The final goal through, is to develop a life skill that goes beyond mere awareness and understanding. Students must develop the ability to question media messages to such a degree that it becomes second nature to them. Only then will a person be a free-thinking individual.

Chris Rosequist: How Media Literacy can Make You Millions!

source: http://www.media-awareness.ca/eng/med/bigpict/excalibu.htm

Media bring the world into our homes. From them, we learn about war and peace, the environment, new scientific discoveries, and so on. We are dependent upon mass communication for knowing what is going on in our physical, social, economic, and political environments. In other words, almost everything we know about people, places, and events that we cannot visit first-hand comes from the media. We also rely on media for entertainment and pleasure. Television and film have become the storytellers of our generation; these stories tell us about who we are, what we believe, and what we want to be.

The cumulative impact of mass media is to unconsciously shape our visions of ourselves. In some ways, this is fine: we can learn from the media that our nation is strong and decent, that our political process is reliable, and that our technological acheivements are often remarkable. But in other ways, allowing the mass media to shape our images of ourselves is dangerous because the media must follow conventions that are often out-of-sync with real life.

Mass media can teach us what it means to be a woman, what families are supposed to be like, or what it means to grow old. Because we receive these messages over and over, we may unconsciously come to accept them as truth without really thinking about it.

The dangers of not thinking about media are greatest for young children, who are among our nation's heaviest but least sophisticated viewers. By failing to help them develop media literacy skills that will allow them to analyze critically what they see and later read, we allow their developing visions of themselves to be controlled by men and women remote from them and from us, whose values and visions we may not share.

The purpose of media literacy is to empower young people to understand the mass media and how it works so that they can be in control of this important aspect of their own lives.

A Few Words about "Media Literacy"

souce: http://cmp1.ucr.edu/exhibitions/education/vidkids/medialit.html

Why teach media literacy? Barry Duncan of Canada's Association of Media Literacy lists six reasons:

1. media dominate our political and cultural lives.
2. almost all information beyond direct experience is "mediated."
3. media provide powerful models for values and behavior.
4. media influence us without our being aware (McCluhan's "the environment is invisible").
5. media literacy can increase our enjoyment of media.
6. ML can make a passive relationship active.

adapted from Wally Bowen: Defining Media Literacy: Summary of Harvard Institute on Media Education

source: http://interact.uoregon.edu/MediaLit/FA/MLArticleFolder/defharvard.html

Renee Hobbs, director of the Harvard Institute, called media literacy "the turn-key that opens the door to new ways of teaching and learning." She listed seven benefits of teaching media literacy that go right to the heart of what it is to be an educated person in the post-modern world:

1. appreciation of and tolerance for complexity
2. to make effective choices in a media-saturated environment.
3. sensitivity to and respect for multiple points of view
4. to skillfully construct and disseminate messages
5. to be part of a valued, respected, functioning team and community
6. to make effective use of family, community and cultural networks
7. to set meaningful personal goals for the future.

adapted from Wally Bowen: Defining Media Literacy: Summary of Harvard Institute on Media Education

source: http://interact.uoregon.edu/MediaLit/FA/MLArticleFolder/defharvard.html

Reasons to study the media in genereal:

1. Like history, because the media interpret the past to us to show us what has gone into making us the way we are
2. Like geography, because the media define for us our own place in the world
3. Like civics, because the media help us to understand the workings of our immediate world, and our individual places in it
4. Like literature, because the media are major sources of modern culture and entertainment
5. Like literature, because the media require us to learn and use critical thinking skills
6. Like business, because the media are major industries and are inextricably involved in commerce
7. Like language, because the media help define how we communicate with each other
8. Like science and technology, because the media help us to learn technology by adopting the leading edge of modern technological innovation
9. Like family studies, because the media determine much of our cultural diet and weave part of the fabric of our lives
10. Like environmental studies, because the media are as big a part of our everyday environment as are trees, mountains, rivers, cities and oceans
11. Like philosophy, because the media interpret our world, its values and ideas to us
12. Like psychology, because the media helps us (mis)understand ourselves and others
13. Like science, because the media explain to us how things work
14. Like industrial arts, because the media are carefully planned, designed and constructed products
15. Like the arts, because through the media we experience all the arts as no other age has ever done
16. Like politics, because the media bring us political and ideological messages all the time - yes - all the time
17. Like rhetoric, because the media use special codes and conventions of their own languages that we need to understand
18. Like drama, because the media help us understand life by presenting it as larger-than-life, and compel us to think in terms of the audience
19. Like Everest, because they are there
20. Because the media go to great lengths to study you

Chris M. Worsnop: 20 Important Reasons To Study The Media

source: http://interact.uoregon.edu/MediaLit/FA/Articles/worsnop/02.pdf 

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