Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Media Literacy: The Wave of the Future!

I love cheesy '80s references as much as the next person, but throwbacks remind us sometimes about how we have grown, how our perceptions have changed, and how we should be careful to learn from rather than forget from where we've come.

As a proponent of 21st Century Skills (regardless of how I feel about cliche'd scholastic movements), I can't help but think the only thing that will save humanity from falling into a deep abyss of ignorance is for ALL of us (yes...not just as a nation but as a WORLD) to start appreciating the importance of media literacy in an age where basic literacy is still a struggle.

There are obvious reasons for why new movements in citizen journalism and scholastic media are more relevant than ever, and the main ones involve the growing number of pseudo-news outlets, independent journalists and the general perception that if it's "out there" that it must be true. A media ignorant individual is easy prey for someone or some group wishing to instill feelings of fear, bigotry, and a variety of other unsavory qualities that propaganda is most notably infamous for.

The solution? I propose the addition of media literacy programming in schools that cross all areas of the curriculum including non-humanities areas such as math and science (it's not always just "words"...numbers lie, too!). If we are to be a productive democracy, and if our friends in emerging democracies are to succeed, getting a firm grasp of what is truly going on around us is crucial. Deception is how people are controlled.

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