Media literacy is vital to 21st century learning. Not just in order to keep up—but to take advantage of the exploding array of learning opportunities unlocked by Web 2.0.
Today's students need to adapt to new media forms and learn them quickly. Just as important, they need to develop the critical thinking skills to digest, select and aggregate content—whether uploaded or downloaded—from a dizzying choice of sources. That's no short order!
- Why the need for media literacy?
- To utilize the vast potential of Web 2.0—the greater the literacy, the greater the benefits (greater collaboration, communication and student engagement leads to deeper learning and higher quality hands-on work)
- To learn how to select appropriate tools and technology
- To integrate a variety of media covering a variety of topics into projects and presentations—to maximize the benefits of interdisciplinary learning
- To build 21st century skills—for schoolwork and for careers
- Media literacy vs print literacy:
- User-generated information flows in multiple directions, whereas print travels in just one direction—from the page to the reader
- Digital information is nonlinear and organized in different ways, thus requiring new ways of searching, using and sharing
- Media literacy skills:
- Research skills for locating and selecting digital information
- Technical skills for posting and sharing information and digital files
- Ability to create new media, not just passively use it
- Critical thinking skills to assess the quality and validity of content; and to digest large amounts of information from disparate sources
- Ability to adapt to new media forms and to learn them quickly
- Awareness of the need to use digital information ethically and to cite sources