eBook Vocabulary: Media Literacy

Well, whaddya know!  There is an entire professional organization dedicated to Media Literacy.  The National Association for Media Literacy Education publishes the Journal of Media Literacy Education and provides us with a handy dandy definition.

“Media literacy [consists] of a series of communication competencies, including the ability to ACCESSANALYZEEVALUATE, and COMMUNICATE information in a variety of forms, including print and non-print messages.”

Whoa.  Ok.  That’s very broad.  Luckily they break down the definition further:

  • Media refers to all electronic or digital means and print or artistic visuals used to transmit messages.
  • Literacy is the ability to encode and decode symbols and to synthesize and analyze messages.
  • Media literacy is the ability to encode and decode the symbols transmitted via media and the ability to synthesize, analyze and produce mediated messages.
  • Media education is the study of media, including ‘hands on’ experiences and media production.
  • Media literacy education is the educational field dedicated to teaching the skills associated with media literacy.
But- it’s not really literacy, is it?
Yes!  It is!  Media literacy comprises much more than the linear orthographical decoding of yesteryear.  Our kids are digital natives who need to know how to comprehend and utilize multi-sensory information from all different types of devices.  Words, images and sound are all legitimate purveyors of information requiring different skills for processing.

In order for kids to become useful people in our increasingly digital world, they’re going to have to be proficient not only in using current technology, but in figuring out new technology as it becomes available.  Traditional literacy was basically a skill that you learned once and you were set for life; media literacy is a wider set of continually evolving, increasingly sophisticated skills.

So how does this relate to eBooks?  
Reading eBooks together is an awesome way to give our little monsters the skills to figure out what they’re going to need to know in our big bad world of sensory overload.  If we can give them good quality eLiterature with well designed multimedia extras we start them on the path to media literacy.  


Posted on December 8, 2011, in Digital Native, Literacy, Media Literacy. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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