Each year, the world celebrates the last week in October as Media Literacy Week, promoting media, digital, and information literacy. It’s a time for reviewing progress made towards UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy for All programme. A list of celebrations for this year, global media and information literacy awards 2021, and additional resources can be accessed here.
The UN General Assembly resolution commemorating this week cites the need for disseminating factual, timely, targeted, clear, accessible, multilingual, and science-based information. The resolution notes the digital divide and data inequalities existing in the world and recommends addressing them “by improving people’s competencies to seek, receive and impart information in the digital realm.”
What is Media Literacy?
According to Common Sense Media, “media literacy is the ability to identify different types of media and understand the messages they are sending.” This requires learning to think critically; becoming smarter consumers of products and information; recognizing opinions, points of view, and multiple perspectives of topics; creating media responsibly; understanding the role of media in our culture; and appreciating an author’s goal and possible biases.
A subset of media literacy, “digital literacy specifically applies to media from the internet, smartphones, video games, and other nontraditional sources,” including skills and ethical obligations when creating digital media. For more, consult this Media Literacy Now video.
How can you participate in Media Literacy Week events?
Media Literacy Week calls attention to media literacy education through events and activities across the country and around the world. Each day of Media Literacy Week celebrates one of the five components of media literacy: Access, Analyze, Evaluate, Create, and Act.
In the United States, Media Literacy Week is hosted by the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE). The organization is “dedicated to advancing media literacy education in the United States.” The organization’s mission “is to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education.” The NAMLE site has media literacy resources for students; educators, including a link to the association’s Journal of Media Literacy Education, an online, open-access, peer-reviewed journal; and parents, such as A Parent’s Guide to Media Literacy. For more about the State of Media Literacy Education in the U.S., consult the NAMLE Report, Snapshot 2019.
Events to consider attending
Many Media Literacy Week events are being held online this year. Daily events throughout the week sponsored by NAMLE can be found here. You might also check out the events sponsored by Canada’s MediaSmarts, such as Understanding Algorithms and their Impacts (Monday, October 25, 7-8PM via Zoom) or the Identifying and Discovering Resources Escape Room, and more. Additional MediaSmarts resources are available for parents and teachers.
On Wednesday, October 20, Pen America (pen.org) hosts an interactive media literacy workshop, Media Literacy in Tribal Communities and Protecting Collective Health. Register for the 3PM webinar. https://pen.org/event/media-literacy-tribal-communities/ .
Additional media literacy resources
NOVA librarians consult many media literacy resources as we prepare to deliver library instruction to classes on-campus or via Zoom. Here are just a few of our favorites:
Center for Media Literacy Literacy for the 21st Century: An Overview & Orientation Guide To Media Literacy Education, 2d edition
Free and open online courses are available for self-paced learning about Media and Information Literacy
California Department of Education Media Literacy Resources for the Classroom
Monmouth University library’s Media Literacy & Misinformation Research Guide
Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers by Mike Caulfield
If you can think of another resource, or a Media Literacy Week event you’ve enjoyed, post a comment and we’ll add it to the list.