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July 7, 2009

the new media literacies

The old "media literacy" meant being able to understand a news broadcast or a commercial; having some idea how it was constructed and how it might manipulate you; being able to choose reliable and relevant broadcasts and avoid junk. Those are still good skills to have. But the new "media literacies" include things like "digital storytelling"--being able to tell a story using words, images, and sound on a website--designing a digital game, or writing a text document online with lots of collaborators.

These are active skills, befitting a more active media environment. They are also highly challenging, and it is definitely not true that "young people today" know how to use them effectively. Quite the contrary--teenagers are less likely than some older groups to spend time doing these things, and I have often found them intimidated by the combination of tech skills and civic/political skills that you need to be effective.

But here are two amazing toolkits people of all ages can use to learn the new media literacies.

1. Puget Sound Off, a great social network for youth in the Seattle area, now has a set of "interactive videos to help you master blogging, digital storytelling, and other multimedia skills."

2. The New Media Literacies Project at MIT has a large library of training videos and games that are designed to be combined, augmented, and amended by a community of users.

I think this field is in its infancy and we are just learning what skills are important and how to teach them. The best learning is experiential, and I've gained a lot from interactions with both of the projects listed above.

July 7, 2009 11:32 AM | category: Internet and public issues | Comments


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