Departments: Media Studies
"Media education is not about learning the right answers; it's about viewing media images with an active, critically autonomous mind and asking the right questions, so as to enable citizens to be able to counter the potential abuses of power posed by organisations with so much power, influence and financial backing." (UNESCO 2008)
In the light of the exponential growth in media content and technologies we are all exposed to in the Twenty First Century, it is important for students to become aware of the potential effects of their media consumption habits, and to be able to deal with the bombardment of information in a way which is mature, critically autonomous, and able to resist the subtle pressures being exerted on them from all quarters. As such, the Media department is unusual in its teaching methodology in that it doesn't seek to give students ready-made answers, but equip them with a range of critical tools with which to deal with any text they come across. The teacher's role is to facilitate the questioning process, and the student's role is to use whatever tools they feel are most appropriate to question the intentions behind texts and techniques. Students therefore need to be prepared to venture answers, share them with the class, and collaborate with others to make sure their ideas are water-tight.
Ironically, the media's portrayal of Media Studies qualifications as "Mickey Mouse" and "lacking rigour" is very much one which reflects the way in which these media institutions view themselves as "knowing better", a patriarchal approach which students are trained to interrogate. The department provides a range of courses which involve individual analytical thought, interrogation, argument, and backing up with rigorous reference to examples, skills which should stand students in strong stead for the changing world of work they will be entering. The ability to dissect media texts and offer explanations of their intentions, audience responses, and the techniques used to elicit these is a key component of the academic side of the department, and a cornerstone upon which students can build their own creative ideas.
The second major element of the courses on offer is practical. Once students can identify the codes and conventions of a range of media texts, they can then begin to conceive creative pieces of their own which follow or even subvert the established rules of genre. Students are encouraged to approach creative projects by developing their ideas along unusual lines of enquiry, by viewing the world around them from a range of angles and viewpoints, in order to create a portfolio of ideas which are original. They are then taught the discipline to work their ideas through thoroughly, from conception to final product, and to evaluate their work critically, always thinking about what they could have done better. Two important cliches are held as truisms within the Media Department:\
"Creativity is 1% inspiration followed by 99% perspiration."
"Projects are never completed, they are merely taken away from the creator."
At KS4, the department currently offers:
In the Sixth Form, we currently offer three courses:
The department's facilities are all industry standard - Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, Dreamweaver, Soundbooth, After Effects and Encore, and we operate on a mix of PC and iMac platforms, as well as using the latest iPad technologies as part of the curriculum.
If you are a parent of a media student and would like to know how you might be able to help them with their course, click here.
For some useful media related links, click here.
Media software tutorials
Tutorials are available by visiting SugarSync. Please log on using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org and the password 'Finham1'.
Proceed to "Magic Briefcase" in the sidebar on the left, then "Video Tutorials", where you will find folders with individual video tutorials to all of the hardware and software used within the Media Department. Work through them in your own time, at your own pace, but don't settle for anything less than mastery. Some programmes have many different tutorials as they are more complex, others have fewer and only offer the basics, but more are to follow.
Subject leader: Mr Gunn