Media literacy is the process of asking questions about what you watch, see, listen to and read.
Sherri Hope Culver's morning address to this group included a lovely interaction where she "talked" to her alter ego, on a video screen, exploring the tension between being "live and face-to-face" and being in cyberspace.
More than 200 people from 35 states and a dozen countries have gathered in Detroit to connect, network and share ideas. There are 70 presentations and panels-- and a group of teens are here, part of the "Modern Media Makers," creating media messages and learning about media literacy.
Sherri points out that although we can be frustrated by the term, "media literacy," and urges people to commit to the name. We need to embrance "media literacy" as our term. She says we are close to the tipping point, as there is a confluence of energy about the need for media literacy to become an essential part of all education. Now we have moved from a culture where "I can find anything" to the question: "I can find anything, but should I?"
If we stop talking about what media literacy IS or ISN'T, we could do much more to connect with other organizations. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills cares about media literacy. The U.S. Department of Education's programs in educational technology have a new component to focuses on Internet safety. The Alliance of Civilizations (AOC) have developed a Media Literacy Clearinghouse to promote global cooperation on media literacy education worldwide.
It's not just about us, toiling away at schools and universities, it's about a larger set of conversations about media's role and function in our rapidly changing society.
In the mid-morning, Jiwon Yoon and Nuala Cabral presented on our project about media literacy and global understanding. Check out the video highlights of that event here.