It’s media education week (MEW)! So…what is it?
Media education is the process through which individuals become media literate – able to critically understand the nature, techniques and impacts of media messages and productions.
In Canadian schools, there is a growing awareness of the need to connect classroom learning to the real world and to bring media content into the classroom for analysis, evaluation and discovery.
Media education acknowledges and builds on the positive, creative and pleasurable dimensions of popular culture. It incorporates production of media texts and critical thinking – decoding, analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating media – to help us navigate through an increasingly complex media landscape. That landscape includes not only traditional and digital media, but also popular culture texts such as toys, fads, fashion, shopping malls and theme parks.
That’s just a snippet form the site’s about page (here). Although this is its the third year running. I only became aware of it from a TV commercial (watch here) I just saw between cuts of Celebrity Rehab. The ad begins with a series of text messages/IMs/emails/etc. flashing across the screen, starting with “your a moron”.
The spot targets a very specific audience – young people in school, probably aged 10-18. I agree that young people are particularly vulnerable to the hazards of new media forms, especially with respect to the four media concepts covered by MEW:
- Media are constructions
- Audiences negotiate meaning
- Media have commercial implications
- Ideological messages underpin all media
What about older folks? Are our parents (and their parents) less likely to misinterpret and misunderstand new media? Maybe their life experience (i.e. living through the popularization of radio, television, and the internet over the last 80 years) has primed them…what do you think? Should there be a 50+ Media Education Week?