Top 10 Best Photos of Vedauwoo blog post.

You have 15 minutes per partner.

After the 30 minutes is up, we will create our Flickr accounts to showcase your photos online.

Flickr Setup

Let’s set up our Flickr accounts so we can upload our top 10 photos to a Vedauwoo Slideshow! This way, you can share your HSI experience with everyone using your photos.

Check out my HSI 2014 Album on Flickr!

Flickr Showcase

As a class, we will review each person’s top 10 photos. Then, we will vote on the top 3 winners.


Media Literacy

Keeping Current (see handout)

— Current Events News Quiz —

— Discussion of Quiz Results in Groups of 2: What are your reactions? How can we improve this? —

HSI, Day 2: Photography Basics & Critical Thinking About Your Online Identity


Blogging Workshop

— Finish Blogging Workshop, if needed —

Document Your HSI Experience with Photography

We will go on three field trips during this class: Vedauwoo, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, and the Snowy Range Mountains. At each field trip, I want you to take as many photos as you can that use the creative devices and strategies that we learn today.

During class, we will edit our photos in Photoshop and you will share your HSI photography and memories on your blog.

You are not allowed to use your phones during HSI unless you are in my class. And, you are only allowed to use your phones for class-related activities. No Snapchating your friends back home!

Let’s get started with how to take better photos using Creative Devices.

How to Take Better Photos Using Creative Devices for Composition

Good photography begins with understanding basic composition and design principles. Here’s some easy ways to improve your shots.

  1. Steady Does It: Hold the camera steady by digging your elbows into your chest, placing your elbows on something, using two hands, or leaning against a wall.
  2. Move Around and Get Closer: You need to constantly be moving around to get a variety of good shots. Go on your stomach, your knees, a ladder, or chair. Change your position and your angle. Don’t be afraid to get very close to your subjects.
  3. Use Vertical Shots: Don’t always shoot horizontals, be sure you use vertical shots as well.
  4. Pick A Focal Point: The automatic focus on point-and-shoot does a good job at focusing on what you desire, but it is sometimes limiting to work with. So, when you want to focus on something very close and want to blur the background, you can use the “macro” function on your camera (if it has one).
  5. Light: Natural light provided by the sun is the best light to shoot in. If there is bright sunlight and you’re shooting people who are facing the sun, they may squint and shadows may be cast on their faces. Be sure to avoid those shadows by moving around to find the best angle. If there is bright sunlight and people have the sun behind them, their faces will be dark. You can compensate by using a flash. Noon and mid-day sunlight is typically bad sunlight for photography. Sunrise and sunrise light is better. But, partly sunny days provide the best light because it is much softer.
  6. Look Around: Are there any objects protruding from any subjects’ heads? Like a tree or pole in the distance? Are there any potential “photo bombs” around that will draw your attention away from the main subject?

Now for the Top 10 Composition Tips as outlined by Photography Mad (No. 1-10), as well as four more suggestions of my own.

  1. Rule of Thirds: Example
  2. Balancing Elements: Example
  3. Leading Lines: Example
  4. Symmetry and Patterns: Example
  5. Viewpoint: Example
  6. Background: Example
  7. Create Depth: Example
  8. Framing: Example
  9. Cropping (Note: This does not refer to cropping in Photoshop; this refers to compositional cropping when you take the photo): Example
  10. Color: Example
  11. Texture: Example
  12. Establishing Size: Example
  13. Contrast: Example
  14. Focus: Example

Let’s take a look at my photos here and you tell me your thoughts on creative devices that I used.

Now that you know how to take better photos, you can avoid cutting people’s heads off and having poles or trees stick out of people’s heads!

It takes 100 photos to get about 5 great photos. The point: TAKE A LOT OF PHOTOS!

Video is different. Strive to take 20-30 seconds of video. Don’t walk around or move the camera while taking video. Stay still and pan (move side to side). Always take video in horizontal (landscape) format.

Activity: Photo Practice

Let’s practice our photography skills around campus. Here’s a list of things to photograph this morning. Be sure you can tell me what creative device you used!

Our goal: Take 50 photos in 15 minutes. Work fast!

  1. The inside or outside of the Geological Museum
  2. The enormity of Prexy’s Pasture
  3. An extreme close-up photo of something in Prexy’s Pasture
  4. A flower, tree, or animal
  5. Your HSI friend and/or instructor
  6. Climb on top of an object (preferably, a steady object) and take a photo from up above
  7. Something that has made you happy at HSI
  8. A physical object that can be interpreted as the first letter of your first name
  9. Get on your belly on the ground somewhere and take a photo

Activity: Photo Reflection Blog Post

Let’s discuss your photos. What did you take photos of? What did you learn about photography?

Now, in your blog post, post your five best photos. For each photo, please explain what creative devices are used in the photo.

Write a paragraph about you learned about photography.


Media Literacy

Activity: Survey on Social Media Privacy and Expression (see handout)

— Take Survey —

— Discuss Results in Groups of 2 —

Class Discussion & Blog Post: Your Online Identity

Activity: Interactive on How Teens Share Information on Social Media

Our first discussion topic today revolves around your online identity. Check out this visual data about what teens are doing online.

More information about social media and teens in 2015.

Important note: There are no right or wrong answers to the blog post questions and discussion. In fact, more diversity in the class’s opinions is actually helpful. We get to learn more when people share their unique and genuine opinions.

Let’s write a blog post about these questions and discuss them as a class. Please answer:

  • How does your own online behavior compare to the data that we just examined?
  • How many limits do your parents put on your online identity and internet time?
  • How do you think your online identity should look for college? For when you want to get a job?
  • What privacy concerns exist for you and potential college admissions officers and employers?
  • Is it right for a college or employer to reject/fire you based on your online identity?

— My Thoughts —

Be proud of whatever you write on your blog and whatever you share online. You do not want to regret something in the future. Remember, if it’s posted online, it’s there F O R E V E R!

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