02 June, 2008

Internet Safety V

Much to the contrary to popular practice, media literacy is not acquired by sitting hours (days, weeks, months) in front of a television screen, or computer monitor playing computer games, or creating a profile on Facebook and collecting “friends”. It is about interaction, communication, and presentation. It’s about creating content and discussion. Here’s a video, that admittedly goes too far in making it’s point, but that is British humour for you:

In my childhood, literacy was about learning to read and write. If I were to define these activities in our children’s world, I’d say that media literacy is about consuming and creating: consuming information and creating content. As parents, we have the responsibility to supervise and encourage our children to participate in both activities. When they are young (3-10 years), it is more important to stress the creative direction (i.e., creating content). Later on, the consuming/informing part will grow in significance. But hopefully, not to a degree that it overshadows the creative part.

Last Friday, I held a lecture at the Universtity of Kiel about this topic to teaching students. One of the presentations concerns storytelling methods, techniques, and technologies. My message to parents and educators is to see the process of creating content as just storytelling. A skill our children very much need.
Storytelling is, for most young people, best told visually, orally, or in movement or dance. Only a small percentage of people on this earth, can write down their stories on paper with the same beauty and fluidity as they can tell the story through other means. It is unfortunate, that our schools still concentrate highly on written text. It is, of course, vitally important for our children to learn to read and write. I am no disputing this. I just think that we should offer our children more opportunities to explore and express their world through other means.

There is a wealth of Wed 2.0 applications, tools, and services for free or for a minimal charge. For those of you wanting to know about the range of possibilities, I’d suggest starting here:

The best starting point is commoncraft videos
Other videos you can find in TeacherTube or YouTube
Good educational blogs (1, 2)
RSS links to various tools (1)
Online Dictionaries (1,2)

The reasons for doing this can be found in what all of these leaders of education are saying:

If you wish to know what sort of projects you can make with your children, write me an email (address in sidebar). Include your children’s ages, interests, school level, and present use of media. I’d be happy to send you some suggestions.

No comments:

Post a Comment