The Sgt. Pepper Sprayer Story

The crux of Course 3 has been about the message – how to best use design and technology to get the message across.  It’s also been about gaining awareness of how the message reflects the values of the people sending it and how advertising and media can skew the message in one way or another.

"Christina's World" by Andrew Wyeth edited by Brady Hall via Pepper Spraying Cop Tumblr

The story of Sgt. Pepper (Lt. John Pike, U.C. Davis campus police officer) may have been just another Occupy Wall Street news clip if  Pepper Spraying Cop (warning: comments inappropriate for school use) hadn’t been created.  The power of Pepper Spraying Cop is in the visual and satirical representation of the pepper spraying event, but it’s also in the collaboration of the community via the web.  Across the States people are contributing their own mash-ups to the cause.

This week in Digital Photography (grades 7-8) we are going to take some time to discuss the outbreak of Pepper Spraying Cop via Tumblr and numerous other media outlets (i.e. Huffington Post, The Washington Post) .  Students have been learning about the use of Creative Commons and dabbling in Photoshop for the past couple weeks.  I’m looking forward to hearing their perspectives and reactions to how this all applies to the ‘real world’.  I’m not expecting that many are too familiar with the OWS movement, but from the images they’ll be able to infer some of the main issues.  We will use some of the strategies from Visual Thinking and questions from The Visual Literacy White Paper to help with this visual literacy lesson.   Hopefully students will connect the work they are doing in class with the potential for raising awareness and affecting change (or at least decide they’d like to attempt their own rendition of Pepper Spraying Cop).

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3 Responses to The Sgt. Pepper Sprayer Story

  1. Avatar of Daniel Bench Daniel Bench says:

    As a social studies teacher, I really appreciate your use of current events across the world. Your image analysis and social media investigation of the Pepper Spraying Cop incident opens such a door to so many underlying issues that will produce a unique learning moment for your students.
    I’ve been reading a presentation about how connectivity between people is opening up many ways to create meaning. In the presentation by Stephen Downes titled Connectivism and Transculturality (PowerPoint on Slide Share), he discusses about how people’s connection with each other inevitably produces products. Sociologically, any idea or object created can be considered ‘culture’.
    Having your students investigate and analyze people’s social media products and their underlying viewpoints about this particular situation is clearly representing the connective process. Not only that, by encouraging your students to create something from this connectivity shows a contribution to the culture in which your students reside. Something that transpired on an American University campus due to broader national events showcases ‘transculturality’ through your students products. Now the event and all its issues are a accessible to your culture as well.
    If only there was a collaborating teacher willing to take up the issues your image and social media focus is unlocking, there would be so many topics and cognitive opportunities to further your students development. Unfortunately, I have a hunch other teachers’ curricular objectives have no room for such a learning moment.
    Thanks for your lesson’s ideas and thoughts because they really put some meat to the concepts that I have been reading about. I am hoping to do the same sort of process with my Thai Studies students and the flooding situation.

  2. Avatar of Daniel Bench Daniel Bench says:

    The first link’s url didn’t seem to attach, so lets try it again… Connectivism and Transculturality
    My html coding is not that advanced obviously…

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