Movies, TV & Music
Screen Education

Screen Education Winter 2015 (78)

Screen Education is essential reading for those with an interest in media literacy. Produced by educators, scholars and critics, the magazines content is tailored to the primary and secondary classroom, as well as some tertiary-level material, offering a unique and engaging perspective on screen education.

Australian Teachers of Media Incorporated
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4 Issues

In this issue

17 min.
the unsweetened truth a study guide to that sugar film

That Sugar Film (Damon Gameau, 2014) is openly geared towards creating dialogue about our health, food choices and changing ideas about what constitutes ‘healthy eating’. Its title plays on this expectation, anticipating that viewers will continue talking about the documentary after seeing it, and it is presented in a dynamic and entertaining way in order to make it a valuable tool for teaching nutrition and food sciences to middle years and senior students. Moreover, the accessibility of the subject matter opens up opportunities for film analysis and critical thinking whereby students feeling challenged by the message of the film can examine its construction, genre, style and persuasive techniques, assess the success of these features, and weigh them up against the importance and significance of its agenda, pedagogical purpose, and audience…

6 min.
the simpsons and surrealist art

For much of the past two decades, living rooms across Australia have been bathed in the glow of The Simpsons every weeknight at six o’clock (and several times over the weekend). It has become part of not only our collective routine but also family dynamics across the world; earlier this year nearly 2000 Bolivians protested a change in the program’s daily slot. This familiarity means that very little of The Simpsons’cultural weight is not exploited. It seems that almost everything about the twentieth century has been referenced in some way over the show’s twenty-six-year history, making it a veritable goldmine for teachers. A study of surrealism can be enriched by one particular gem from The Simpsons’eighth season, ‘El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)’ TOPIC Surrealism is a…

7 min.
astro boy and the ethics of technology

Beginning in 1952 as a Japanese manga series, Astro Boy has journeyed through time, transforming from a black-and-white animated TV series (1963–1966) to a full-colour, computer-animated 3D action film (David Bowers, 2009). The first Astro Boy TV series was so successful in Japan that it became the first anime series to be broadcast overseas, the English version airing in the United States in 1963. The series was remade in the 1980s in full colour and ran for fifty-two episodes, and it is these with which many teachers will be most familiar. These episodes were an important part of my childhood and those of many others from my generation, for the same timeless reasons that the series still appeals to children today. The protagonist is a child who faces tremendous challenges…

7 min.
the legend of korra and minority representation

It’s not often that we get a female hero headlining a show, and it’s even rarer for such a hero to be a person of colour. But that’s exactly what we get in Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra (TLOK ), a 2010s American cartoon that models its visuals and narrative form on anime. The titular Korra is the latest reincarnation of the Avatar, a powerful figure who can control all four elements in a fictional world where people can ‘bend’ only one or none at all. Throughout the show, we watch as Korra masters water, earth, fire and air (along with other skills, in the process), and clashes with opponents including the Equalists (who wish to ‘cleanse’ the world of bending), a Dark Avatar and several villainous bending masters. TOPIC Through TLOK,…

5 min.
danger mouse and comedy

The best children’s television always had an air of barely restrained anarchy. Such was the case with British spy pastiche Danger Mouse. Created by legendary animation house Cosgrove Hall Productions from 1981 to 1992, the show’s 161 episodes (ranging in length from five minutes to half an hour) always felt gloriously out of place alongside the dominant, largely American cartoon fodder. Unlike the platitudinous Hanna-Barbera shows or the merchandise-spruiking He-Man or Transformers, Danger Mouse was irreverent, inventive and frequently laugh-out-loud funny. It didn’t hurt that both the titular character and the narrator were voiced by the great David Jason (also known to a generation of kids as Count Duckula and Toad of Toad Hall). The show’s continuing appeal owes much to the fact that this is one of those rare…

7 min.
wandering son and gender identity

Based on Takako Shimura’s manga, the first to be included in the American Library Association’s Rainbow List (of books recommended for LGBT teens), Wandering Son introduces, to quote the series’ English-language publisher, Nitori, ‘a boy who wants to be a girl’, and Takatsuki, ‘a girl who wants to be a boy’. The series’ beginning is awash with the delicate pink hues that are so characteristic of spring in Japan; the cherry blossom is symbolic of change and transience in Japanese culture and here signals the arrival of the transformation that Nitori and Takatsuki are about to undertake. The main plot revolves around fairly typical school scenarios: a love triangle, between Nitori, Takatsuki and Chiba, a cisgender girl who has feelings for Nitori; their school’s annual cultural festival; and, unsurprisingly, the…