27 October 2012

Analysing Digital Media Literacies

Mid-semester and among different questions posed by current teaching, there are two which I find most immediate to reflect on : teaching students how to find information and guiding them to a clearer understanding of digital media literacies. Most language courses I have taught include a chapter on advertising and media, hence my concern with digital media literacies and how learners become more efficient in these literacies.  At the same time, I find myself as a possible bridge to learning, opening up new windows of thought and reflection, posing questions to trigger further analysis. 

Generally speaking, digital media literacy is the ability to critically analyze digital media, as well as creating information.  My Pop Studio is a site aimed at developing critical thinking about television, music, magazines and online media focusing on girls. 

At a time when girls risk so much of their health in consequence to constant media exposure, My Pop Studio , is a positive response for female learners to explore and reflect critically on how digital media may effect them. 

Another excellent resource is Critical Media Literacy , which offers lesson plans as well as follow up and extension activities. 

PBS Teachers offers a range of activities for Digital Media Literacy , including a quiz for learners (8 to 18 years of age), resources, and activities which integrate digital tools and content

There is much to choose from, so most educators may either use the given suggestions or tailor them to their context and learners' needs. 

A rich site for both students and educators is Media Education Lab, founded by Renee Hobbs.  As stated, Media Education Lab has two main priorities: 

1 - Providing public programs, educational services, community outreach, and multimedia curriculum resources targeted to the needs of educators and learners in school and after-school settings; and

2 - Developing and implementing a multidisciplinary research agenda to explore the educational impact of media and technology, with a focus on digital and media literacy education as an expanded conceptualization of literacy. 

As always, educators from different parts of the world may wish to adapt and contextualize examples for the needs and realities of their students. Nevertheless, I also think that educators need to find a balance as younger generations are often exposed to the same digital media, sharing the same problems and issues around the world.  Their points of reference are often closer and more similar than teachers may assume. By only focusing only on their immediate social environment, there is a risk that educators close windows upon the world and learning, instead of broadening minds and fostering bridges of thought. 

How do you encourage the analysis of digital media literacy?

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