Live Long And Prosper:
Media Literacy in the USA
Author: John Pungente
Vol.8 No.2 Summer 1994
It's March 16, 1994 and
as the plane circles to land at the Los Angeles airport, I can see the
extensive damage done by the recent earthquake. When we touch down,
the pilot, after the usual announcements welcoming us to Los Angeles,
says Live Long and Prosper! Whether he is referring to the earthquake
or just trying to be humorous is unclear. No one pays any attention.
Did the reference to Star Trek elude everyone or did they just not care?
In April, 1994, President
Bill Clinton signed into law The Goals 2000: Educate America Act. This
bill details what USA school children ought to be taught and tested
on in certain subjects. States will get federal money - $400 million
- to develop performance and content standards, along with local governments
and school districts. The bill encourages voluntary "content standards"
in nine core subjects, English, mathematics, history, science, foreign
language, civics, economics, arts and geography.
The standards for Arts
will include Media Literacy at all primary and secondary levels and
so Goals 2000 becomes an important element in discussions on Media Literacy
across the USA. California plans to introduce new legislation on media
literacy in their war against television violence. Hawaii sees media
literacy as something to help prevent racism. North Carolina, Florida,
and New Mexico are other states which have educational legislation promoting
Between February and April
of this year, I visited some USA media literacy sites thanks to a foundation
grant. While I was not able to visit everyone an impossible task I did
see a fair number of people and spoke with others by phone. In the following
article, I've tried to summarize some of the work which various groups
are doing. It is by no means a complete accounting of all that is being
done but should serve as an introduction to the current USA media literacy
1: The National Telemedia
Council, Madison, Wisconsin
Begun by teachers in 1953,
the National Telemedia Council is a non-profit educational organization
which promotes media literacy for the young through teachers, librarians,
parents, media professionals, researchers, and others. The NTC serves
as a clearinghouse and center for media literacy. Its resource bank
offers access to media literacy material from around the world. A recently
added clearinghouse database makes much of this material accessible
NTC publishes the quarterly,
Telemedium, which contains articles by leading media literacy specialists,
book reviews, and classroom activities. They also send out Updates which
are bulletins to keep people in touch with what NTC is offering. In
cooperation with other organizations, NTC offers workshops and speakers
in Media Literacy. Most recently, on March 18, 1994, NTC presented a
Symposium on Media Literacy Education for Wisconsin teachers.
In Madison, I spoke with
Marieli Rowe, NTC Executive Director; Laura Bucuzzo, the NTC staff member
responsible for the clearinghouse database; Jean-Pierre Golay, NTC Board
Member and Honourary Fellow at the University of Wisconsin's School
of Journalism; Ellen Last, NTC Board Member and English/Language Arts
consultant for the State of Wisconsin; and Martin Rayala, NTC Board
Member and State Art Consultant.
The NTC's successes over
the years are many. The information offered by their clearinghouse is
used by many people across the country. Telemedium is a well respected
and well written publication. The various symposia which they have sponsored
have been well attended. It is clear that a strong leadership - including
a strong board made up of many elements of the community - has been
responsible for much of this success.
In conjunction with The
National Council of Teachers of English, the NTC is sponsoring a national
three day conference on media literacy at the University of Wisconsin
July 22 to 24. They are bringing in some of the key USA people as well
as an Australian expert. Over 150 are expected to attend from across
the USA. For more information contact Professional Development Services
at 800 369 6283.
The NTC tries to work in
cooperation with other media literacy groups in the USA. Their most
recent effort in this direction is The NAME/ NTC 1994 Media Education
Directory Project devised in conjunction with NAME (National Alliance
for Media Education) which is part of NAMAC (National Alliance for Media
Arts and Culture). Over 3,000 people were invited to send in information
about their work in media literacy. The results are now available on
a special database devised by NTC.
There is hope that those
on this database will come together to form an advocacy group which
will push for state by state legislation of media literacy. This same
group would also prepare curricula and support materials for legislators
As well, members of the
NTC board who are part of the state education system are helping in
the preparation of the National Standards document on Language Arts.
This is being done as part of Goals 2000.
Marieli was a most gracious
guide during my stay. She introduced me to a number of board members
and made sure I had a chance to speak with them about their work. Laura
Bucuzzo gave me a detailed demonstration of the new computer database
and explained their plans for future developments in this area. I had
the chance to see NTC in operation and was very impressed. As often
happened during our extended winter this year, a sudden storm dumped
14 inches of snow on Madison delaying my departure by a day. But that
in no way dampened my enthusiasm.
2: SWAMP, Houston, Texas:
There was certainly no
snow in Houston when I managed to get out of Wisconsin. Bright sunshine
and signs announcing an annual giant rodeo greeted me on arrival. This
was my first visit to Houston and it is a sprawling city with that special
western hospitality. It takes some getting used to for a visitor from
the east to be greeted everywhere by strangers.
SWAMP (The Southwest Alternate
Media Project) is a Houston based nonprofit regional media arts center,
which has conducted residencies in schools, community centers and art
organizations for almost twenty years. I visited with Deborah Leveranz,
Artistic DIrector and the person responsible for the media literacy
Over the past five years,
SWAMP has collaborated with the San Francisco based Strategies for Media
Literacy to develop training workshops and seminars which incorporate
analysis with aesthetic and production elements of media literacy.
SWAMP also conducts a variety
of introductory workshops, presentations and in service programs to
students, educators, artists, and business professionals. Such activities
have taken place not only across Texas but also in Washington,DC, New
Mexico, Massachusetts, and Oregon.
Another program is the
Video Arts Production Residency. Here student have the opportunity to
learn the basics of video production with a professional media artist
while developing media literacy skills and aesthetic sensibilities.
Deborah took me to visit such a program taking place at the Houston
School for the Performing and Visual Arts. This is an ambitious and
In June of 1994, Deborah
will run three one week Media Literacy Institutes for educators, artists,
administrators, and other interested groups. These institutes to be
held in Dallas, Lubbock, and Houston are a lead in and build up for
a July state wide conference Independent Images Conference to be held
in Houston. Up to 140 participants will meet at Rice University for
a five day conference which will involve national and international
media literacy specialists. It is hoped that a united constituency will
develop from these meetings which will advocate for state legislation
of media literacy.
3: Citizens for Media
Citizens for Media Literacy,
Asheville, NC and Appalachian State University, Boone, NC. Although
I was not able to visit these two groups, I want at the very least to
note their important contributions to USA media literacy.
In 1991, former UNC Asheville
journalist Wally Bowen founded Citizens for Media Literacy, a grass
roots teaching and advocacy project. I t is funded by a grant from Public
Interest North Car
olina, Inc., a project-oriented,
non-profit corporation. Citizens for Media Literacy serves as a clearinghouse
of information and curriculum materials as well as offering workshops
and symposia on media literacy topics for teachers and parents. It is
affiliated with the Annenberg School of Communications at the University
In 1993, Citizens for Media
Literacy published Get a Life!, a comic book which follows the a teenager
as he receives a behind-the-scenes tour of television. Although the
comic critiques television in general, its service that targets teen
agers and is now beamed into about 12,000 USA schools daily.
Appalachian State University
has one of the very few educational faculties in the USA which offers
courses in media literacy. This is primarily the work of David Considine,
Professor of Media Studies and Instructional Technology. As well as
teaching such courses, Considine and his wife, Gail Haley, Director
of curriculum and instruction at Reich College of Eduction, wrote Visual
Messages, the first of a new generation of USA media literacy texts
V.I.E.W is a series of
workshops developed by David Considine and Gail Haley for in service
teacher education on media literacy. These workshops have been given
across the USA. David is a board member of the National Telemedia Council,
and has written and lectured extensively on media literacy across the
USA at conferences and in services. He is in constant demand across
the USA and is one of the major forces in USA media literacy. Although
we have met at many conferences and talked on the phone, our schedules
were such that it would not have been possible to meet until August.
4: Northwest Media Literacy
Institute, Seattle, Washington:
As the result of a 1992
meeting of Seattle based media artists, educators and cable access activists,
911 Media Arts Center co sponsored with the National Alliance for Media
Arts and Culture and Seattle Central Community College, a national conference
on media literacy called Teaching Media Literacy: Talk Back and Take
Charge in April of 1993. Almost 200 artists, educators, parents, students,
producers, and media literacy specialists from the USA, Canada and Australia
met for a weekend of presentations.
Out of this conference
grew the Northwest Media Literacy Institute (NMLI). This non profit
organization has as its mission to advocate an interactive relationship
between citizens and media. This would be done by providing training
and media literacy resources to artists, educators, students, parents,
community groups and the general public throughout the Northwestern
Having been one of the
presenters at the 1993 conference, I looked forward to visiting Robin
Reidy, executive director of the 911 Media Arts Center, and Gloria DeGaetano,
director of Train of Thought Consulting. NMLI has begun its work by
focusing on establishing itself as a non-profit organization with a
board of directors and by making the public aware of media literacy
Gloria DeGaetano teaches
media literacy classes for the Division of Continuing Studies at Seattle
Pacific University. She works extensively with parent groups in media
literacy, publishes a newsletter, and has written Television and the
Lives of Our Children: A Manual for Teachers and Parents. Gloria is
one of the few USA media literacy people to work directly with parents.
Her book is filled with practical information and activities that parents
and teachers can use at home and in school. This is a most useful and
well written addition to USA media literacy materials.
5: Strategies for Media
Literacy, San Francisco, California:
A former television producer
and teacher, Kathleen Tyner founded Strategies for Media Literacy in
1989. Strategies is a national non profit organization that promotes
media literacy beginning in primary education. The organization develops
and publishes materials, identifies resources, conducts workshops and
serves as a center of support and contact for teachers of media in the
Strategies is the organization's
quarterly newsletter with articles, practical exercises, and resources.
They have developed workshops teachers and parent groups. Working in
conjunction with Deborah Leveranz at SWAMP these workshops have been
presented across the USA. Strategies also provides customized referral
lists of resources, of other media literacy teachers, and a speaker's
bureau. Their offices contain an extensive collection of world wide
media literacy materials and they are available for consulting in the
area of media literacy. Unique among other media literacy groups, Strategies
offers an electronic bulletin board service. This on line service provides
free information on current media education news and events.
Kathleen Tyner also guest
lectures at San Francisco State University, works with San Francisco
high schools to help them develop media literacy beyond the production
stage, and has developed an interactive video disc on advertising that
is very successful. She has found time not only to co-author Media and
You: An Elementary Media Literacy Curriculum but also to write a series
of articles on media literacy for a variety of magazines.
During my time in the Bay
area I spent a day talking with Kathleen about the current situation
as we drove about to various areas of San Francisco enjoying the sun
and sampling the coffee. She is determined to keep Strategies for Media
Literacy functioning because teachers and others need to see that someone
is there for them. Kathleen's dedication to media literacy is evident
in all that she does. This is true not only in her public work but also
in her conversations with other media literacy groups. She is the important
link in keeping the many varied elements of USA media literacy in touch
with each other. As Jean Luc Picard might say, "Make it so", Kathleen.
6: NAME/NAMAC, Oakland,
During the 1992 Independent
Images Conference in Houston, the National Alliance for Media Education
(NAME) was formed to connect and foster media literacy initiatives,
to bring together leaders in media arts education and industry, and
to support teaching of media in schools, media arts facilities and community
centers. NAME is a working group functioning under the auspices of the
National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC). NAME and NAMAC
are affiliated with the Commission on Media of the National Council
of Teachers of English.
In Los Angeles, I met with
Patrick Scott, of NAME, to talk about recent developments in NAME. NAME
sees media literacy as an interdisciplinary movement and so considers
it important to work with three specific groups: media artists, community
groups, and classroom teachers. NAME believes that each group needs
the other. Each group can also make use of the Media Education Directory
Project being done in conjunction with the National Telemedia Council.
This database can be used to design a curriculum outline that reflects
the needs of the three groups.
NAME is also collecting
student videos and has one available which contains sixteen videos from
nine states. Both the NAME brochure and the directory should be ready
shortly. NAME also hopes that by training people from each of the three
groups in the use of the database that the groups will learn of their
relationship to each other.
