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Media literacy is the process of thinking critically about the media and looking for clues to putting the information into a wider context. This means giving students the tools they need to spot ambiguity and misleading information to allow them to better understand their world. The goal is to allow students to be more aware of the messages they are given so that they can produce their own content.
Media literacy is a skill that we need to develop in young people. As they become more media savvy they can become more information savvy and can make better decisions. These skills will also allow students to become better communicators (like Dylan).
What is Old Media?
When I refer to the old media, I'm referring to the mass media organizations that make up the major media outlets. The mass media industry is in the business of delivering information. These companies are the major cable news channels, radio stations, and TV networks.
These companies influence the way we see the world. This can be very dangerous and can influence how we understand what is going on. This is because these organizations have become our eyes and our ears in the wider world. This allows these organizations to edit what we see and frame the debate.
What is New Media?
The fundamental difference between new media and old media is how the information is exchanged. In his book We the Media, Dan Gilmor explains that the old media pushed information and advertising out to the consumer where new media everyone involved is exchanging information.
New media's exchange of information allows everyone to become part of the conversation. This allows individuals with separate viewpoints to expose and be exposed to new ideas. Blogs, podcasts, video podcasts, and other social networking services lower the barrier of entry and allow anyone to join the wider conversation.
What is New Media Literacy?
New Media Literacy is applying the skills and techniques of media literacy to new media sources. We need to go beyond the tools and find ways to use these new forms of communication to expand the conversation. We also need to challenge our practices. (What are Blogs Used for in the Classroom?)
Why is this so important?
As the same few media companies expand their coverage they are slowly producing a mono-culture. By becoming involved in the media we can add more voices and more points of view and make the media more nuanced.
But in the words of Stan Lee "with great power comes great responsibility."
I'll be putting out the audio of the interview I did with Brian Connelly who runs the Alive in Baghdad video podcast.
Don't forget to Digg me on Digg.com's new Podcast section! It is a great way to get the word out about the show.
Thanks to Dan Flannery for the great music, Skareski for the great photo, as well as C.C. Chapman, Chris Brogan, Brian Connelly and Chris Penn for all of the inspiration.
If you want to help out or participate with Teaching for the Future you can leave a comment on the homepage or link to us on your blog or podcast. If you want to get in touch, feel free to email at teachingforthefuture (at) gmail (dot) com or send me an audio message through Odeo.