Monday, November 27, 2006

Media Education and Participatory Culture

I've been reading Henry Jenkins' blog about media and participatory culture. It's constantly illuminating. He's published a paper he did for the MacArthur Foundation entitled "Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century," available in installments on his blog and as a pdf from the MacArthur Foundation web site. It offers three very solid reasons that media literacy must be taught thoughtfully and explicitly:
  1. The participation gap: While most children have access to computers, those who must rely on a library or school for internet access aren't able to consume and produce their own media to anywhere near the degree that those with their own computers and internet access can.
  2. The transparency problem: Children are more savvy in their consumption of digital media than grown-ups but lack the critical skills necessary to understand how media are being produced and what interests lie behind their production.
  3. The ethics challenge: Kids' involvement in online media production is usually unmediated by adults and therefore they have little guidance in making ethical decisions about the consequences of what they produce.

I think this paper is huge. It takes a while to digest, but is really worth the time.

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