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MedialitTessa12 karma

Media literacy applies to all levels of education because even infants become early media consumers. On one end of the spectrum, babies are in cars with the radio or with video; preschoolers are using tablets or smartphones (witness a toddler kissing an iPad as he or she "face times" with a grandparent). From preschool to high school and college, students need to learn the concepts of media literacy so that they can become learners who are prepared to deconstruct and construct media anytime, anywhere. On the other end of the spectrum, adults also need media literacy education because they did not grow up learning the concepts of media literacy and how to apply them to media messages, nor did they have the powerful technologies and social media that we now have when they were young.
Young students can definitely learn about construction -- through art projects, where they are media makers, to taking photos and learning about camera angles and lighting. There are a myriad ways to teach about construction -- and to teach about deconstruction at the same time, as a way of assessing creative work. One wonderful project that second graders did was to have a three-part assignment: to decorate a container (any shape desired) on the inside, to show how the student saw him/herself privately (on the inside); and then to decorate the container on the outside, to show how the student wished to represent him/herself publicly. Then, the students were asked to pick a picture(s) and description of themselves that they might want their parents to share on a Facebook page, so that they could learn that these "images" of themselves -- these representations -- could be shared far and wide, with many different people-- and whether they felt that this type of public representation was different in nature than the "container" representations that they previously constructed. This is a powerful way to explore issues around identity and representation for even young children -- and the possibilities are only bounded by a parent or teachers imagination in trying to teach these important lessons.

MedialitTessa7 karma

I certainly agree that media literacy is essential to combatting the notion that "if it's reported in media it must be true." The alternative is censorship and a loss of the freedom of speech, which is a value that fortunately, we hold dear in the U.S. The ultimate question is "who will censor the censors?" Which brings us back to Core Concept #1: All media messages are constructed -- they are re-presentations or representations of reality, and they must be interrogated as such.

As to the "older generations:" it is very difficult to reach older generations, which is why so much of our concentration on media literacy education is in schools. But it's not impossible! We would like to see media literacy taught THROUGH media -- advertising, programming, social media, whatever it takes. Certainly, national campaigns like tobacco cessation, environmental issues (remember the old campaign "Every litter-bit hurts") have worked to educate the public about urgent social issues. Media literacy in this day and age is every bit as important!

MedialitTessa6 karma

Headlines have always been "constructed" or designed to attract attention and so this "technique" is not new (this relates to Core Concept #2, "Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules." Research has long been done to discover what headlines are most appealing, what headlines "convert" to clicks or readership and on and on. Why? Remember Core Concept #5, "Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power." (CML refers to "power" in a broad sense of influence or ideology.)

I casually "googled" the keywords "overall headline preferences" and I turned up numerous articles on how headlines affect readership, click conversion etc. Here's an example of such an article: https://moz.com/blog/5-data-insights-into-the-headlines-readers-click

On how such headlines might affect the audience, Core Concept #3 says "Different people experience the same media message differently." In other words -- there are as many responses as there are people, and people's level of media literacy definitely affects their ability to discern.

MedialitTessa6 karma

You are so right -- the labels we use make a difference! Media literacy is a term that is used world-wide, and also a field that has generated a body of research and knowledge during the past 50 years (and some would say more). We like the term "Media Literacy" because it is broad, and given the penetration of media in every home, everyone is a media critic in some form or fashion. Parents certainly understand how important media is in their children's lives!

Literacy has traditionally addressed reading and writing texts -- today, we are expanding the notion of texts to be visual, audio/music, choreography, story, digital, code, algorithms, formulas etc. Decoding and encoding texts of any sort involves a process for accessing, analyzing, evaluating and creating -- which is where the notion of media literacy as a heuristic comes in.

Now to get to your specific question: media literacy certainly incorporates practical/deductive logic, but it also incorporates arenas like rhetoric, semiotics, linguistics and the arts. This is why I like to say that ultimately, media literacy is about risk management -- about using the knowledge from many different disciplines to be make meaning and discern/embed media messages from the standpoint of our own best interest.

MedialitTessa5 karma

Yes, and now in Great Britain, for example, schools are teaching children to code starting at age 6. Since the media are totally dependent on software and digital formats, to be "media literate" also means that the codes and conventions -- the unique languages -- associated with code and with algorithmic thinking are part of the understanding that's needed to decode and encode. I hear you on click bait -- but though training may not be a total "cure," it at least offers some hope for reducing the pain or enhancing the joy.