Saturday, October 3, 2009

Am I Media Literate?

Over the past few weeks, I've been working collaboratively with some amazing innovators from around Manitoba. We've been planning a series of projects on the topic of 'Media Literacy', which has forced me to continuously ponder the question, "What does it mean to become media literate?"

Here in Canada, the Media Awareness Network offers some great resources to help teachers, parents and students understand what it means to be media literate. They've broken media literacy down into several components, including the ability to access, consume, evaluate and create information. The Media Awareness Network is also responsible for establishing Media Literacy Week, an annual event that's celebrating its fourth occurrence November 2nd-6th, 2009.

Media Literacy Week will feature a variety of live events taking place across the country. Here in Manitoba, we're (MECY & ManACE) planning a unique event that features short virtual presentations from many innovative educators across the country. Mark your calendars for the evening of November 2nd, as you won't want to miss this event! Even if you're nowhere near Manitoba, the presentations and the panel discussion that follows will be broadcast via uStream to facilitate virtual participation :-)

Another project we've been working on has to do with demonstrating media literacy. We've created a short video to spark people's thinking about what it means to be media literate. It's been posted to YouTube, and our hope is that this seed video will prompt teachers and students from around the world to post their video responses to demonstrate their own media literacy. This video should generate some great classroom discussions about what it means to think critically & creatively, and to use technology ethically & responsibly.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this video that we've produced. And I'd love it even more if you shared it with your students and/or your fellow educators. If you took the time to pop over to our YouTube channel to post a video response, that would REALLY make me happy :-)


Friday, October 2, 2009

The Tides of Change

Image: 'time disappears' -

As Google Wave begins to wash over us, we're bound to see another dramatic shift in the way we access ideas & information, and the way we connect to friends, family and experts in the field.

Over ten years ago, Google began to shift our thinking. For years, they've been increasingly impacting our online experiences. Google has been the dominant factor in shaping the internet r/evolution...

Google's success comes with a price - they have to answer a LOT of questions. While Google can provide quality answers to some excellent questions, they're also required to address many questions that are trivial, mundane, ludicrous and even absurd. Google doesn't have a choice - they must instantly produce an answer to any question that is asked.

As an educator, I've often told my students, "There's no such thing as a silly question". Well, that's just not true. By taking a look at Google's auto-complete entries when typing in a question, you'll come to discover that there are, indeed, many silly questions. And what's worse - millions of people around the world are asking the same silly questions! Here are just a few examples of the questions that are being asked of Google:

Are you one of the 17,500 people who've already asked Google this question?

Okay, maybe this is a good question ;-)

1.3 million young males with low self-esteem just gotta know...

Almost 3/4 of a billion people have gone to Google - hoping to see their own name atop the list?

No, really... to whom were these questions asked before Google???

How many times have you thought to yourself, 'If I had a nickel for every time I answered that question...' Well, Google's found a way to do just that - it's how they've built up their billions...

And that's just the beginning. Let's sit back, relax, and watch what happens as Google Wave spawns the new tides of change :-)

Now I just have to wait until I get to dip my toes in the water - I'm hoping Google Wave washes it's way toward me soon...