Media Literacy Education

Media Literacy Education

Natalie Wakefield (McGill University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-206-2.ch006
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Abstract

Media literacy education offers educators a vehicle by which they can promote and foster social responsibility. It prepares students for the technological world in which they are required to be active participants and contributing producers of knowledge. Technology allows students to explore the various methods of communicating their ideas, expertise and opinions with others in a participatory culture; it is therefore important for student to develop analytical skills that will help them create, interact and engage effectively in a socialized network. The challenge for educators is to understand the cultural needs of students in today’s technologically advanced society and to incorporate media literacy programs as an integral part of education. In order to achieve these goals, teachers should be encouraged to attend seminars and hands-on workshops and more importantly, practical resources should be developed and made available for their use in the classroom.
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The Evolution Of Technology And Concepts Of Media Literacy Education

Media literacy is not a new concept but it has been redefined and altered over time. Seymour Papert, a mathematician and educator, first introduced the concept of using computers to teach children in classrooms in the 1960’s. He believed that computers would offer many opportunities for children and could revolutionize the way they learn (Armstrong & Casement, 1998). Over the following few decades, as schools witnessed a decline in student achievement, a new approach of ‘back to the basics’ reemerged, and the computer and its software programs were implemented as a convenient tool to improve student test scores through drill and practice (ibid). In the 1980’s, when the CD-ROM emerged, the computer was recognized as a valuable tool for research and information, and many schools incorporated programs in their curriculum that necessitated the integration of computers into the classroom instead of confining them to the school computer rooms. During the late 1990’s, a new advancement of technology emerged in the form of the Internet, which brought with it a great opportunity for global communication. With this revolutionary tool, schools could no longer teach in the traditional way, as a new form of literacy emerged, and with it the need for a new approach to teaching this technological phenomenon.

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