Media Literacy and TEL.A.VISION

TEL.A.VISIONAs TEL.A.VISION accelerates into classrooms across the country (and the world), much to our delight we find that educators have already blazed the trails upon which we’re walking, and have been working feverishly on unleashing student digital savvy by channeling it and ensuring that it augments curriculum, reinforces learning and engages young minds already participating online and with new tools.

Having recently joined the Classroom 2.0 network (over 17,000 members strong), I set about exploring other networks linked-to from within that social network. Poking around one, the Future of Education, I came across this post by Derek Baird about a new initiative at MIT:

Project New Media Literacies (NML), is a research initiative based within MIT’s Comparative Media Studies program, exploring how we might best equip young people with the social skills and cultural competencies required to become full participants in an emergent media landscape and raise public understanding about what it means to be literate in a globally interconnected, multicultural world.

The white paper Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century (Jenkins et al., 2006) identifies the three core challenges: the participation gap, the transparency problem and the ethics challenge, and shares a provisionary list of skills needed for full engagement in today’s participatory culture. In the video below, members of the NML team share their thoughts and perspectives on the skills we call the New Media Literacies.

A video produced by the NML group is below.

What does media literacy have to do with TEL.A.VISION and our mission? One key aspect of teaching students about the power of vision, while they’re using our free web-based software to create their own, is that these students learn:

  • To think about what really matters to them…and no one else
  • To plan what their vision video will contain and decide on its elements
  • Storyboard it so they can communicate that vision in a powerful and yet succinct and focused way
  • To pull together disparate media — photos, music, transitions, text, effects — in order to tell their story and communicate their personal vision.

Our world is rapidly shifting from one that is linear and serial toward one requiring thinking in parallel and making associations.  As more of the world gets online and an increasing flood of information and data is digitized, created and available, having these sorts of media literacy skills will be an imperative when our students enter a working world where they’re always-on, always-connected, with access to all of it at-their-fingertips.