Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Media Literacy Community

#medialiteracy on Twitter, NAMLE, MakingCurriculum Pop, and Facebook seem to be pretty good places to discuss education and many other ideas. However, I know of no Google+ presence revolved around media literacy. I wonder if I can cultivate a small network of teachers, researchers, and interested people oriented around Media Literacy on Google’s social networking platform? I think it would be great to also have homeschooling educators, parents, and even students too!

What is media literacy? 

I love these points below which are posted on the National Association for Media Literacy Education website. While they are helpful to better understanding the field, the definition of media literacy is by no means final or secured. 
  • Media refers to all electronic or digital means and print or artistic visuals used to transmit messages.
  • Literacy is the ability to encode and decode symbols and to synthesize and analyze messages.
  • Media literacy is the ability to encode and decode the symbols transmitted via media and the ability to synthesize, analyze and produce mediated messages.
  • Media education is the study of media, including ‘hands on’ experiences and media production.
  • Media literacy education is the educational field dedicated to teaching the skills associated with media literacy.

I have created the community on G+ and started actively working with it about a week ago. The image above is the icon for the group, and I am hoping to build a network of interested people who have things to say or who are just curious about what is being said. The purpose of a G+ community in my mind is not necessarily about gathering cool content, as it is an opportunity to ask questions, share ideas, and engage with others about important issues. Since I am obviously no expert of media literacy, I don't expect to be teaching or handing information to others in a didactic fashion. Rather I see this group as a chance to expand what I am reading and learning about, especially as I begin teaching grade school this fall. 

I am currently reading Media Literacy Is Elementary by Jaff Share. Near the beginning of the book he states, "We live in a multimedia age where the majority of information people receive comes less often from print sources and more typically from highly constructed visual images, complex sound arrangements, and multiple media formats." We spend a great deal of time teaching youngsters to learn how to spell, write, make arguments in essays, and so forth -but how often do we help them understand or deconstruct advertisements, films, and other forms of pop culture? If this is what they are consuming all the time, shouldn't we try and help them better understand these "highly constructed" media messages? I am all for kids reading, I think that is one of the most important activities they can do. In fact I think reading and becoming acquainted with good literature can help students understand issues of technology and media better than almost anything else. However, in our media drenched world where people are getting information in other ways we need to adjust our teaching to include more forms of media than the written word. 

Media literacy should be a very important part of every student's educational experience, at least to some degree. Please Join me and the Media Literacy Community and share the group with your friends.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that we need to teach children earlier and earlier about the methods used in the media to persuade us. I do a short unit in high school about the persuasive appeals and use advertisements to show them how they are being manipulated, but that's not enough and probably too late. This is an excellent endeavor. I'd love to see where you take this!