Why Multimedia Literacy Pt. 2

This post is the second in two-part series of posts on some ideas I have been exploring over the past year in a half through in my Graduate Program. If you missed part 1, you can find it here. These ideas originate from a project I completed, Multimedia Literacy in the Elementary Language Arts Classroom: A RESOURCE FOR EDUCATORS. So often I hear people talking about educational technology without thinking about the why. This series of posts focuses on why I believe we should be moving to teaching not just literacy, but multimedia literacy in schools.

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Honouring and engaging in multimedia literacy in classrooms helps to create more student-centered environments. When educators see the value of multimedia literacy they can better communicate with and help their students recognize their own strengths and challenges with regards to different modes of literacy.   According to The New London Group (1996), whnoun_students_21562en learners juxtapose different languages, discourses, styles, and approaches, they gain substantively in metacognitive and metalinguistic abilities and in their ability to reflect critically on complex systems and their interactions (p. 69).  Students that are aware of their strengths and challenges are better able to make decisions when it comes to communicating their understandings in class.  At the same time, educators should also push students out of their comfort zones to challenge themselves and their understandings.

 Digital Literacy

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Digital tools and resources have become ubiquitous in today’s modern world.  When we discuss multimedia literacy, the impact of digital technology and digital literacy cannot be underestimated. The New London Group (1996) argues, the literacy pedagogy now must account for the burgeoning variety of text forms associated with information and multimedia technology (p.61).

Multimedia literacy and digital literacy share interrelated skills that students should know how to apply to both digital and nondigital media.  The affordances of technology have shifted the way people work in their school lives, work lives and personal lives.  It is our job, as educators, to prepare our students to participate fully in the world they live in.  There is no question that for them, that is a digital world.  Jenkins (2013), argues that it would be tragic if we allowed new media literacy practices to take over the place of traditional print literacy practices and that not engaging with new media out of fear of change, would be equally tragic.

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Digital Citizenship

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Mike Ribble is a well respected expert in the field of education with regards to digital citizenship.  Ribble (2013), proposes a model to move forward in teaching digital citizenship in schools. His framework for digital citizenship includes 9 elements: digital etiquette, digital access, digital law, digital communication, digital literacy, digital commerce, digital rights and responsibility, digital security and digital health and wellness.  These elements fall into 3 categories: respect yourself/respect others, educate yourself/educate others and protect yourself/protect others.  Ribble cites, the  International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) as providing guidance by updating the National Education Technology Standards (NETS) for educational leaders, teachers, anteam-523239 (4)d students.  The NETS integrate educational technology standards across all educational curricula and are recognized in the United  States, and various countries worldwide.

This digital world we live in requires us to educate our students on the moral and ethical issues surrounding the use of digital technologies.  Incorporating multimedia literacies, and thus digital literacies in the classroom, allows us to embed lessons of digital citizenship in authentic ways.  Digital citizenship is best taught in context as opposed to a one off lesson here and there.

For more information see my site:
Multimedia Literacy in the Elementary Language Arts Classroom: A RESOURCE FOR EDUCATORS




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