is the process of accessing, analyzing, evaluating and creating messages in a wide variety of media modes, genres and forms. It uses an inquiry-based instructional model that encourages people to ask questions about what they watch, see and read. Media literacy education is one means of developing media literacy. It provides tools to help people critically analyze messages to detect propaganda
, and bias
in news and public affairs programming (and the reasons for such), and to understand how structural features -- such as media ownership
, or its funding model -- affect the information presented. Media literacy aims to enable people to be skillful creators and producers of media messages, both to facilitate an understanding as to the strengths and limitations of each medium, as well as to create independent media
. Media literacy is an expanded conceptualization of literacy. By transforming the process of media consumption into an active and critical process, people gain greater awareness of the potential for misrepresentation and manipulation (especially through commercials
and public relations
techniques), and understand the role of mass media and participatory media in constructing views of reality.
Media education is developing in Great Britain
, South Africa
, the United States
, with a growing interest in the Netherlands
and among many other nations..
Media literacy was originally conceived as an educational tool to protect people from what many perceived to be mass media's ill effects. The earliest country known to use this inoculative paradigm was Great Britain in the 1930s. In the 1960s, there was a paradigm shift in the field of media literacy to emphasize working within popular culture rather than trying to convince people that popular culture was primarily destructive. This was known as the popular arts paradigm. In the 1980s, there came a recognition that the ideological power of the media was tied to the naturalization of the image. Constructed messages were being passed off as natural ones. The focus of media literacy also shifted to the consumption of images and representations, also known as the representational paradigm. In the United Kingdom and Australia media literacy is often a stand alone credit course, as well as part of the English curricula.
In Australia, media education was influenced by developments in Britain related to the inoculation, popular arts and demystification approaches. Key theorists who influenced Australian media education were Graeme Turner
and John Hartley
who helped develop Australian media and cultural studies. During the 1980s and 1990s, Western Australians Robyn Quin
and Barrie MacMahon
wrote seminal text books such as Real Images
, translating many complex media theories into classroom appropriate learning frameworks. Currently, in most Australian states, media is one of five strands of the Arts Key Learning Area
and includes "essential learnings" or "outcomes" listed for various stages of development. At the senior level (years 11 and 12), several states offer Media Studies as an elective. For example, many Queensland schools offer Film, Television and New Media
, while Victorian schools offer VCE Media
Media education is supported by the teacher professional association Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM)
which publishes a range of resources and the excellent Screen Education
In areas of Europe, media education has seen many different forms.
Media education was introduced into the Finnish elementary curriculum in 1970 and into high schools in 1977. But the media education we know today did not evolve in Finland
until the 1990s.
Media education has been compulsory in Sweden
since 1980 and in Denmark
since 1970. In both Nordic countries, media education evolved in the 1980s and 1990s as media education gradually moved away from moralizing attitudes towards an approach that is more searching and pupil-centred.
In 1994, the Danish education bill gave recognition to media education but it is still not an integrated part of the school. The focus in Denmark
seems to be on information technology.
has taught film from the inception of the medium, but it has only been recently that conferences and media courses for teachers have been organised with the inclusion of media production.
saw theoretical publications on media literacy in the 1970s and 80s, with a growing interest for media education inside and outside the educational system in the 80s and 90s. In the Netherlands media literacy was placed in the agenda by the Dutch government in 2006 as an important subject for the Dutch society. In April, 2008, an official center has been created (mediawijsheid expertisecentrum = medialiteracy expertisecenter) by the Dutch government. This center is more a network organization existing out of different partners who have their own expertise with the subject of media education. The idea is that media education will become a part of the official curriculum.
The history of Media Education in Russia goes back to the 1920s. The first attempts to instruct in media education (on the press and film materials, with the vigorous emphasis on the communist ideology) appeared in the 1920s but were stopped by Stalin’s repressions. The end of the 1950s - the beginning of the 1960s was the time of the revival of media education in secondary schools, universities, after-school children centers (Moscow, Petersburg, Voronezh, Samara, Kurgan, Tver, Rostov, Taganrog, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, etc.), the revival of media education seminars and conferences for the teachers.
During the time when the intensive rethinking of media education approaches was on the upgrade in the Western hemisphere, in Russia of the 1970s–1980s media education was still developing within the aesthetic concept. Among the important achievements of 1970s-1990s one can recall the first official programs of film and media education, published by Ministry of Education, increasing interest of Ph.D. to media education, experimental theoretic and practical work on media education by O.Baranov (Tver), S.Penzin (Voronezh), G.Polichko, U.Rabinovich (Kurgan), Y.Usov (Moscow), A.Fedorov (Taganrog), A.Sharikov (Moscow) and others.
The important events in media education development in Russia are the registration of the new specialization (since 2002) for the pedagogical universities – ‘Media Education’ (№ 03.13.30), and the launch of a new academic journal ‘Media Education’ (since January 2005), partly sponsored by the ICOS UNESCO ‘Information for All’. Additionally, the Internet sites of Russian Association for Film and Media Education (English and Russian versions) were created. Taking into account the fact that UNESCO defines media education as the priority field of the cultural educational development in the XXI century, media literacy has good prospects in Russia.
In North America
, the beginnings of a formalized approach to media literacy as a topic of education is often attributed to the 1978 formation of the Ontario Association for Media Literacy
(AML). Before that time, instruction in media education was usually the purview of individual teachers and practitioners. Canada
is the first country in North America to require media literacy in the school curriculum. Every province has mandated media education in its curriculum. For example, in Quebec the new curriculum mandates media literacy from Grade 1 right up to the final year of secondary school (Secondary V). The launching of media education in Canada came about for two reasons. One reason was the concern about the pervasiveness of American popular culture and the other was the education system-driven necessity of contexts for new educational paradigms. Media education is less widespread in formal schooling in the United States
, in part because of the decentralized nature of the education system in a country with 70 million children now in public or private schools. There is no central authority making nationwide curriculum recommendations, and each of the fifty states has numerous school districts, each of which operates with a great degree of independence from one another. As of 2004, Montana became the first state to develop educational standards around media literacy that students are required to be competent in by grades 4, 8, and 12. Additionally, an increasing number of school districts have begun to develop school-wide programs, elective courses, and other after-school opportunities for media analysis and production. Nearly all 50 states have language that supports media literacy in state curriculum frameworks. Leading universities such as Appalachian State University
, Columbia University
, New York University
, the University of Texas-Austin
, and Temple University
offer courses and summer institutes in media literacy for pre-service teachers and graduate students. Brigham Young University
offers a graduate program in media education specifically for inservice teachers.
In South Africa
, the increasing demand for Media Education has evolved from the dismantling of apartheid and the 1994 democratic elections. The first national Media Education conference in South Africa was actually held in 1990 and the new national curriculum has been in the writing stages since 1997. Since this curriculum strives to reflect the values and principles of a democratic society there seems to be an opportunity for critical literacy and Media Education in Languages and Culture courses.