7: Center for Media
Literacy, Los Angeles:
The Center for Media and
Values is undergoing a change. Established in Los Angeles in 1989, as
an expansion of Media&Values magazine (first published in 1977), the
Center has been a leading publisher of media literacy teaching materials
for schools, churches, and community organizations. Most issues of the
magazine have been repackaged as a media literacy workshop kit for use
in schools and community settings. The kits deal with such topics as
sexism in the media, how to watch the news, media and democracy, and
Their most ambitious kit
Catholic Connections to Media Literacy was a 1992 project in collaboration
with National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). During 1993 94,
with a $75,000 grant from an anonymous Catholic foundation, the Center
initiated a series of workshops to train teachers and leaders across
the USA in the use of the kit.
Early in 1994, executive
director Liz Thoman announced major changes to the Center which would
now be known as The Center for Media Literacy. In Los Angeles, I met
with her and some of the Center's staff to discuss these changes.
Recently the Center published
two consecutive issues of Media&Values: Media and Violence, Part I:
Making the Connections and Part II: Searching for Solutions. These are
the last issues of the magazine as it currently exists. The cost of
sustaining a quarterly publication of that quality is no longer possible
for the Center. As well, according to Liz Thoman, What seems to be needed
in the media literacy movement now is a national publication that does
media literacy, not just talks about it. The new magazine will contain
more substantive articles on current media trends, activities for parents
at home, reports from teachers and leaders in the field, issue updates
and action ideas for getting involved.
The Center for Media Literacy
will include electronic networks and bulletin boards. The Center will
move beyond classroom teachers to parents, and other community groups.
As part of this action, the new catalogue will contain materials both
print and audio visual developed by groups other than those of the Centre's.
They will become a resource center for media literacy materials from
across the USA. The Center also hopes to develop and establish a team
of leaders who are able to do media literacy presentations for teachers,
church groups, and parent groups. This is a big change of direction
for the Center and we wish them good luck as they begin their new journey.
8: National Media Literacy
Project: Pilot State: New Mexico:
In March, 1993, New Mexico
launched the most extensive state-wide USA media literacy initiative.
The National Media Literacy Project: Pilot State: New Mexico was developed
by the Downs Media Education Center. This New Hampshire based organization
is run by Hugh Downs, host of ABC's 20/20, and his daughter Deirdre,
a writer, educator and television producer.
The project organizers
who have the strong support of the New Mexico state department of education
used the March gathering to bring together some of the top USA media
educators to help plan strategies for developing media literacy in New
By February, 1994, media
literacy was well entrenched in many New Mexico schools. Teachers are
eager to take part in the state-wide program and parents have also been
involved in home media literacy programs. The mayor of Las Cruces declared
April 8, 1994, Media Literacy day. Teachers and principals are being
trained by the Downs Center in many New Mexico cities.
9: University of Utah,
Department of Communication:
Karen Webster wrote me
from Salt Lake City in the middle of January and we spoke by phone in
April. Our conversations centred around a new media literacy initiative
in Utah. Karen has began work on an MA program in Mass Media Education
at the University of Utah studying with Jim Anderson, Chair of the Department
of Communication and one of the founders of USA media literacy.
This spring, Karen and
Jim began work on an elementary school media literacy research partnership
between the University of Utah's Department of Communication, the Salt
Lake City School District, and the KSL Broadcast Industry (a CBS affiliate).
This is a very exciting project which will include a news documentary
about the process of student learning when media and media literacy
is introduced into pre existing classroom assignment.
The research questions
will look at some very important questions: do students with advanced
media literacy training show a greater presence and skill in decoding
complex information; do students demonstrate sophistication of information
in the seeking out alternative information sources and in evaluation
of truth claim; and do students demonstrate the ability to make connections
between justifications advanced for some action and the role media play
in the form and content of that justification.
Karen also spoke of her
work in New Hampshire. The teachers there have taken over the media
literacy effort. Joshua Meyrowitz has agreed to serve as the academic
on site person and, together with Karen and Jim Anderson, will record
and evaluate the process of teachers grappling with adapting media literacy
into the basic curriculum.
10: Educational Video
Center, New York:
Begun in 1984, the Educational
Video Center (EVC) is a non-profit organization that promotes the educational
use of video in schools and youth programs throughout New York City.
