In an age of ubiquitous messaging — replete with sound, text, video and still images — understanding the sources and inherent biases of both the technologies and message generators is more important than ever. It’s one of the reasons the Media Awareness Network and the Canadian Teachers Federation, together with more than three dozen collaborating organizations, partnered in 2006 to create Media Literacy Week, which this year runs Nov. 2-6. This year’s theme: Media Literacy in a Digital Age.
The organization’s website is loaded with hints for parents, educators, information professionals and media enthusiasts on how and why they should be part of the process. There are also plenty of resources, available online and for download.
London Public Library has scheduled two events as part of this year’s Media Literacy Week. The first, on Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m., consists of a screening of the film Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People. If you have a Google account, you can watch it here on Google Video. Following the film, I’ll moderate discussion by a panel consisting of Kane X. Faucher, an assistant professor in the faculty of information and media studies at the University of Western Ontario; Wael Haddara, a physician and a director of the Muslim Association of Canada; and Ghada Turk, an educator at the Al-Taqwa Islamic School in London, Ont.
The second event, on the following evening at 7 p.m., is titled Digital Media: The New Democracy. It’ll be a talk and discussion led by London blogger and creative thinker Brian Frank, exploring the notion that the digital revolution that is so dramatically changing our lives has links to ancient Greek notions of democracy — and what might be next. It promises to be an interesting evening.
If you believe in the importance of media literacy and think you can lend your insights to broaden understanding of the media and their many effects, get involved. Plan or attend an event — or simply encourage others to do so.