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Media literacy and video technology: Educational and motivational tools to empower African-American males in special education

, Teachers College, Columbia University, United States

Teachers College, Columbia University . Awarded


A common practice in the American school system is to track students into special education with no or little attempt to bring them back into mainstream education (Richardson, 1995). As numerous reports and studies have shown nationwide, those tracked in these programs are disproportionately African-American and Latino males (U.S. Department of Education, 1993). The focus of this study, then, was to show that African-American males, especially those in special education, have just as much learning potential as any other student if they are inspired by a motivating curriculum.

A media literacy and video production curriculum was designed to evaluate technical and factual knowledge, critical viewing skills and motivation. Students were evaluated using results from the pre-test and post-test, QSL measure, self assessment survey, outside evaluation of student video projects and time-on-task observations.

The results of the study showed media literacy did not have an overwhelming influence on critical viewing skills. However, students, particularly African-American males, were motivated and inspired by the video instruction component of the curriculum. Based on their responses to the student assessment, students enjoyed the course and wanted to learn more about video instruction. Moreover, the study showed an overwhelming increase in factual knowledge and technical skills for students in special education, especially African-American males.

Based on the students' responses, video instruction was a successful motivational tool to empower students in special education to learn factual knowledge and technical skills. In addition, video instruction exposed students to a variety of marketable job related skills. Besides piquing their interest in jobs such as camera operator and director, students learned to work cooperatively with one another to develop ideas and video projects.


Harts, M.L. Media literacy and video technology: Educational and motivational tools to empower African-American males in special education. Ph.D. thesis, Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved July 29, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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