By Emily Ohara, Full-Time Faculty07.01.15
I recently participated in the NAMLE (National Association for Media Literacy Education) Conference as a representative of the JBFC. The conference is an annual gathering of educators and administrators who believe in the importance of, and necessity for, technological education. This year it took place in Philadelphia; and the City of Brotherly Love was a perfect setting to celebrate connectivity across cultures.
The NAMLE Conference allowed for me to hear from experienced educators but, more specifically, educators who see the value of technology and what an important tool it is for young people. Many of the conversations at this year's conference focused on the reality that today young children are surrounded by technology and can quickly become passive consumers of media. Consequently, there is a real need for educators to teach students not only how to thoughtfully and analytically consume media, but also how to be active participants, creators, and contributors.
The conference opened up with a very thoughtful keynote by Vivian Vasquez, Ed.D., a professor of Education at American University, whose presentation, Powerful and Pleasurable Teaching and Learning: Creating Space for Critical Space for Critical Literacy and Technology in Education, touched upon the importance of implementing technology as a medium for students to express themselves through. One example she provided was 100% Kids a podcast scripted, recorded, and produced entirely by 2nd graders. This was just one of many examples of the different kinds of tech tools that can be used in an education setting, outside of the category of film.
Over the next two days I attended several other interesting and engaging presentations on a wide range of educational and technological topics.
Transforming Teacher Education through Media Education, for example, offered creative strategies for integrating mobile technologies into education and demonstrated an interactive gallery walk approach to teaching augmented reality software using mobile technologies.
Another great and informative presentation was Promoting Cognitive And Social-Emotional Learning With App Generation: Three Frameworks To Explore Mindfulness And Respectful Connectivity Using Media Literacy. This workshop demonstrated how to use a media production activity, small group facilitation, and online resources to promote cognitive and socio-emotional learning. It showed how a thoughtful guidance of media literacy education can increase empathy, enhance sense of identity and deep thoughtful connectivity. Each presenter shared their work and offered instructional strategies to foster digital citizenship and compassion for our app generation students.
My final stop was Assessing Media Literacy by Examining Students’ Questioning Habits. Presenters, David Cooper Moore, Evelien Schilder, and Theresa Redmond, presented how media literacy education (MLE) has historically been taught by using a series of critical questions or key principles to guide learners as they engage in analysis, evaluation, and interpretation of media messages. Yet, assessment in the field of media literacy education is rarely addressed in the literature. The purpose of Cooper Moor, Schilder and Redmond's ongoing study was to develop a systematic way to assess students’ media literacy skills acquisition via their questioning habits, and to assess whether their questioning habits improved by taking a media literacy related course. The critical questioning habits of university students were assessed before (pretest) and after (posttest) they took a course in which media literacy was a key component. Students’ questioning habits were analyzed based on the complexity of questions they asked and the types of questions they asked. NAMLE’s Core Principles and Key Questions were used as a framework for analysis in their study.