Friday, March 17, 2017

DIgital Posters and Social Media Revolutions Then and Now

One of my students made this poster for a proganda and protestantism mini-unit. This young man's poster is a Counter-Reformation response to Luther's Reformation. For the past week, I've been teaching about the Protestant Reformation to my 9th grade history class. This 500 year old intra-Christian debate that has been and the heart of religious strife up to this day is remote to my largely a-religious group of students. I've been emphasizing the revolutionary aspects of this religious reformation. Among other things, the Protestant Reformation was a social media revolution. We spoke about how woodcuts and the printing press let Protestant propagandists spread their message and that Catholic countered using the same media. After considering more recent propaganda and what makes an effective piece of propaganda, we looked at some of the more famous images of propaganda including the image below.  I then showed students some posters that looked right out of a Depression era poster, but instead they are posters for the Hunger Games series. This, by the way, thanks to Glen Wiebe was my inspiration for this simple assignment.

Most students used Piktochart to make the assignment, though one girl used Google Drawings. By the way, don't use the Piktochart app. It sadly just doesn't work that well. You'll want the full browser version. We spent two days on this assignment particular assignment. We finished with the assignment today and I asked students to share their poster and what message they were trying to send with it.

The project hopefully helps this religious movement and 16th century debate more relevant. The propaganda element forces students to distill their understanding and in that distilling, I think learning occurs. They're not going to remember Zwingli, Menno or Calvin. But I hope and expect they'll remember Luther, his 95 Thesis and how his protest spread so quickly.

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