Media Literacy in the European Parliament
On December 16th 2008, the European Parliament approved a statement that should be celebrated by people like us, who believe learning and representation are inseparable. The document approved maintains that media education activities have to encompass all citizens – children, young people, adults, older people, and people with disabilities. It points out that acquiring media literacy begins in the home with learning how to select from the media services available – stressing in this regard the importance of media education for parents, who play a decisive role in the development of children’s media-use habits – and continues at school and during lifelong learning, and is strengthened by the efforts of national, governmental and regulatory authorities and the work of media professionals and institutions. The document also notes that the purpose of media literacy is to enable people to use media and their content in skilled and creative ways, critically analyse media products, understand how the media industry works, and produce media content by their own efforts. Media literacy thus denotes the ability to use individual media unaided, to understand, and bring critical assessment to bear on, the various aspects of media as such and media content, and to communicate – irrespective of the context – and create and disseminate media content. In addition that, given the many sources available, what is most important is the ability to separate out information from the new media’s flood of data and images and to categorise that information. It is evident many of us have been very much busy trying to make students acquire the abilities to produce multimodal messages typical of the digital age. We need to attend now the critical skills necessary to understand, select and such semiotic resources. I think developing a metalanguage which can be easily applied in classroom by teachers who are not semiotisians or media professionals is one of the most important tasks we have ahead of us.
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