How can we Improve Media Literacy?
Our focus is on helping everyone, young and old, to develop critical thinking and media production skills needed to live fully in the 21st century media culture. The ultimate goal is to make wise choices possible.
- What is Media literacy for the 21st Century?
- How best to teach media literacy to community members?
The ability to communicate competently in all media forms as well as to access, understand, analyze, evaluate and participate with powerful images, words and sounds that make up our contemporary mass media culture. Indeed, we believe these skills of media literacy are essential for both children and adults as individuals and as citizens of a democratic society.
A key player we will rely on for help with this learning community is The Center for Media Literacy
Their mission is to help children and adults prepare for living and learning in a global media culture by translating media literacy research and theory into practical information, training and educational tools for teachers and youth leaders, parents and caregivers of children.
“We must prepare young people for living in a world of powerful images, words and sounds.” – UNESCO, 1982
The Center for Media Literacy advocates a philosophy of “Empowerment through Education.” This philosophy incorporates three intertwining concepts:
- Media literacy is education for life in a global media world.For 500 years, since the invention of moveable type, we have valued the ability to read and write as the primary means of communicating and understanding history, cultural traditions, political and social philosophy and news of the day. In more recent times, traditional literacy skills ensured that individuals could participate fully as engaged citizens and functioning adults in society.Today families, schools and all community institutions share the responsibility for preparing young people for living and learning in a global culture that is increasingly connected through social media, multi-media and influenced by powerful images, words and sounds.
- The heart of media literacy is informed inquiry.Through a four-step “inquiry” process of Awareness . . . Analysis . . . Reflection . . .Action, media literacy helps young people acquire an empowering set of “navigational” skills which include the ability to:
- Access information from a variety of sources.
- Analyze and explore how messages are “constructed” whether through social media, print, verbal, visual or multi-media.
- Evaluate media’s explicit and implicit messages against one’s own ethical, moral and/or democratic principles.
- Express or create their own messages using a variety of media tools, digital or not.
- Participate in a global media culture.
- Media literacy is an alternative to censoring, boycotting or blaming “the media.”Deeply committed to the First Amendment and freedom of expression, media literacy does not promote partisan agendas or political points of view. The power of media literacy is its ability to inspire independent thinking and foster critical analysis. The ultimate goal of media education is to make wise choices possible.
Embracing this philosophy, the Center for Media Literacy is committed to media education as an essential and empowering life-skill for the 21st Century.