From Xbox to Twitter, the advent of new media technology has introduced a new age of learning, expression, and communication — it’s a new game. A full range of human emotions are now speedily expressed through emoticons, and conversations are distilled to 140 characters or less. The analog tape has unraveled from the reel, and Youtube is a synonym for video. Words like “internet” and “bandwith” have found their way into normal conversation and the term, “TV” no longer necessitates a 50-inch screen in the living room.
Just as the definition of television had to make room for Netflix and Hulu, our concept of literacy must stretch to embrace our new reality. It is no longer about reading and writing alone; it is about viewing and representation, and managing meanings and interpretations.
Enter media literacy – the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate messages and information in various forms. Similar to how literacy prepares automobilists to read and interpret traffic signs and signals, media literacy prepares youth to navigate media messages more safely.