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It turns out that in a newly redesigned A-Level Media Studies course, pupils will have to engage with new media and submit some coursework in the form of websites, blogs, podcasts, or DVDs – all of which are relatively challenging media, and all of which are highly relevant to the new media world.
The coursework that has to come in this form is an analysis of the bigger coursework project which makes this even more of a challenge: They effectively have to put across a commentary on their work in an engaging, new media way. I’d rate that as a much greater challenge than a simple commentary essay.
As with anything remotely new, though, the Daily Mail doesn’t like it. It claims that such methods fail in certain areas:
Students must be able to concentrate for more than five minutes and produce a piece of work on their own.
They must be able to put arguments together and put a series of linking paragraphs together which express and develop an idea.
Well, certainly such projects will take far more than five minutes’ concentration, and will require the construction of detailed, engaging arguments about their idea. If doing this through a website or blog, then linked paragraphs will be necessary, and if doing it through a podcast or DVD, a clear script will be required – in many ways, more challenging.
The Daily Mail goes on to suggest that this new coursework requirement means that students will no longer need to be literate. Quite how it expects them to pass their written exams if they can’t form comprehensive and detailed written arguments and analyses is not mentioned.
And, as the Daily Mail should know, it’s impossible to produce a podcast using an iPod, so it’s hardly ‘The iPod A-level’. Oh, except, maybe they don’t know that, because unlike the Guardian, Telegraph, or the Times, it doesn’t publish podcasts. And it only launched a proper website in 2004. And in 2005, it’s editor said that giving away free CDs and DVDs was ‘madness’. So maybe the journalists just feel a bit threatened by young talent.