Making It for the Screen: Creating Digital Media Literacy

Making It for the Screen: Creating Digital Media Literacy

Paul Chilsen
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8205-4.ch011
(Individual Chapters)
No Current Special Offers


We are immersed in a culture of spoken media, written media, and now irrevocably, digital screen media. Just as writing and speaking skills are keys to functioning in society, we must consider that the world increasingly demands proficiency in “mediating” as well. Doing anything less leaves this powerful medium in the hands of a relative few. By offering instruction in what digital screen media is, how it is effectively created, how the Internet continues to alter communication, and how this all informs everyday teaching and learning, digital media literacy can become more broadly understood and accessible. This chapter follows a program developed by the Rosebud Institute and looks at how—using simple, accessible technology—people can become more digital media literate by creating screen products themselves. The creation process also enables deeper, more authentic learning, allowing us all to communicate more effectively, to self-assess more reflectively, and to thrive in a screen-based world.
Chapter Preview

Digital Media: Literacy On Screen

You may well be reading this text on paper, but it remains increasingly likely that you are reading some or all of it on a screen right now. In many cases, as you read this chapter, it seems not that big of an issue. After all, it is simply words on a page and the medium of delivery may not be all that crucial. Inverting the classic phrase of communication scholar Marshall McLuhan for a moment, the medium does not really seem to alter or affect the message all that much in this particular case.

However, with the tectonic media shift in which we find ourselves, the lines we think we know, and think we can count on, seem to be blurring. The myriad machinations and goings on in our convergent media world, while a fascinating and rich topic, understandably extend beyond the scope of this chapter. Rather the focus here is to look more at what we are doing now. Now that the explosive growth and pervasive penetration of new media is upon us, are we doing the best that we can to get a firmer grip on the reins? The wave of buying and handing out expensive devices designed to merely access the conversation continues to grow and swell, threatening to eat up shrinking resources. In light of that, what are steps that can be taken to move beyond the latest techno wizardry and instead convey real skills that allow more people to effectively join in, to make clear meaning, and to affect the change they seek?

One way is to take a step back – get back to basics a bit and begin to give people some simple tools that they can use to more effectively be a part of the burgeoning world of what is happening on screens around the world. Yet another related approach is to seek out existing resources and systems that are already in place, but are ripe for innovation, change and a refreshed perspective. As mentioned, you may be looking at a screen right now but if not, you have probably looked at one if not several already today and most certainly – unless you make a concerted effort to the contrary – you will be bombarded with screen images all day, telling you what to do, what to think, what to like – even what to say.

And that trend continues to grow with abandon. As Eva and John Waterworth state in their discussions on mediated presence “Our everyday lives are more and more pervasively experienced through media… There are very few places where one is out of reach of [these] devices…” (Waterworth & Waterworth, 2010)

This ever-expanding world of screen-based electronic media encompasses such an understandably and incredibly broad array of media types, paradigms, and histories that even finding a name or term to refer to it all can prove difficult. Under the auspices of the

Rosebud Institute, introduced in the next section, we have used the term broader term ‘digital media’ as well as the more specific ‘screen media’. These terms work somewhat interchangeably to describe media specifically produced, created for, and unfolding on the screen yet are general enough to encompass a broad array of different media, both moving (film, video, television, and gaming) as well as those which are generally more static (websites, social media, blogs). As mentioned, this chapter has a necessarily refined scope. It looks at a very practical and doable approach that is giving people a baseline way to become more active and informed members of a screen media world. Interestingly, it is in this more simple approach that the potential becomes highly expansive, giving people the tools to literally go wherever they want, much like the effect of teaching a person to write or to read.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Divide: Originally a term to define the gap between those who have access to internet and related computer technologies and those who do not.

Digital Immigrant: A person born before the existence or current pervasive nature of digital technologies who is not naturally familiar or instinctively comfortable and therefore must adapt to using digital technology, interfaces, and software.

Digital Media Literacy: The acquired ability to understand, access, evaluate, and analyze types and avenues of information created online or with available software and hardware to communicate and participate in civic life as competent media consumer, contributor, and creator of media in the online community.

eFolio (Also ePortfolio): A website created for or by an individual, that manages their digital assets and online presence, communicating learning or professional progress, which continues to change as long as its creator continues to develop and refine the content to reflect current experience, skill, and/or career focus.

Media Convergence: The natural, continual, accelerating evolution of technology resulting in a more integrated, inescapable coming together of multiple avenues of information, entertainment and online communication.

Digital Native: A person who is indigenous to the digital world, has grown up with and uses a wide variety of available and continually evolving technology with an inborn, instinctive sense of how to communicate, record, understand and share in society.

Screen Media: Any media that is produced for or distributed via the screen, including the entire spectrum of what constitutes ‘the screen’: the cinematic screen, the television screen, the computer screen, and the small screens accessed on a smartphones and other handheld devices.

Mediate: To create original work for and effectively communicate through the technology, tools, and language of the screen.

Digital Asset: An originally created piece of work that has been imported or converted into digital format and therefore can be deployed in any number of digital media. Digital assets can include but are not limited to: photos, videos, music, blog entries, podcasts, files, résumés, and/or any other work created in an academic setting.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: