EC&I 831: Belatedly addressing new media literacies

NOTE: I apologize in advance to my three faithful readers, you will have to excuse my disjointed writing in this post. This blog was written in four separate chunks over four separate evenings during the past two weeks. Having a seven month old recovering from hernia surgery kind of throws the late evening productivity out of whack…

As I sat down tonight to attempt to find time to view this week’s EC&I 831 elluminate session on Remixing Education I realized that I still hadn’t responded to last week’s session on Understanding Social Media. I really enjoyed this session; it reminded me of the UBC Okanagan Summer Institute class that Alec put on. It was that course that really got me rolling on my masters project and got me into EC&I 831 in the first place.

Alec’s big question for us to consider after this session was “What are the new media literacies, and how should teachers and/or schools address these?”  After considering this question and watching this video I found myself reassessing some of my views on this topic. Perhaps the most important idea I latched onto was the idea that people, and students in particular, are now playing important roles as producers of media, rather than simply acting as consumers of media. As a Social Studies teacher, I have always taught students skills to analyze various forms of media for bias, accuracy, etc. These skills will continue to be important to students as they continue to learn how to derive meaning from all forms of media, be it media created by multinational corporations or their Facebook friends. However, I now feel that it is equally as important that students learn more about their roles as media producers.

Students need to be aware of both the new powers and responsibilities that they have as producers of media.  I say powers because evidence of the impact that individual media producers can have arrives almost daily, be it in the form of an athlete breaking news or in the form of mass political protest. And I say responsibilities because students, and Canadian politicians apparently, need to be fully aware of the impact that media of their own creation can have on themselves and others.  We cannot expect students to learn the about the dangers of “sexting” or posting unauthorized videos on Youtube or Facebook by simply banning these mediums in schools. These new media literacies need to be taught in schools, the question now is whether or not the powers that be will agree.

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2 responses to “EC&I 831: Belatedly addressing new media literacies

  1. I like the concept of teaching students to be aware of what they publish, not just what other people publish. Thanks for the insight!

  2. I agree with the shift in mindset. You are correct by pointing out that many people have the ability to produce along with consume. Students need to be literate as both consumers and producers. They need to understand both, I guess the question is at what age do we engage in this discussion? Where is the provincial curriculum in technology? I believe elementary curriculum mainly focuses on integrated technology, however, more guidance may be needed. At what age do we talk about ‘offensive’ material? At what age do we pull all the stops and rely on good decision making? At what stage are teachers and youth ready to engage in these discussions? Where is the support? Where are the resources? Like all things, I believe time will work these questions out. I don’t believe that the powers that be will have a choice!! Thank you, Bettina

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