They also offer documentary workshops for students and summer training
and curriculum materials for teachers. These lesson plans challenge
students to read, write and think critically about important issues
such as drug abuse, AIDS, and the environment. It is the hope of EVC
that through production students and teachers will learn media analysis.
EVC is well known in the
New York area for its successful work with high school students. Students
attend a workshop four afternoons a week for a semester and earn school
credit for their work.EVC documentaries have won over sixty awards nationally
and internationally and have been broadcast across the USA.
Although EVC is concerned
basically with production, Steven Goodman, founder and executive director,
assured me that critical thinking skills are an important part of their
workshops - especially for teachers.
Unfortunately, Steven was
away in England working at a BFI Conference while I was in New York
so we could not meet this time. However to make up for this missed meeting,
I had my first face to face meeting with a television star. Walking
down 5th Avenue, I saw Rob Morrow better know to those who watch Northern
Exposure as Dr.Joel Fleischman walking in front of me. I spoke to him
and told him how much I appreciated the show which is one of the most
intelligent and entertaining shows on network television. He was very
gracious though dressed in very unlike Joel Fleischman leathers complete
with a large gold earring.
11: Signal to Noise
and NYU's MAP
Steven Goodman did provide
me with an introduction to two people I had not met before Cara Mertes
and Norman Cowie. We spent a couple of hours talking in a SoHo cafe
about their work and its connection to media literacy. Norman, currently
Visiting Assistant Professor of Film and Video at the University of
Massachusetts at Amherst, is running the Five college Summer Institute
in Media Literacy and there is more background on Norman and the Institute
in the section on Summer USA Media Literacy Institutes.
Cara Mertes is an independent
producer, PBS Series Producer of independent film and video, curator
and media consultant. She is currently executive producer of Signal
to Noise TV Inside Out a three part series to be aired next year. The
series is about getting the shimmering screen and understanding that
television is a relationship; and one that we cannot take for granted.
The first program, Watching
TV Watching Us examines the business of television and how television
culture is a byproduct of the business. The second program, TV Reality?
tracks down a news story from the viewpoints of producers, subjects
and viewers and shows how different audiences see the same news portrait
differently. The third program, TV Tomorrow showcases grass roots efforts
to use media, the media literacy movement, public access and media watchdog
We were joined all too
briefly by Barbara Abrash, Associate Director of New York University's
Center for Media, Culture and History. Barbara spoke of her work with
Catherine Egan, Director of NYU's Academic Media Services, about the
Media Alternatives Project. I spoke later with Catherine by phone and
she sent me a copy of Mediating History the book she edited with Barbara.
The Media Alternatives
Project was initiated to promote the use of independently produced multicultural
video as an aid to teaching American history and cultural studies. The
goal is to help students examine visual materials with a critical eye
and look at film and video as an historical resource. Mediating History
contains an annotated listing of more than 100 such videos as well as
I should like to thank
Cara and Norman for seeing me through the complexities of using the
New York subway system at night. An exhilarating experience but one
that I would recommend for the faint of heart.
12: Dr. Rene Hobbs:
It was pouring rain on
my arrival from New York and so I saw little of Boston the first evening.
The next day, Rene Hobbs and her young son kindly invited me to joint
them for a visit to The Children's Museum with its wonderful media literacy
exhibit. The area was filled with young children clearly enjoying the
hands on aspect of the exhibits and learning all about media as a construction.
Media literacy in action!
Dr. Rene Hobbs is Associate
Professor of Communication at Babson College and Lecturer on Education
at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is the co-author of TV
Eyes: A Curriculum for the Media Arts, for grades 7 through 12 which
combines video production activities and critical viewing skills. Director
of the Harvard Summer Institutes on Media Education and founder of the
Harvard Media Education Study Group, Rene=E9 has just hosted a 30 minute
video Tuning In To Media: Literacy For the Information Age for Cable
in the Classroom and The Learning Channel. It is a very good examination
of television news' coverage of the LA riots and how this footage was
used in an episode of Doogie Howser.
Much of my time with Rene
was spent in discussion of what has come to be known as The Billerica
Initiative. Designed by Dr. Hobbs, this is the first district-level
effort nationwide to implement comprehensive media literacy education
through Grades K to 12, fully integrated within existing subject areas.
