Research & Theory

Media Literacy for Grown Ups

Since few adults in any part of the world grew up learning media literacy concepts or indeed, even knew the words “media literacy,” there is a large gap in understanding about what media literacy is and why it is important. As digital media prevails more and more in most adults’ lives, the imperative for media literacy has become more urgent, and there is more recognition of the need for media literacy education.  Includes reports from Australia, UK, and US. 

Where Are We Now? Institutionalizing Media Literacy

Media literacy is now recognized as a skill-set that should be at the center of education today – but change management continues to be needed to realize this vision.  John Kotter, a professor at Harvard Business School and a change management expert, introduced a series of eight steps – considered classics -- in his 1995 book, “Leading Change.”  New media tools can amplify these steps towards faster adoption of new ideas and processes.  Includes an interview with leaders of NAMLE. 

What's in a Name?

In 2006 Henry Jenkins published a white paper identifying the challenges and opportunities for media literacy in our 21st century media culture. Since then, new ideas, new technologies, and new names have emerged bringing with them misunderstandings and rifts among educators. It’s time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we are now.  

Voices of Media Literacy

The Voices of Media Literacy project, sponsored by Tessa Jolls and Barbara Walkosz, features interviews of 20 early pioneers who shaped the field into what it is today.  As Executive Editor Tessa Jolls comments, “These people know what media literacy is, and are able to articulate it and express it because they lived it and helped invent it.”  

The U.S. Department of Education

In March 2008, the US Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology convened an information session on media literacy that was open to all department employees.  Kimberly Brodie, Special Assistant in the Office of Educational Technology, led the discussion.  Tessa Jolls of the Consortium was an invited speaker, as well as Doug Levin of Cable in the Classroom, the U.S. cable industry’s education foundation.

Systems Thinking and Media Literacy

In this issue, we discuss the work of the Waters Foundation and the movement towards the use of systems thinking tools in K-12 education and the strong connections to media literacy.  We explain what systems thinking is, trace the connections between systems thinking and media literacy, discuss the research which supports the use of systems thinking in K-12 schooling, and discuss how systems thinking can be used to solve real-world problems.  

Research Media Literacy

Research that provides evidence of the effectiveness of media literacy education is so important, and yet can be so difficult to find.  In this issue, we review the literature in the field, and we offer research and resources to contextualize the issues that need to be addressed to move the field forward.  

Digital Britain

The British Government releases an ambitious new plan for its media and communications industries, including a national plan for media literacy education.  Also, the British Office of Communications audit entitled Digital Lifestyles.

Professional Development

In our research section, we review current research and trends in professional development for K-12 educators, and discuss the opportunities which recently developed models of professional development present for dissemination of media literacy concepts and pedagogy. 

Participation in What?

Last month’s discussion between Tessa Jolls (CML) and Henry Jenkins (USC) focused on What’s in a name? Now, the conversation turns to preparing students for a participatory culture, but what does that mean? This issue tackles Participation in What? We’re all in agreement that students need media literacy education to participate fully in our global media environment but there are a variety of opinions about the tools and methods for making this a reality.  

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