Media Literacy and Major Project – Update 3

From working through the readings and thoughts of myself and my group members this week, I think we all have come to the conclusion that the concept of media literacy is one that is extremely difficult to define and pin down.

I think that in order to be fully literate in today’s world you have to be able to streamline information. Echo discussed in her chosen article that gatekeeping is an essential skill in the modern information age. To me, this means being able to selectively pare down the gigantic wealth of information we are bombarded with constantly. I think that a lot of the disinformation and misinformation issues we see in today’s world are the result of individuals becoming completely overwhelmed with the amount of information they are intaking, and therefore failing to completely analyze it.

From all of this, the question that has been rolling around my mind lately has been – how much does media literacy matter? That seems like a loaded question. Of course it matters, and matters quite a bit. At least at some intrinsic level, there is obviously value in being able to separate fact and fiction and engage authentically with ideas presented to us in the media.

What I mean when I ask that question is more of a ‘cynical’ take I suppose. How much does media literacy matter when our social systems seem to take no punitive measures against those extremely powerful individuals and collectives that are consistently and intentionally deceitful? In the past ten years, the concept of a “post-facts society” has become more and more prevalent. The idea behind post-fact society is simple: it is a “political culture where facts are considered irrelevant”, to quote Wikipedia. Since the 2016 election (which as noted in my reading was a pivotal moment in media literacy), the term post-fact has been used increasingly to describe the world we live in. It seems to me that we are heading deeper into this world. So this is where my question (basically rhetorical at this point) comes from. What does the ability to separate fact and fiction actually get me if “fact” doesn’t really matter anyways?

Again, of course I still see the value in media literacy. I’d like to believe there is an inherent “good” in being able to demonstrate media literacy regardless of the political culture we live in. As Jennifer’s article (Teach Them Well) points out, media literacy still has the positive potential to impact things like sexism and racism. It allows people, specifically our students, to interrogate the biases that many hold on to since early childhood.

As a major project update:

The script for my major project video is coming along nicely. I’m in the stage right now I often find myself in where I need to find a focus and narrow down my topic. I like to put a lot down on the page and then pare it down from there, so that’s what the next few weeks will be looking like. I’ve also been able to experiment even more with AI this weeks which helps me in this experiential journey. Part of my project is about opening myself up more to use AI tools as an educator. For instance, I used ChatGPT this week to quickly generate an extra practice worksheet for my science 10 class.


Looking forward to hear your thoughts.

2 thoughts on “Media Literacy and Major Project – Update 3

  1. Hi Cole,
    Your question – “How much does media literacy matter when our social systems seem to take no punitive measures against those extremely powerful individuals and collectives that are consistently and intentionally deceitful?” – really got to the (cynical) heart of what I have been feeling lately. As much as I educate myself and others, I feel as if I am pushing against a mountain of disinformation and (as you said) total disregard for facts…unfortunately, even in my own extended family. Digital literacy does matter, but the odds seem stacked against us. When discussing the importance of fact-checking information online, one of my students (who is awesome in every other way) said: “I don’t really care…I don’t care if they lie to me.”Ahhh! Still, for every student I have like that, I have five more who are beginning to critically think about the illusions projected on our screens. If we stop learning, stop educating, stop holding big tech accountable, lying politicians accountable, racism and sexism (and every “ism” online) accountable….well, we just can’t. As you (and Jennifer) said, the positive potential for online culture exists, and we must help create and share it. I’ll get off my soapbox for the day now 😉

  2. It is hard not to anthropomorphize something you are having a text conversation with and responding to you. I call it my personal assistant, but it’s not human. It isn’t a moral being, which means we have to be discerning using the information that it provides. In some ways, I feel like it is neutral but I also recognize that the data AI is trained on is not. I think our fear is grounded in how the internet is not neutral and the amount of misinformation on the internet, but the comparison between AI and the internet is not fully accurate. Moreover, you are 1/2 of the conversation, so what you bring to the conversation shapes the responses from AI.

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