Magazine article Technology & Learning

Pictures, Propaganda, and A Thousand Words

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Pictures, Propaganda, and A Thousand Words

Article excerpt

It's hard to imagine anything more important than the challenge facing educators today to teach students to be media and information literate. One topic explored in this month's issue is visual literacy--the powerful impact of graphics, photos, and video, and the need to teach students to "read" these images intelligently. When it comes to imagery, print and TV are the media we think of first, but the Web--with its GIF, JPEG, and PDF files (see page 41)--has become an increasingly graphical environment.

And it's becoming a multimedia one as well. As MP3 fever demonstrates, audio is where it's at for young people on the Web today. And streaming video is where it's going to be next year. Although many of the resources listed in this month's cover article focus largely on media literacy as it relates to television, the worlds of the Internet and the so-called "mass media" are merging faster than many of us think. Not just students, but teachers and technology advocates, need to be reminded to step back from the glitz and production values and say, "Yes it looks good, or sounds great, or feels like fun, but what's it about?"

In future issues we will return in more depth to the topic of critical thinking and literacy as it relates to the more text-based aspects of the Internet--which certainly will not go away as other elements are added. How, for example, do we deal with students' widespread perception that "if it's on the Internet, it's true"? As with all types of media, it's crucial to help students develop a critical eye when surfing the Web. …

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