Media Literacy: Some Tips and Instructional Strategies for Educators

The development of new media is generating rapid changes in society on many levels.  These changes in behaviour and cultural attitudes are difficult to keep up with. One useful source of information is Spark, the CBC Radio Program, Blog, and Podcast, that is hosted by Nora Young.

I put together a pdf on new technology, new-tech1, for my fellow staff members.  I included some cartoons  to lighten the load for those on staff suffering from some tech-anxiety or frustration – which  includes all of us.

One of the frustrations and worries that educators face comes from a lack of knowledge about new technology and mass media. Understandably,  we are not well versed in all the new technology and depending on our backgrounds, we may not be familiar with a variety of media. We’re nervous about evaluation and instruction and we will make a crucial error about our students.

Because our students often know more about the technology than we do and they are more comfortable with producing other forms of media, we assume that they require limited instruction in composing and producing the required project. We don’t make that mistake with print media. Just because they have writing skills does not mean that they know how to compose an essay, outline, summary,  report, letter, resume, narrative or a poem.

Why do we assume that they have both knowledge of the  codes and conventions of a movie poster, brochure, or a side-show ? We wouldn’t make the same assumption about asking them to compose a movie review.

In terms of technology we forget that they may not have computer skills like being trained in keyboarding or word processing. They may know the basics of cut and paste with images and documents, but not much more.  Have you ever wondered why the student’s slide-show or document layout and design was so poor ? Did you ask yourself  who taught him/her to use the software? Did you consider they may not had any formal instruction ?

The following document was to assist my colleagues  by providing some tips and instructional strategies they can use with their students to improve the quality of the students’  finished products.



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