Non-print and Media Teaching Philosophy
Media and technology are often described in words that either exalt their benefit to the human condition or deride them as the culprit of many societal ills. Yet media and technology are tools, neither good or ill in and of themselves, and we cannot deny that media and technology are everywhere. Much of our success in maneuvering in a developing global community relies on being competent in media literacy. Like all texts, information, messages, and other sources to which we are exposed on a daily basis, we must learn how to critically assess the various communications that are presented to us. Much of the media that we see every day is meant to be processed peripherally, but part of being a good reader and critical thinker is knowing how to read any text, including those from media and technological sources, delving into the messages in-depth to explore issues such as author’s background and intent, sources of information, and style and purpose of the text.
With this rapid development of new media and technology, it is imperative that we consider the importance of incorporating media literacy and instruction in our classrooms. This can be accomplished by encouraging students to approach media through a critical lens, by using different types of texts and materials in the classroom, and by structuring assignments that will allow students to think about and use various media. This includes sources such as online newspapers and magazines, online videos, social networking sites, and blogs. To underscore the idea that, like traditionally defined conceptions of literature, these multi-media texts should receive careful study, they should be paired as much as possible in units with forms of writing more readily accepted as academic, such as novels, shorts stories, poems, essays and other literary works. Though much of the focus in standards and objectives is on teaching students to effectively navigate and use technology, it is just as important to challenge students to think about what media is, how it functions, and what implications its use has for society.
The foundation of all of this is an ardent desire to have students view not just media literacy, but education in the classroom as a starting point for lifelong learning. With much perseverance, students will continue to educate themselves within and outside the classroom, exploring their world and learning new technologies, challenging themselves to critically assess their views of that world, and striving to reach their own potential and encouraging their fellow human beings to do the same, all in a community effort to improve the lives of all global citizens.