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Student Guest Post: We are Media

Who better to reflect on the 2/19/14 screening of “Eyes Wide Open: This is Media” than a media-savvy pre-service teacher in attendance? A special thanks to Melissa McHugh for her blogpost and also for live-tweeting the event.

By Melissa McHugh | Graduate Student | Master of Arts in Teaching | Montclair State University

A giant stone face at The Bayon temple in Angkor Thom, Cambodia Last week I had the opportunity to attend a screening of the documentary Eyes Wide Open: This is Media, produced by Pivot Media and the National Association for Media Literacy Education.  Pivot Media describes the film as “a digital and media literacy campaign to provide Millennials with the information and tools to use media effectively.” One of the ideas that most resonated with me was the notion that we are ALL media makers.  Who knew? I certainly had never thought about my use of social media like that – I’m not a producer.  I’m not a journalist.

The idea that everything we put online is considered media hadn’t occurred to me before.  It made me wonder about the information I had recently obtained from my daily Twitter scan or from that link posted on a friend’s Facebook page.  Was what I had read true? Was the information complete? Or was it biased?  As a future educator, I believe these are questions that all teachers need to be aware of in today’s digital ageAs technology and digital media become more prevalent in society, it only makes sense that they become more prevalent in education as well.  With the integration of technology into the lives of students, it then becomes important that teachers are able to discern what information is accurate.  Cultivating multiple sources and trying to decode the bias in them is integral in gathering accurate information to incorporate into our lesson plans.  As teachers, we are supposed to be verified sources of information, and in an age in which most everything is found online, it is more important than ever to know how to substantiate information. In addition to content, we need to teach our students the media literacy skills to be able to determine what is reliable on their own.  It is important that students ask the same questions we ask as educators to discern what information is best to use and absorb moving forward.  One day they may be expected to be verified sources of information. We, as teachers, need to provide them with the skills to be competitive and competent to perform up to 21st century standards.

We need to ensure what we publish online and what we obtain from digital sources is reliable. We need to consider the implications of sharing inaccurate information. We are the media makers – and with that title comes great responsibility.

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 The film screening was made possible by a grant through pivot tv and the National Association for Media Literacy Education. Additional thanks to Montclair State University for hosting the screening, and for all the panelists and students who participated in a lively discussion.

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