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Understanding Media

By Media Literacy No Comments

There are three purposes of Media – To Persuade, To Inform and To Entertain, however, in my opinion, there is the fourth purpose and that is understanding perspective. Many young people are sharing their ideas, opinions and views on social media using self-created media. With over 1 billion people using Facebook, 1 million using Instagram, 1.5 billion using Whatsapp on a daily bases, it is so important for librarians, teachers, and technology teachers to have students understand media.

All our news, entertainment comes from Media. Dr. Anubhati Yadav, Department Head of New Media and Course Director of Advertising and Public Relations Course says, from 2 years old to adults all respond to media, therefore, it is important for students to learn about the purpose of media, how it is created and how students can use media effectively to create, learn and share. Today, being literate, meaning able to read and write is not adequate, it is important to be meta-literate, that is individuals can draw inferences, conclusions, and ideas from a variety of media products like infographics, maps embedded with media, videos, and virtual reality products.

Media literacy is the ability to understand how the media work, how they convey meaning. Media Literacy also involves critical thinking about the thousands of messages we are bombarded with on a daily basisFrank Baker in Media Literacy

Other than reading to students, librarians can embed “Media Literacy” in their curriculum. They can use advertisements in magazines and digital media products to teach students the elements of media and what it takes to create a message for the audience.  Common Sense Media and Media Smarts, have resources to support teachers. Mr. Frank Baker, a specialist in Media Literacy has a Media Literacy Clearinghouse to support educators. Renee Hobbs founder of Media Education Lab has resources to teach media literacy. Check out this video from Common Sense and 5 Essential questions to ask when viewing media.

Whatsapp Messages: How True Are They?

By Information Literacy, Media Literacy No Comments

Watsapp Messages by Riomar Bruno, – CC0 Creative Commons

Whatsapp messages: How accurate are they? According to the International International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, there are 750 million Watsapp users in the world. And 20 million are added every month all over the world. That’s a lot!

20 Million Watsapp Users in India by Statistics Inc

In India alone, according to the Mashable Survey. There are 200 million WhatsApp users, and if we put these two statistics together, there is no doubt that the numbers of social media users in India are growing at a rapid rate.  This is fantastic news! Information and media are being used by every person to communicate their thoughts, ideas, and messages efficiently.  Advertisers, political, social, religious and other parties are promisingly using the social media to benefit them.

As consumers, of these messages, it is essential for all: children, the youth, and adults to be able to evaluate these messages.  Three Questions to ask when you view a message:

  1. Why was this message/media created? [ Was it to educate me, persuade me, or entertain me]
  2. Who created this message? [ Marketers, Educators, Political or Ideological Parties]
  3. What values and points of views are embedded in this message? [Have they covered both pros and cons of the message]

Most messages on Watsapp are created without the author’s name. It is, therefore, crucial to know who the creator is. Is he/she an expert in the field?  Is the information or media backed up by real evidence? Is he/ she trying to persuade you towards the object or idea?

What if your best friend sends you a message about a remedy that will help you lose weight quickly or some herbal concoction that will help improve our child’s memory? For an intelligent adult like you, it is imperative to make a rational decision and not jump on the bandwagon of believing everything you read to be true. The internet has all kinds of information, and it is up to you to make right decisions for you and your family.

Here is another example of the Plastic Rice video that went viral last year. There were questions all over India that plastic rice was being substituted for real rice. Nobody did a fact check, the blame game and fear of plastic rice spread virally, hurting the rice manufacturers, hoteliers, and others. What a shame! We thought wise to pass on the messages to help our friends and family – Did we stop to ask these three questions. Did we check the origin of this video? What we did was add fuel to the fire. Think, evaluate before you forward any message next time.

You will need to do a fact check and research on the information you have received before accepting it or forwarding it. Is there enough evidence to back the claim that is being made, if yes,  go ahead and share otherwise PAUSE?  Boomlive. In, Factchecker are some of the fact-checking websites, that can help you identify fake from real. Adding a Fact Checker Extn on your internet browser can help you check your facts.

5 skills for today’s librarians

By Librarian's Role, Media Literacy & Information Literacy One Comment
Creative Commons: Disha Aswani

Supporting information and media literacy

Education in India is evolving and changing. Teachers are imbibing new ideas and strategies to impact student learning. It’s time for librarians to evolve, change and grow.  With a growth mindset for change and desire to be relevant, there are 5 skills for librarians to learn and build upon:

1. Learn a new tech tool or skill to help all learners, both adults, and students

2.  Skill to  curate, evaluate and use information ethically

3. Skill to decipher fake news from real news

4. Skill to critically evaluate media

5. Skill to create flexible schedules and lessons to support relevant information and learning in a digital world to all

Libraries are meant to be the center of learning and not a storehouse of books. Librarians are no more ‘keeper of books’ but supporters of learners. In this digital age, learning goes beyond the textbooks. Learners use the internet, youtube, and social media to learn about their hobbies, their interests, their queries and for entertainment. So, in today’s times and more than any other time that librarians need not only talk about change and read about the modern changes happening around the world, and take an active part in upskilling their role and positively impact learners.

Information and Media Literacy

By Media Literacy & Information Literacy No Comments

Learning together about Information and Media Literacy

This week I had an opportunity to meet with a group of librarians through MISA – Members of International Schools. We, Librarians, talked about the importance of Information and Media Literacy and how important it is for us to think analytically and critically about the information and media that we consume every day. Right from waking up in the morning, we are drawn to our mobiles for the WhatsApp messages, our Facebook or Instagram updates. Soon, after that, we turn our TV sets for our regular spiritual gyans, news or simply our private channels that we subscribe to. Our children are silent or active consumers of our morning routine. Each one of us, children and adults are then off to work or school and are continually bombarded with advertisements on buses, billboards, and trains, basically, our media-saturated world. Before we are misguided or misinformed, we must learn to understand, analyze, evaluate media and information, so that we are able to make informed choices. According to Center for Media Literacy, we need to be asking 5 questions: Who created the media?  What creative techniques have been used to create media?  How might different people view this message, differently from me? Why is this message sent?  What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in; or omitted in this message?

Asking these questions helps us navigate the busy media world in a safe way, Asking questions can help us make informed decisions about money, health, government, and work. We need to think about our beliefs, what is important to us and how we can make informed decisions that will help our family, friends, and humanity at large. Having diverse perspectives and multiple perspectives can help broaden our beliefs. What we must be careful of not being skewed in our thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. This happens when we begin to only view, read, and move to a direction of what we want to learn or continue to believe it. When we do this, we must consciously try and seek different perspectives so that we have a better understanding of a topic. Take for example” Raj adopted a Vegan Diet and his life changed for him. He was suffering from a Migraine,  now, he has few headaches. He insists his family move toward a vegan diet for good health.  He shares his experiences, his knowledge, and correct information about a vegan diet to all. Should I adopt a vegan diet, should I not analyze my lifestyle, my belief, and knowledge of other diets to help me make an informed decision that suits my physical and mental state of the body. Thus, learning to get a variety of perspectives from information and media can help me make informed choices.