Media Literacy in the Digital Age

from the blog:

Media itself is being redefined as part of this new landscape of unlimited space and easy entry points to online publishing. In the new information ecosystem, a high responsibility falls on both producers and consumers of information. For consumers, there is endless material – and the challenge is to find the good blogs, videos, essays, news stories and documentaries of our time. Producers, on the other hand, bear responsibility to adhere to high standards of accuracy, diligence and transparency.

According to the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in Democracy, successful participation in the digital age of media requires, in part, “the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create the information products.”

But what should “media literacy” or “digital literacy” entail?

Reboot wants to know what you think of how the Common Core Standards define media literacy.  Please take time to share your feedback!

Breaking Down Barriers in Communication

CC image used courtesy of BookMama

[tweetmeme source=”Strng_Dichotomy” only_single=false]When sharing or communicating information most of us take for granted how easy it is to see the content, hear the audio, or tell another person what we have learned. Most of us never give a second thought to how this simple act might affect people with disabilities trying to disseminate information or share content. Thankfully with advances in technology these limitations no longer pose the hurdles and roadblocks they once did.

Libraries have always been early adapters for this portion of the community to provide access for people with different abilities through assistive technology and staff interaction. The very basic and beginning services such as having a staff member who can communicate through ASL, Braille collections, Braille transcription services, special playback equipment for use with recorded cassettes, books and magazines on recorded cassettes, Audiobooks, descriptive videos (DVS) Large Print materials, Mail-A-Book programs, and request lists for library customers that are accepted by mail, phone, fax, and e-mail. for the homebound are great examples of this.

Technology has started to add to these existing services in ways that we could have only dreamed of 20 or even 2 years ago. Now we have screen readers like JAWS (Job Access With Speech) and the speech function on Gale (listen to an example). Efforts are being taken to create more services like Access Keys for the Omeka archives, creating screencasts, adding closed captioning to videos on Youtube and Vimeo, the use of image services like Flickr and Picasa, and even more innovative devices like the EyeWriter initiative.

Take the time to learn the resources that your library offers this portion of the community and expand upon them. Remember that is our duty to connect people with information and help them convey what they have learned no matter the medium.

Video Diaries Across Borders and Platforms

The Center for Social Media highlights a fascinating project called Havana-Miami. The site features video diaries contrasting people who live in Havana and who live in Miami. This project shows how prevalent working in various media is for students, as The Center for Social Media explains:

These stories about work, family, sports, love, separation and connection appear three times a week on a social networking site that allows users to comment, embed and export videos and upload their own video and photographs. (The site has been receiving 50,000-60,000 hits per week.) Both production teams include training for young media makers. The US stories are shot by undergraduate honors students at the University of Miami’s School of Communication, trained by graduate students. The Havana team is led by a professional Cuban documentary filmmaker and include Cuban film school graduates.

This project also shows how valuable non-print media can be for academic studies.

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Multimodal Fluency: Classroom to the Cloud

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Practical Transliteracy Exercise

[tweetmeme source=”librarianbyday” only_single=false]Chad Boeninger, on his blog Library Voice, posts an exercise he uses for library instruction. Boeninger uses a variety of media (clip from TV news, blogs, discussion of video games) to teach basic concepts of information literacy. This exercise is an excellent example of utilizing the types of media students frequently encounter and are more comfortable with to teach information literacy. Although he does not use the term “transliteracy,” Boeninger is capitalizing on these students’ familiarity with a variety of popular media in the hopes that they can go forward and apply the concepts elsewhere. He writes:

The point of the exercise is to demonstrate to the students that evaluation of information goes beyond  telling the difference between popular and  scholarly articles.  This exercise shows them that they should look at things critically, regardless of whether they are doing academic research, watching the news, buying a new camera, or trying to decide which movie to go see.  Even in real life outside of academia, we are required to make choices about the information that we ingest and digest.  Even when information is fed to us via Fox News, CNN, the New York Times, our professors, or our mothers,  it’s important to understand and look for bias and misinformation.

Slate: A History of Media Technology Scares

Although not directly related to Transliteracy,’s article, Don’t Touch That Dial: A History of Media Technology Scares from the Printing Press to Facebook, addresses the need to understand in what ways new technologies affect culture. The author, Vaughan Bell, gives a quick history of the fears people have had as new forms of communication enter the culture. People often presume that new means of communication are more harmful than their predecessors. He stresses how these suspicions about new technologies are often unfounded:

To date, studies suggest there is no consistent evidence that the Internet causes mental problems. If anything, the data show that people who use social networking sites actually tend to have better offline social lives, while those who play computer games are better than nongamers at absorbing and reacting to information with no loss of accuracy or increased impulsiveness. In contrast, the accumulation of many years of evidence suggests that heavy television viewing does appear to have a negative effect on our health and our ability to concentrate.

Being able to understand and successfully navigate new forms of communication can help mitigate these fears.

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Literacy for the 21st Century: An Overview & Orientation Guide to Media Literacy Education

[tweetmeme source=”librarianbyday” only_single=false]Literacy for the 21st Century: An Overview & Orientation Guide to Media Literacy Education

CML’s plain language introduction to the basic elements of inquiry-based media education.

Now expanded to include the Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS) for both construction/production and deconstruction!

How does media literacy relate to the construction of media? How can critical thinking be taught and learned while students are producing media?

It’s not enough to know how to press buttons on technological equipment: thinking is even more important. Find out how to connect thinking with production in CML’s newly published 2nd Edition of Literacy for the 21st Century!

In a short and readable format, it:

Provides a complete framework for critical inquiry, using CML’s Five Core Concepts, and Five Key Questions for both construction and deconstruction of media, along with handouts.
Gives explanations and Guiding Questions to illustrate how to connect the Key Questions when consuming or producing or participating with media.
Provides in-depth explanations and the foundational role of the Five Key Questions of Media Literacy.
Offers a sample inquiry into visual language: “How to Conduct a ‘Close Analysis’ of a Media ‘Text.'”

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