Media Literacy in the Classroom

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Media Literacy in the Classroom

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Media literacy is defined as "the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate messages in a variety of forms" (Know TV). In more practical terms, media literacy means questioning the media and interpreting its many messages accordingly. Students are exposed to mass quantities of media on a daily basis. They watch television and movies, read books, newspapers, and magazines, listen to music, and in more recent years explore the Internet. This extreme exposure to media outlets leads to the need for education about the media. Media literacy is one way to help educate students about issues in which they are already actively engaged. Media literacy should be implemented into school curriculums as a beneficial learning tool for all students.

There are a number of important reasons to educate students about media literacy in the classroom. First and foremost, media dominate the political and cultural lives of the majority of Americans in the United States. Secondly, media strongly influences values and behaviors. Furthermore, media goes beyond personal and direct experiences. Media also has the ability to influences us subconsciously. In addition, media literacy can increase our enjoyment of the media. Due to the enormous impact media plays in the lives of citizens, media literacy must develop into an integral component of school curriculum.

The first argument for media literacy deals with the notion that media plays a dominant role in politics and culture. Media help citizens to understand the complex problems within society. The job of the media is to inform the public; however, it is the job of the public to decipher the messages being sent through the media. T...

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Perhaps the strongest foundation for media education rests in the fact that increased awareness of media transforms students from passive to active participants in society. Learners must be offered hands-on application opportunities to increase their own knowledge and enjoyment of the media. The integration of formal media analysis with media production is an essential constituent of media literacy. Creative ventures, such as television or radio production, the development of a rock video or song, photography classes, script-writing, web-page development, or hypertext projects should be made available for students' participation and perusal. Students must be exposed to various forms of communication before they can recognize logical disparities, determine the strength of an argument, evaluate mass media, and actively join our democratic society as partners.
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