To be literate in today’s society is much more than being able to read or write.  In a quick google search of different types of literacy, there is an overwhelming large list of different topics.

Assessment checklist icon. Feedback Or checklist concept illustration

  1. Digital
  2. Financial
  3. Functional
  4. Linguistic
  5. Cultural
  6. Mathematical
  7. Media
  8. Visual
  9. Computer

And the list goes on.  So what does that all mean?  Simple, we no longer are teaching basic literate concepts to students.  We have a much larger task, teaching them skills and topics that were not taught 20 years ago.  Added complications and complexities from a growing society, has led to these new topics.

So what is it to be literate in 2023?  Well I don’t know if anyone can truly define that.  Heck, even in class discussions it was hard to narrow down the definition of being Media Literate.  Due to the complexities and large scale of media, the best way to describe it would be the ability to critically process, evaluate, reflect, deconstruct, and participate, with numerous different sources of media including print, audio, and visual.

In Andrea Quijada’s Ted Talk, she outlines the roles educators and parents can play in the abilitiy to help children identify how to become critical thinkers when it comes to media.  As parents and educators, we need to show our students and children that there is more to media than just what is visually presented.  There is an untold story behind everything.

How do I deconstruct?

Truck layout, deconstructed. Beautiful illustration picture. Generative AICritical thinking is a top priority.  Being able to assess and question what is happening is key.  Students can usually talk about the things they are seeing or hearing, but being able to properly put that into context can be challenging.  They can be literate in describing the message, but what is the underlying subtext and untold stories that are being presented.  The importance lies in being able to identify who the message is for, and describing that targeted audience.  We want students to be able to become experts in decoding these messages, especially in advertising campaigns, where advertisers are masters in the techniques of persuasion.

Media Literacy is such a large and complex area of education and it has no limits to certain demographics.  In fact, many of our students would be more media literate than their grandparents in some cases.  With the rise of social media and the ability to quickly comment on and share, filtering content is a very important skill.  What and who can be trusted, and how to cross reference online are crucial skills.

What strategies do you find the best to teach how to “deconstruct” media messaging with your students or even your own children?  I find conversations with some simple questioning and sharing experiences, to be my go to.