[The Global Critical Media Literacy Project is a collaborative initiative from the Action Coalition for Media Education, Project Censored, and the graduate program in Media Literacy and Digital Culture at Sacred Heart University.]
MEDIA LITERACY WEEK 2016
This year marks the second annual Media Literacy Week, October 31–November 4. The timing could not be better: We officially launched the GCMLP at October’s Media Freedom Summit and 40th-anniversary celebration of Project Censored. As Nicholas Johnson wrote, “Whatever is your first priority, whether it is women’s rights or saving wildlife, your second priority has to be media reform.” At the GCMLP, we push this even further: Without critical media literacy, our society cannot address the challenges and ills we face, whether systemic, institutional, or individual. One need look no further than engagement with, and dialogue around, the current US election and movements like Black Lives Matter and NoDAPL to see the problems of media representation and depiction.
While many organizations work to foster media literacy, the Global Critical Media Literacy Project (and its constituent groups) emphasizes critical media literacy: exploring and teaching the ways in which ML skills are essential to engaged citizenship; encouraging independent thinking in a culture that fosters consumerism and conformity; challenging power structures; and spreading social justice and democratic values. Furthermore, the GCMLP is committed to action through a network of educators and activists, for such is the most effective path to creating truly media-literate members of society. And that action must be led by independently funded activists and organizations free of the constraints and influences of corporate funding.
Media literacy education—critical media literacy education—is necessary in our world, and it must happen every day. Media Literacy Week 2016, like the annual Screen-Free Week, is an excellent way to highlight the work going on in CMLE and to share strategies and resources with our networks and with those who want to learn about and implement this important work. Today, it is more important than ever that children and adults alike learn to approach media with well-developed critical thinking skills and thorough understandings of the central role media industries play in shaping our social, cultural, and political worlds.
Let us work together to change the mediascape and its impacts on society. What can you do in your schools, your communities, and your families to advance the goals of CMLE and to move us toward a media-literate society? We have some ideas…
• Join the GCMLP’s digitally connected critical media literacy education network. Use the site to connect with other educators, see lessons, activities, and student work, and post your and your students’ work!
• Peruse the Global Critical Media Literacy Project Educators Resource Guide for strategies and activities you can implement in your classroom or community-based program today.
• Share ACME’s media literacy strategies with colleagues and bring them into your classroom.
• Consider applying to the Media Literacy and Digital Culture program at Sacred Heart University. Spread the word about this incredible program, now in its second year, among your students and colleagues!
• Bring media education trainings from ACME and Mass Media Literacy to your school, district, or community-based program. Talk to us; we can bring existing programs to you or we can work with you to create programs specifically for your students!
• Pick up a copy of the 2016 anthology Media Education for a Digital Generation, engaging and inspiring research and work on media education in the digital age from 20 researchers, educators, and activists.
• Obtain a copy of Project Censored’s Censored 2017: Fortieth Anniversary Edition, the latest annual yearbook featuring a roundup of the year’s top censored stories and commentary on the state of media freedom today. Check out the websites for Project Censored and GCMLP for ideas on how to use this and related material.
• Plan a Screen-Free Week for your school, across your district, or within your community program; you can even do this in your family!
• Investigate Jacques Brodeur’s 10-Day Screen-Free Challenge, inspired by the SMART program created at Stanford University. The Challenge, which Brodeur has brought to schools in the province of Quebec and across France, is a playful educational opportunity to introduce critical media literacy in schools and communities. For materials to implement the challenge in English, see Kristine Paulsen’s “Take the Challenge; Take Charge” program.
The Global Critical Media Literacy Project empowers and engages students through service learning and media literacy, providing an educational pathway from junior college through graduate school. Follow us on Twitter (@GCMLProject) and on Facebook. If you were not able to attend the Media Freedom Summit, we will be posting videos of all the sessions in the coming weeks.
Learn more about the Action Coalition for Media Education and follow on Twitter (@ACMECoalition) and on Facebook. Subscribe to the newsletter and consider joining this growing coalition. And watch for news about the 2017 launch of the new Action in Media Education e-journal!
Explore the news that didn’t make the news and learn how you can help fight media censorship; you can also follow on Twitter (@ProjectCensored).
Discover Sacred Heart University’s Media Literacy and Digital Culture, the only graduate program devoted to action as well as analysis, with concentrations in Children, Health, and Media, Media and Social Justice, and Political Action and Media Production.