Media Literacy Proposal
Currently, our language arts curriculum contains no formal media literacy standards. Since we are revamping our program, I believe it is in the best interest of both our students, and faculty, to implement media literacy activities in all areas of education. I understand there are presures to raise standardized test scores, but including media literacy training will do nothing byt help us achieve our goals. The " back to the basics" approach isn't really working; we, as teachers. are sacrificing lessons that we think are valuable in order to drill our students until all excitement and curiosity about learning has all but vanished. By using the technologies that are integral parts of our students lives, we will be able to get our kids literally plugged into the concepts and skills that will prepare them for not only tests, but as responsible and informed citizens of the increasingly media savvy and dependent world.
I don't think media literacy is something we should be afraid to teach. Technology is forever changing, and hopefully our students will help us with becoming more comfortable with that. The tools for analyzing and critiquing new media forms, however, are very much based on the familiar skills we have been teaching: we still need to look at the piece of media and decide what it is, why it was written and, how it is working. We live in an age where media can easily be created and communicated through the internet, providing people with seemingly endless sources of entertainment and information. Ther pervasiveness of media that we are subject to, and producers of is astounding, and we cannot, as educators, ignore the new forms of communication. The internet is a toolbox for teachers waiting to be opened!
The internet is a fairly new frontier for educators, and with our students we will be able to explore the implications of web videos, blogs, chat rooms, advertising, music, film, and various other forms of communication. Video games have also alot to offer educators and can help to generate great discussion about perspective building and how reason allows us to learn skills through reading books and engaging with other media that help us to remove from self and into the place of the other. I also think we must show students how to check for reliable information, and to gain a radar for overly biased or under resourced documents. Since students are also mass producers of media, we can have great discussions about media for social change, as well as many of the controversies concerning privacy and freedom of speech.
In order to jump start our new curriculum all we need are teachers who are willing to try and incorporate new media into their current lessons, and take time out to give students a vocabulary to discuss and better understand new media communication. I propose that teachers use the internet to enhance their lessons by finding videos, articles, music, maps, and other items to add flavor and variety to their lectures and exercises . I also think we should encourage teachers to use online blogs to extend the academic dialog further, and the students can also be encouraged to find different forms of media that relate to the lesson at hand. Media literacy encourages cooperation, collaboration, and creativity. Teachers should give students the opportunity to process what they've learned in various formats. Paper writing is a great skill, but their are other ways to creatively and effectively respond to a text. This can be something as simple as a power-point presentation, but could also take the form of an online diary or multi-media video.
It is in my experience that people become more invested when they see real life implications for their studies. Young people today are actively involved with multi media everyday and I believe they will become more responsive to instruction if we being implementing and exploiring media literacy, and give our students the skills to be responsible and informed citizens of our increasingly digital world.