When posed with the question, “What does it mean to be literate today?” I thought, what doesn’t it mean? There are so many forms of literacy with their own skill sets and interconnections. It is important to recognize that the idea of what it means to be “fully literate” in regard to digital, media, physical, or even mathematical literacy is going to differ from person to person. It is therefore crucial that all of these forms of literacy are developed throughout our lives in different opportunities. As teachers we have a role and responsibility in ensuring that our students are prepared for the world once they leave our classrooms.
I watched the Andrea Quijada’s Ted Talk Creating Critical Thinkers Through Media Literacy and I was immediately connecting to her message. First of all, when she discusses not having a TV, I made a connection to my childhood where we didn’t watch TV on school nights and when we did, my parents did the same thing as hers when it came to deconstructing commercials and TV shows. I find it very challenging to shut off the “analysis” that I want to do when I’m watching shows – very rarely am I able to just sit down and watch something without looking into the details provided or trying to make sense of any foreshadowing that might happen. Is this a good thing? Yeah, I’d say it’s an indicator of critical thinking. I agree with Andrea when she states that much of our introductions to what media literacy is starts at home and then should continue to be fostered in other areas such as school.
Andrea mentions how student should know how to deconstruct forms of media because they are so involved and influenced by it. To be able to have the tools necessary to deconstruct what surrounds them is going to be a critical component of our students’ success. She states that students are not always the target audience but often they are the viewers – and because of this, they require the skills necessary to view something, deconstruct it, and figure out who the message was for. I like her reference to that of teachers helping build their students tool boxes by allowing them opportunities to explore new avenues and increase their skills and competencies in something such as media literacy.
I was left with her statement of media literacy as the connection between school and real life. So I wonder, what are we doing to build our students’ Digital Literacy toolboxes to the best of our abilities?