Partner Spotlight: Take Two Media Initiative

When did your organization launch and why?

Kids are living their lives online. We need to equip them with healthy models. Teenagers spend over 7 hours a day outside of school online. Tweens are close behind at 4 hours per day. They are creating content, connecting with their friends and consuming entertainment and news. The Take Two Media Initiative gives K-12 students the tools they need to make, curate and evaluate content as smart citizens of the digital world. We launched our non-profit in 2018 to address the critical lack of media literacy education in schools, and believe the best way to address this issue is by utilizing filmmaking to teach students the benefits of sharing and creating media safely. We believe all kids deserve an opportunity to get a great education and that different kids learn in different ways.

What does your organization do? What are its main goals? Main projects?

Media literacy has never been more important in today’s political environment. Misinformation across the political spectrum is influencing our children’s view of the world from COVID-19 to the Election. By age 18, 88% of young adults regularly get news from Facebook and other social media, but more than half U.S. middle-schoolers cannot distinguish advertising from real news, or fact from fiction.

TTMI has made it our goal to help students understand how to dissect and analyze the stories being told, take responsibility for the content they create and understand the power of validating the content they share.

Our film/media literacy residencies start with two days of media literacy training customized to complement K-12 unit of studies by grade and by learning area. Students learn how to analyze what they’re hearing and seeing to become smarter digital citizens. Then we launch into production. For 10 days, we take over the classroom for 1 hour each day where students write their scripts, shoot their film, and edit their final cuts. Teachers are on hand to help fact checking against their lessons, but other than that, we do all the work! Our residencies culminate in a classroom film festival and community event to watch the films while applying their media literacy skills as a group.

What makes your organization stand out? What would you say is the most unique thing about your organization?

Since 2009, Take Two Film Academy, our for-profit branch, has helped thousands of kids discover their talents and passions using film. This has been possible thanks to a handful of timely grants and the tireless work of many PTAs. But the most vulnerable kids in our societies don’t go to schools with strong PTAs and their schools don’t have access to grant money. These kids, the ones who need innovative education the most, have the least access to it. Together, we can change that.

What are recent projects or new resources that your organization would like to share with other NAMLE members?

Due to Covid-19, we have adapted our lessons to now work remotely whenever necessary. Just recently, we were able to offer three free remote residencies to deserving schools and created a virtual event bringing together thought leaders like Chris Evans, the director of All In and The Social Dilemma, to talk about media literacy and politics.

What are the connections between the work of your organization and media literacy?

We make media literacy central to our work to make sure students are understanding the necessity of creating accurate work they can share in order to educate others.

Why is media literacy important to your organization?

Take Two Media Initiative is dedicated to teaching ALL learners media literacy through in-school workshops and cross-media literacy conversations.

Anything else you want our readers to know about your organization, your mission, or your staff?

Megan Kiefer, the founder of the Take Two Media Initiative, has been teaching filmmaking in NYC since 2009 through The Take Two Film Academy. In every classroom, she noticed how the students transformed from apathetic to excited with the simple addition of video production tools. The students’ eagerness to learn filmmaking seeped into their enthusiasm for science, math and history, because media is the conduit of modern learning. TTMI expands the longtime expert work of the Film Academy by bringing media education to schools that otherwise couldn’t afford it.

The views and opinions expressed in the Organizational Spotlight blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NAMLE or its members. The purpose of the Organizational Spotlight blog is to highlight our Organizational Partners and give them a place to share their reflections, opinions, and ideas.