Critical Media Literacy: Integral to Students’ Learning

In a world currently serving up fake news and post-truths, it’s easier than ever to consume falsehoods and spout them as fact. That’s why critical media literacy must be an integral part of students’ learning experience.

Music, social media, TV and video games all have a strong influence on how people see the world.  Critical media literacy expands the notion of literacy to include different forms of media, i.e. media culture, information and communication technologies, and new media A focus on critical media literacy heightens students’ awareness of and ability to critically analyze the relationships between media and audiences, and information and power.

Previous forms of media literacy education expanded the definitions of literacy.  Within media literacy students learn how to effectively access, evaluate, and produce different forms of media. These are media literacy skills. According to Media Smarts, a Canadian-based organization for digital and media literacy, this allows students to critically understand the nature, techniques and impacts of media messages and productions. “Media literacy – with critical thinking, reflection and ethical behaviour at its core – is a key part of what it means to be educated in today’s world,” the organization says.  Critical media literacy adds a further dimension—the ways in which media defines relationships of power.

We should all consider the influence media, and our use of technology has on us, says Dr. Catherine Burwell, an associate professor and researcher at the Werklund School of Education.

“Without a stronger understanding of how digital technologies work, how they play to our preferences, collect our personal data and make certain ideas invisible to us while amplifying others, we’re really lacking an important form of agency and autonomy in our decision making, and in our understanding of the world.”

Dr. Burwell recently spoke on the subject, view the video below.


Register for IDEAS 2017 to hear a keynote address by Dr. Catherine Burwell and her colleague Dr. Kimberly Lenters.

Consider participating in the optional workshop Creating Place-Based Literacy Projects with Drs Burwell and Lenters as well.


 

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