Course Project: Media Literacy

This media presentation is about media literacy. Media literacy is often considered as a necessary skill in the 21st century, in which people live with more media and technology than any previous generations. Various forms of media have emerged since Marshall McLuhan coined the famous phrase “the medium is the message” in the 60s. According to the reports by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Pew Research Center, “Eighty seven percent of all young people between the ages of twelve and seventeen go online as both consumers and creators of media messages” (Considine, 2009, p. 72). Being media literate in this media age requires various skills and knowledge. In this presentation, I examine this essential skill in the media age.

The first part of the presentation examines how media literacy is defined. The National Leadership Conference on Media Literacy defines it as “the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and produce communication in a variety of forms” (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2003, p. 1). Media literate person should be able to demonstrate both passive and active skills with media. Critical thinking skill is also an important factor to become media literate. Brooks argues, “Being literate in a media age requires critical thinking skills that empower us as we make decision.” (Brooks, 1998, p. 269).

The second part of the presentation focuses on challenges with defining media literacy. Defining media literacy is a complex and contentious task because media literacy is a combination of various skills and disciplines. Several reasons why it is a challenge to define media literacy are discussed. I also argue that the definition of media literacy should continuously change because humans constantly create and adopt new media.

Media education has a significant role to help students become media literate. Some examples of media education models are shown. Media education needs to be both teaching with media and teaching about media (Considine, 2009). Brown argues, “A major goal of media education is to help recipients of mass communication become active, free participants in the process rather than static, passive, and subservient to the images and values communicated in a one-way flow from media sources” (Brown, 1998, p. 47). Establishment of national standards is necessary to determine whether a student has become media literate or not.

In the end, I argue that being media literate is a continuous process. What it means by being media literate constantly changes depending on what types of media humans create and adopt. A media literate person could become media illiterate in the future if he fails to make adjustments with new emerging media and technology. People must build upon existing media literacy in order to remain media literate in the future. This media presentation is my active participation in the media age we live in. Please watch the presentation and ask yourself what media literacy is and what it means to be media literate today.

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Brooks, Z. S. (2010). Is Media Literacy Passive or Active? Journal of Multimedia and Hypermedia, 19 (3), 267-286.

Brown, J. A. (1998). Media Literacy Perspectives. Journal of Communication, 48 (1), 44-57.

Considine, D. M. (2009). From Gutenberg to Gates: Media Matters. The Social Studies, 100 (2), 63-74

Christ, W. G. & Potter, J. (1998). Media Literacy, Media Education, and the Academy. Journal of Communication, 48 (1), 5-15.

Hobbs, R. (1998). The Seven Great Debates in the Media Literacy Movement. Journal of Communication, 48 (1), 16-32.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (2003). Key Facts: Media Literacy (Publication No. 3383). Retrieved from

Lewis, J. and Jhally, S. (1998). The Struggle Over Media Literacy. Journal of Communication, 48 (1), 109-120

Schwarz, G. (2005). Overview: What is Media Literacy, Who Cares, and Why? Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, 104, p. 5-17.

The Medium Is the Massage (Book). InWikipedia. Retrieved November 28, 2010, from

Audio Clips (Retrieved from YouTube)
Goldstein, K. (2006, October 12). Marshall McLuhan on YouTube. Retrieved from

Somethingnew (2006, August 22). McLuhan – The Medium is the Message. Retrieved from

Marshall McLuhan [Photograph]. (2010). Retrieved November 28, 2010, from:

Microphone [Clip Art]. (2009). Retrieved November 28, 2010, from:

Artist’s Statement in Word Document:

Media Literacy Video (m4v, 22.55MB):

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