It has gained the attention of the academic community, educational publishers,
video manufacturers and the media.
There are four components
to the Billerica Initiative:he Master's Degree in Media Literacy: This
field-based Master of Education program is the first such degree program
in the nation and will serve as a model for other districts. The program
consists of 12 graduate credit courses in collaboration with the Merrimack
Education Center and Fitchburg State College. Thirty teachers from K-12
schools in Billerica are now enroled in the program. These teachers
will be the trainers for continued professional development at other
regional and national sites. This is a method that has worked well in
Scotland and looks to succeed here.
Assessment of Student Learning:
This is a plan for designing
a comprehensive assessment methodology, with specific benchmarks of
the performance expectations for students.
Outreach to the Professional
This component aims to
provide information to educators regionally and across the USA about
the design andimplementation of the Billerica Initiative. Through print,
video, and teleconferencing Dr. Hobbs will share what she has learned
for others who wish to use similar methods.
Technology in the Schools:
This is a plan to bring
video production technology to every school in the district, making
it possible for teachers to include hands-on production exercises for
students at all levels of media literacy courses.
Following a quick but fascinating
tour of Boston and Harvard which reminded me of colleges in England
Rene drove me to Billerica where we watched one of the sessions. I was
very impressed with what I saw. The interest and keen participation
of the teachers was obvious. The Billerica Initiative is working well.
As we were driving back
to Boston from Billerica, Rene and I talked about the future development
of USA media literacy and she expressed the following fears:
There is a notion that
media literacy should be used only for the "problem" student as one
way to deal with difficult students. We need to move away from such
thinking by making certain that the best teachers teach the media literacy
There is the beginning
of a backlash from the cultural literacy people in charter schools.
These are schools which compile a list of what must be taught, a set
of knowledge students need to be culturally literate. This group rejects
There is an uncertainty
about the kinds of literacy skills needed for the year 2000. There is
a fear that media literacy will push out the traditional literacies
of reading and writing. There must be a balance between print and media
skills for media literacy includes reading and writing. This is a real
fear for many USA schools see production as media literacy especially
in urban inner city schools.
There is the possibility
that media literacy will be turned into the same old mould of teaching
as any other subject. In reality media literacy should be the model
of a new way of teaching in the USA.
There is a fear that the
"short fix" version of media literacy will become standard. Media literacy
specialists will come into the schools and do a one-shot performance.
This is considerably cheaper than the Billerica Initiative but is no
challenge to the existing system and will not further media literacy.
13: Boston Film/ Video
Foundation and The Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities
The Boston Film /Video
Foundation (BF/VF) is New England's largest media arts center. Founded
in 1976, it has been designated by the National Endowment for the Arts
as the major media arts center serving the region. BF/VF's purpose is
to encourage public understanding and use of the media as creative forms.
They offer over one hundred courses in production each year as well
as present screenings and make available affordable production and post-production
The Massachusetts Foundation
for the Humanities was established in 1974 and is a private non profit
organization affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities.
It provides grants and services for adult educational programs in areas
of special interest or concern.
In 1994 the Foundation
will launch an initiative designed to increase public understanding
of the profound influence of the mass media, particularly television,
on USA culture. As part of the preparation for this, the Foundation
is sponsoring three summer institutes in media literacy. In the fall
of 1994, the Foundation will sponsor a series of programs meant to engage
the general public in discussion on the role of the media in society.
During my visit to Boston,
I met with BF/VF's Executive Director, Anne Marie Stein, and Gail Reimer,
Associate Director of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities.
We discussed the role which the two organizations are playing in the
development of media literacy through the summer institutes and the
publishing of TV Eye: A Curriculum for Media Arts. This student text
is being written by Dr. Rene Hobbs of Harvard and Brenda Miller, an
independent video artist.
I was impressed with the
strong wish by the BF/VF to be a part of media literacy and to help
teachers organize the production aspect of their courses. Gail Reimer
expressed the Foundation's strong belief that media literacy courses
have a firm basis in critical theory and analysis. The cooperation that
these two groups have with Dr. Rene=E9 Hobbs teacher training program
is a good example of what is possible in the USA media literacy scene.
