Media Literacy Now

Twenty years ago, when my eldest of three was in elementary school, I became an outspoken advocate for commercial-free schools and classrooms. I learned about efforts in Massachusetts and across the country to limit the impact of commercialism in our schools and I carried the issue forward with PTAs at local, state, and national levels. I met good folks then with whom I now interact on the broader issue of media literacy and I am a proud member of Media Literacy Now.
Today, literacy means
media literacy.
The need for media literacy in our schools is more important than ever because we live in a 24/7 media environment. Children's future well-being depends not only on their literacy, but that they have the media literacy skills necessary to navigate, analyze, and respond to all forms of media.

Whereas my eldest is in that first generation of digitally socialized people who entered school at the dawn of the internet age and adopted computerized technologies in elementary school and facebook and twitter while still in high school, my rising high school senior is a digital native who has been accessing online curriculum content since elementary school, came through facebook and twitter and beyond, with access to personalized on-screen edu-tainment.

Classrooms today are learning labs where students prepare for the world beyond school walls, equipped with the skills necessary: Communication, empathy, critical-thinking, and global citizenship. Schools continue to add and improve technological access to curricula across all grades yet there is little coordination to ensure media literacy skills acquisition. We must empower our children to be critical thinkers who analyze content in print and can navigate media in all of its forms to become informed digital citizens.

The internet is not going away. Our children must move beyond being media consumers to become media creators. Their future - and our democracy - depends on it.