Welcome to the first post on my new blog! In this blog I will be explaining the importance of Digital and Media Literacy in the Elementary School Artroom. This first post will cover the basics: What is Digital and Media Literacy and who is responsible for educating students about it.
What is Media Literacy?
Scheibe and Rogow (2012) describe Media Literacy as a collection of skills surrounding the absorption, processing, and reflecting on media experiences, their outlined skills are as follows…
I understand it as basically an individual's ability to understand the entirety of a media resource from its intended message to who is creating it and why. I also understand it as a person's ability to effectively use the media and internet at its highest function and accuracy.
Who is responsible for educating students about Media Literacy?
Just the other day I watched a TedX Talk by Andrea Quijada (link below) who spoke about the importance of Media Literacy and even a little bit about how she got into being a media literacy educator. The short story she told was insightful, basically her mother and father would deconstruct the meanings and intents of commercials as they were watching them. It had me thinking about this question again...Who is responsible for educating our youth about media literacy? For Andrea it was her parents that originally educated her about the dangers of media and how to appropriately use and decode it but I feel like this isn't that common.
As a millenial and only child I was often the one who used technology the most and was the most adept with it. It was almost unfair that I was I was so much more fluent than my parents because it made it hard for them to offer advice, guidance, and restrictions when they didn't fully understand the implications themselves. In Andrea’s case it was her parents that began her media literacy training and I find that very impressive since it didn't start till much later for me. I first began to understand and process media literacy when I began showing an interest in visual art and design. In art history we view and question artworks very similar to the way students should be viewing media resources, by analyzing them and asking questions like “who made it”, “why”, “who paid for it”, and “who is the intended audience”.
Once I had the ability to deconstruct and decode artwork it was an easy transition to other media such as commercials, ads, and movies. This skill was only enhanced when I pursued a BFA in Art Education and was introduced to Visual Media Literacy as a way of decoding all things visual art and design from paintings to dance to architecture. So in my own life it was my art teachers who inevitably introduced and educated me about media literacy but I have a feeling that will change.
The question doesn't have an obvious and single answer, for me it was my art teachers and for Andrea it was her parents. I will say that seeing some of my friends and fellow tech savvy millennials beginning to have kids does make me feel like the next generation of kids will have parents that grew up learning about media literacy and will have a much better grasp of media and technology than my parents did. I would have to say its a group effort but it should certainly start at home and at an early age. As a teacher myself it's clear that even the new educators entering the field will be better equipped to handle the changing media and educator our young students on good habits and add to their toolbelt.
I will end each blog post with a question…
Who in your life started educating you about media literacy? Or atleast began to inform you that there is more than just meets the eye?
I will also offer resources and citations for what I’ve talked about!
Scheibe, C. L., & Rogow, F. (2012). The teacher’s guide to media literacy : critical thinking in a multimedia world. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com