In 2006 Henry Jenkins published a white paper identifying the challenges and opportunities for media literacy in our 21st century media culture. Since then, new ideas, new technologies, and new names have emerged bringing with them misunderstandings and rifts among educators. It’s time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we are now.
In March 2008, the US Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology convened an information session on media literacy that was open to all department employees. Kimberly Brodie, Special Assistant in the Office of Educational Technology, led the discussion. Tessa Jolls of the Consortium was an invited speaker, as well as Doug Levin of Cable in the Classroom, the U.S. cable industry’s education foundation.
Research that provides evidence of the effectiveness of media literacy education is so important, and yet can be so difficult to find. In this issue, we review the literature in the field, and we offer research and resources to contextualize the issues that need to be addressed to move the field forward.
In our research section, we review current research and trends in professional development for K-12 educators, and discuss the opportunities which recently developed models of professional development present for dissemination of media literacy concepts and pedagogy.
We review the Supreme Court case which struck down the 2005 California law banning sale of violent video games to minors, and explain why media literacy education could have fulfilled the intentions of the law. In our second article, we follow the progress of media literacy initiatives in the European Union, as well as problems that need to be resolved. An in-depth look at media violence was recently published by SAGE, and the Media Literacy Research Symposium brought together media literacy advocates from around the world.
Gateway Media Literacy Partners has been able to sustain an ongoing conversation about the importance of media literacy education across the St. Louis region. Researchers at the MacArthur Foundation imagine the directions learning institutions might take in response to the exponential growth of informal learning online.
The principle of media construction and other key media literacy concepts make it possible for students and adults alike to critically examine environmental news at a time when the stakes of environmental policy decisions could not be higher.
We report on exciting new developments in the field, beginning with the launch of a television network dedicated to educating audiences about key media literacy issues (Participant Media/pivot tv). Two peer-reviewed articles authored by Kathryn Martin Fingar, a researcher at the UCLA Southern California Injury Prevention Center, affirm the effectiveness of media literacy as a health promotion tool.