The Importance of Media Studies
When looking for a rationale behind the inclusion of Media Literacy as part of our curriculum, where better to explore than the curriculum document itself? Here are a couple of great quotes that get to the heart of why the inclusion of Media, throughout the curriculum and not just in Language Arts, is an essential experience for our students:
Whereas traditional literacy may be seen to focus primarily on the understanding of the word, media literacy focuses on the construction of meaning through the combination of several media “languages” – images, sounds, graphics, and words.
Media literacy explores the impact and influence of mass media and popular culture by examining texts such as films, songs, video games, action figures, advertisements, CD covers, clothing, billboards, television shows, magazines, newspapers, photographs, and websites.3 These texts abound in our electronic information age, and the messages they convey, both overt and implied, can have a significant influence on students’ lives. For this reason, critical thinking as it applies to media products and messages assumes a special significance.
Students’ repertoire of communication skills should include the ability to critically interpret the messages they receive through the various media and to use these media to communicate their own ideas effectively as well.
Becoming conversant with these and other media can greatly expand the range of information sources available to students, their expressive and communicative capabilities, and their career opportunities.
Essentially, the ability to interpret and understand the content and motive of media messaging is integral to 21st century students understanding the world around them. As the amount of information multiplies, and is augmented by the explosion of social media, it is equally important that the students understand how to portray themselves and their messages to the world. The fundamental principles that underpin digital and media literacy understanding and creation are conventions and language that our students need as we prepare them for life beyond the classroom.
The Centre for Media Literacy shares an interesting list of 10 benefits of Media Literacy Education. This is a useful reference point and rationale for educators, while the video below pushes the moral imperative teachers face on bringing media conversations and opportunities into the classroom.