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Media Literacy   Tags: evaluation of sources, media, media literacy  

Last Updated: Aug 16, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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What is Media Literacy?

The ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate information in a variety of forms. Media literacy represents a necessary, inevitable, and realistic response to the complex, ever-changing electronic environment and communication cornucopia that surround us.

To become a successful student, responsible citizen, productive worker, or competent and conscientious consumer, individuals need to develop expertise with the increasingly sophisticated information and entertainment media that address us on a multi-sensory level, affecting the way we think, feel, and behave.

Today’s information and entertainment technologies communicate to us through a powerful combination of words, images, and sounds. As such, we need to develop a wider set of literacy skills helping us to both comprehend the messages we receive and effectively utilize these tools to design and distribute our own messages. Being literate in a media age requires critical thinking skills that empower us as we make decisions, whether in the classroom, the living room, the workplace, the boardroom, or the voting booth.

Finally, while media literacy does raise critical questions about the impact of media and technology, it is not an anti-media movement. Rather, it represents a coalition of concerned individuals and organizations, including educators, faith-based groups, health care-providers, and citizen and consumer groups, who seek a more enlightened way of understanding our media environment.

-from the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) homepage

NAMLE Terminology

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

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.


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