Media Literacy Week was conceived in 2006 under the name National Media Education Week to promote media literacy as a key component in the education of young people and to encourage the integration and the practice of media education in Canadian homes, schools and communities.
Media are powerful forces in the lives of youth. Young people are immersed in media, moving beyond geographical and regulatory boundaries as they access, absorb, communicate, create and repurpose media content. And they're doing this largely without guidance and often without reflection.
To be media literate in this new environment, young people need to develop knowledge, values and a range of critical thinking, communication and information management skills - and media education is an essential tool in helping them acquire these skills.
MediaSmarts (formerly Media Awareness Network) and Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF) are working with an advisory committee, teacher and media education organizations and community groups to develop and promote a wide range of media education resources, professional development programs and youth activities in support of the week.
This year's theme
The theme for Media Literacy Week 2012, Privacy Matters, shines a spotlight on the privacy knowledge and skills that youth need for their online activities.
Over the years
Canada's Media Literacy Week has been building momentum and gaining collaborators since its launch in 2006. Previous years have been resounding successes with educators, broadcasters, community groups, academics and youth organizing media awareness events and activities, creating podcasts and teaching media literacy in classrooms across the country.
In 2010, we celebrated the 5th annual Media Literacy Week with a record number of sponsors and collaborators. Events included province- and territory-wide activities in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, organized in part by their departments of education. In other parts of the country schools and educational organizations held screenings of films created by students, hosted media literacy workshops, and -- for the first time ever – facilitated a Tweetshop where educators were invited to share their thoughts on technology in the classroom.
In 2009, Media Literacy Week marked several firsts – including the participation of a provincial ministry of education and the live streaming of two national events to mark the start of the week. The launch event in Ottawa included a lively panel discussion on the future of news gathering in the digital age which can be viewed on the MediaSmarts YouTube channel.
In 2008, National Media Education Week saw the launch of Passport to the Internet, an online tutorial to help students in Grades four to eight develop the critical thinking skills they need to navigate the Web in a secure and ethical manner. MediaSmarts and CTF also held a workshop for youth at Historica Encounters with Canada where they created public service announcements (PSA) to promote ethical and pro-social online behaviours and encourage a more positive image of young people's Internet use in the mainstream media. The PSAs played on the theme for 2008 – Think Critically, Act Ethically: Inside and Outside the Classroom – which encouraged young people to be ethical and responsible online citizens.
In 2007, the theme for National Media Education Week – e-Parenting - encouraged the active involvement of parents in their children's cyber-world. The week was the launch pad for Devenir e-Parent: un tutoriel pour suivre vos enfants en ligne, a French-language online tutorial for parents. To empower students, MNet and Shaw worked together to host MyMedia— a video podcast contest that challenged youth, in Grades 7 to 12, to create a video about how or why certain members of society are represented, misrepresented or absent from the media.
In 2006, the theme for National Media Education Week - A lot goes into media. What do you take out? - focused on deconstructing media and urged viewers, listeners and readers to consider what goes into media creation, and what meaning and messages can be taken out. A PSA based on the theme aired in high rotation across the country and was viewed online several thousand times. Also that year, educators were offered free online professional development resources through MediaSmarts' Media Education: Make It Happen! program.