Media Literacy Week 2011: Digital Citizenship
Adults may feel that their kids know more about the digital world than they do, but while creating blogs, downloading apps and socializing online seems second nature to youth, they don’t always think critically about what they’re doing. They don’t necessarily know how they can use these tools to affect positive changes in their lives, in their communities and on a global scale.
Under the theme Digital Citizenship, Media Literacy Week (November 7-11, 2011) encourages parents, teachers and community leaders across Canada to join together to help youth explore the many opportunities digital media offer for advocacy, creative expression and civic engagement. The week is also a time to remind young people of their rights and responsibilities as digital citizens.
Since 2006, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation and Media Awareness Network have been hosting Media Literacy Week to promote media and digital literacy as key components in the education of young people. While the theme may change each year, the goal remains the same – to help young people develop the critical thinking skills necessary for active and informed engagement with media.
Each year ministries of education, teacher associations, NGOs, community and youth-based organizations, and individuals across Canada plan media literacy activities in recognition of the week. Successful activities from last year’s week, which focused on media and gender representation, included:
The Media Literacy Week Web site is a great place to start if you are interested in participating in an activity in your community or would like to organize one yourself. For a list of events associated with the week, check out the Events Calendar page. If you are interested in doing an activity but don’t quite know where to start, the Ideas for Activities page is a great jumping off point.
- a series of free workshops on gender and media literacy for schools and community groups hosted by Montreal’s Atwater Digital Literacy Project;
- a Manitoba-wide project that had students discussing gender stereotypes and challenging the media to create more realistic portrayals of men and women;
- a screening of films produced by students from the Digital Film Communication course at Crofton House School;
- a media literacy conference hosted by the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education;
- a discussion of girls and video games with female secondary students and women from Vancouver’s video game industry; and
- media literacy workshops at Nouvelle Querbes Elementary School and Joseph-François Perrault High School hosted by a Montreal-area educator.
As adults, we have a huge role to play in providing the mentorship and support youth need to understand the responsibilities of participation and citizenship in all the communities they inhabit. They need to see themselves as agents of change with the power to positively influence and shape digital culture. Media Literacy Week 2011 provides a focal point for young people to think and talk about how digital tools can be harnessed for e-citizenship.
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