At Redmoor students are able to opt for GCSE Media Studies. Media is the collective term given to the following areas of mass communication: film, television, radio, the internet, newspapers, magazines and the games industry and general promotion and marketing.
We live in a media-saturated world in which we are bombarded with messages every hour of the day. We all use the media; for information, education, social interaction, convenience and, above all, entertainment. The media, in many respects, is replacing family, religion and education as the means by which we identify ourselves, our beliefs and our sense of right and wrong. It is important, therefore, that we understand how the media works. We must become media-literate in order to appreciate, be critical of and evaluate the messages to which we are exposed. Being media-literate means ‘reading between the lines’. In particular, students will be encouraged to investigate who is behind the messages conveyed by the media and to understand (in order to enjoy or resist) the influence of advertising, broadcasting and mass communication through the internet.
Media students soon develop investigative, critical thinking and decision-making skills through the consideration of issues that are important, real and relevant in our modern society. Furthermore, the practical element of the course helps the development of creative skills as well as time-management and team work.
Though often perceived as a ‘new-fangled’ GCSE, Media Studies has developed in response to the society in which we now live, which is a world apart from that in which formal qualifications were first devised. Regarding the way we spend our leisure time, keep ourselves informed of current affairs, shop and keep in touch with friends and colleagues, our society is almost unrecognisable from that of twenty years ago. Though not traditionally seen as essential for employment, we have a duty to prepare students for careers in fields which have yet to be conceived and invented. Media Studies can do just that.
The course entails a mixture of exam and controlled assessment. The exam questions are based on a pre-released topic known to schools several months prior to the exam and a brief released 4 weeks in advance of the exam. The controlled assessment element consists of three separate assignments. Topics might include an analysis and original design of print advertisements or web pages, a comparison of the news presentation across different formats such as TV, radio and the internet, the study and design of promotional methods to launch a new game, the production and analysis of several pages of a magazine or newspaper, a storyboard for a music video or an advertising campaign for a film.
Though there is a practical element to the course, most of the students’ knowledge and understanding is conveyed through formal written assignments and examinations. Therefore, it is essential that students’ have good literacy skills and stamina for writing. Media Studies also suits those with an interest in design, film, photography and new technologies.
Students are expected to become media sponges; reading, watching, listening and researching widely – involving TV programmes, films, radio stations, websites and magazines/newspapers you wouldn’t normally choose. Those who do best in this course are those who are willing to enter the world of adult current affairs. Ultimately, studying the media helps to develop debating skills; there’s lots of cross over with English and Morals and Ethics and many of the skills which lead to success in Design and ICT also contribute to successful practical projects in Media Studies.