ARCHIVED—Media: A Whole New Language to Learn
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With the word text no longer just referring to ink on a printed page, it is no wonder that there are plenty of educators and academics looking at literacy for the 21st century, and looking far beyond what it takes to read a book.
In turn, it is clear that the definition of the term literacy also must be expanded. As with computer technology 10 years ago, media literacy is seen by many as an add-on, but by expanding the notion of text, it becomes "part of the whole" that can be studied like a novel or a poem.
Connected to that is a way of hooking students. Media education provides an ideal opportunity to validate students' knowledge and learning because many of the "texts" to look at belong to them. This is even true in elementary school. The influence of media is evident starting right in kindergarten and even before, in terms of what kids want to wear, how they speak, how they're influenced, and the shows they watch.
The challenge that currently exists is providing teachers, across Canada, with the necessary professional development so they can start to learn for themselves all about incorporating media literacy into the classroom.