Media Literacy and Its Use as a Method to Encourage Civic Engagement.
- Culver, S. H.
- Jacobson, T.
Changes in technology have opened up a new kind of participatory citizenry; one in which engaged citizens’ blog, post, tweet, upload, create, and otherwise interact with others online. This paper explores the intersection of media and information literacy with civic participation by examining three specific programs operating in the United States. These projects include «Powerful Voices for Kids», «The Salzburg Academy on Media and Social Change»; and «Cultivating the NetGeneration of Youth as Global Citizens and Media Literate Leaders in a Digital Age», in which educators and students at schools in the USA and Africa meet virtually and physically to explore collaborative methods that use media to build bridges of understanding. Through analysis of each program’s practices and personal interviews with the program director, consistent methods for developing a strong media and information literacy program with a focus on democratic participation are revealed. These include a need for programs to reflect a respect for student interest in popular culture, willingness for program educators to put aside assumptions that students lack an interest in current events, recognition that technology use is a means to an end, not the ultimate goal, and the utilization of a support team for the instructors or educators.