In February the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) released a position statement on media literacy, social technology and learning in the digital age. Their conclusion?
"These changes in society and the experiences the students bring into
the classroom challenge social studies teachers to change both how and
what we teach. One reaction is to fear these changes and try to protect
our students from things we don’t understand or appreciate. Such an
approach is neither helpful nor pedagogically sound.
Another response is to take advantage instructionally of the wealth of experiences that young people have making media choices by respecting those choices when consistent with democratic principles. Whether we like it or not, this media culture is our students’ culture.”
Today's Students Are Experiencing a Different Childhood
- The digital age requires new skills for accessing, analyzing, evaluating, creating, and distributing messages within a digital, global, and democratic society.
- The ubiquitous and mobile nature of information and communication technologies has resulted in a world far different from that of those of us whose childhood was once surrounded by large box televisions, rotary dial telephones, and transistor radios.
- What was once characterized as a digital divide has transformed into a digital disconnect. Outside of the classroom young people regularly engage with music and videos via MP3 players, constantly text their friends with their mobile phones, check the latest videos on YouTube, and even upload ones themselves. But, upon entering the classroom they are expected to disengage from this interpersonal, producer-oriented, digital world.
- Canada, Australia, and Great Britain have taught media literacy for several decades, while the US, the world’s leading producer of media, is far behind.
- These changes in society and the experiences the students bring into the classroom challenge social studies teachers to change both how and what we teach.
- Teaching students to think critically about the content and the form of mediated messages is an essential requirement for social studies education in this millennium.
- Media literacy integrates the process of critical inquiry with the creation of media as students examine, create, and disseminate their own alternative images, sounds, and thoughts.
- Media literacy includes the skills of accessing, analyzing, evaluating, creating, and distributing messages as well as the cultural competencies and social skills associated with a growing participatory culture.
- Media literacy also includes analysis of ideology and power as students learn how media are used to position audiences and frame public opinion.
- In the 21st century, media literacy is an imperative for participatory democracy because new information/communication technologies and a market-based media culture have significantly reshaped the world.
Media Literacy & the Social Studies Classroom
- Teachers need to expand their notion of “legitimate texts” and realize that it includes popular culture, advertising, photographs, maps, text (SMS) messages, Twitter, movies, video games, Internet, all sorts of hand-held devices and information communication technologies (ICTs) as well as print.
- Students should be presenting their research and learning through interactive multimedia presentations, as Internet blogs, videos, podcasts, Facebook, etc.
- The ability to differentiate between primary and secondary sources or distinguish fact from fiction is now intimately connected to the ability to analyze and create media.
- Social studies educators should provide young people with the awareness and abilities to critically question and create new media and technology, and the digital, democratic experiences, necessary to become active participants in the shaping of democracy.
- NCSS Media Literacy Statement
- Learning Styles 2.0: Digital, Social, and Always On
- mobileYouth: 100 Million Mobile Youth in USA
- Making mLearning Work: Gen Y, Learning & Mobile Technologies
- Social Software & Online Learning Design
- Social Media & Digital Learning Styles
- Handbook of Research on New Media Literacy