This cooperative effort bringing together media artists, foundations,
and educators will be most beneficial in developing media literacy across
14: A Summer of USA
Media Literacy Institutes:
University of Dayton, June
13 to 24 Seminar on Media Literacy for Catholic Educators June 13 to
17 will be an intensive seminar on Media, Symbol and Spirituality with
Pierre Babin,OMI of France. June 19 to 24 provides an introduction to
media literacy theory and practice. Contact: Sister Fran Trampeits (513)
University of Massachusetts/Amherst,
June 27 to July 1 Five College Summer Institute in Media Literacy Funded
by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, the Institute will
provide 20 secondary school teachers from Western Massachusetts with
an introduction to the field of media literacy. I met with Norman Cowie,
Visiting Assistant Professor of Film and Video, who is organizing the
Institute, and was pleased to note that the presentations will include
material on critical thinking skills and analysis. An independent producer,
Norman was hired to develop and implement a critical media pedagogy
which seeks to integrate the theory and production of the moving image.
He will be responsible during the institute for translating issues of
theory and criticism into practical classroom exercises. Contact: Five
College/Public School Partnership (413) 256 8316
New York University, July
10 to 15 Institute on Media Literacy and Education
Co-directed by Neil Postman
and Dr. Kate Moody, this Institute will feature morning presentations.
Afternoons will be given over to small group discussions. K to 12 educators
from across the USA will present case studies and make materials available.
Contact: Kate Moody (212) 998 5090
Columbia University, New
York, July 11 to 15 Media Literacy: Integrating Print and Television
Into the Classroom
Focusing on the use of
print and electronic media in the classroom, this program will look
at what media literacy is and why it is important. Contact: Rosemary
Truglio (212) 678 3974
Clark University, Worcester,
July 11 to 15 Media Literacy: Preparing for the 20th Century
The Newton Television Foundation
in collaboration with the Hiaat Center for Urban Education and the Visual
and Performing Arts Department at Clark University organized this Institute.
It will bring together 20 high school teachers from Worchester and Newton
in order to have them think critically about the media. The organizers
of this institute do promise to offer follow up support to the teachers
for specific projects next year.
Wheelock College, Boston,
July 11 to 15 Media Literacy Institute
An academically oriented
institute designed for elementary school teachers and concerned with
the cultural, economic and political context of the media in a multicultural
society. It is their hope that such analysis will inform the development
and implantation of elementary level media literacy curriculum.
National Council of Teachers
of English, July 22 to 24Media Education: Instructional Imperatives
for the Year 2000
A weekend conference, held
at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, will gather educators and media
literacy experts from across the country. Participants will discuss
and debate theory, practical methods and cultural concerns. Contact:
Linda Oldham (800) 369 6283 ext.282
Harvard University, Cambridge,
July 31 to August 5 Institute on Media Literacy Returning for a second
summer, this institute is hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
The purpose is to show educators how to develop systematic programs
which integrate media literacy concepts across the subject areas of
language arts, social studies, science, health, and the visual and performing
arts. Contact: Leila Seropian (617) 495 3572
15: And Thank You
It would not be possible
to conclude this brief overview of some of the USA media literacy initiatives
without thanking those who took time from their busy schedules not only
to talk with me but to offer gracious hospitality. Thanks very much
to all of you. Among the many memories of the trip coffee with Kathleen
in San Francisco's North Beach area and a visit to City Lights Bookstore;
Italian waiters with Texan accents in Houston; Marieli's driving through
a blizzard to take me to lunch; Cara and Norman guiding me carefully
around a subway entrance that looked like a scene from a Scorsese film;
Rene=E9's marvellous tour of Harvard's gates; attending Palm Sunday
services at the Actor's Church in New York and meeting Dr. Joel Fleischman!
The story of the airline
pilot with which I began this section should be recalled at the end.
For in many ways this incident is an analogy for media literacy in the
USA. Having survived the problems of the 1970's and early 1980's, USA
media literacy is growing once again. It is right to say: "Live Long
Appalachian State University,
David Considine, Curriculum and Instructor, EDH, Boone, NC 28608 USA
Boston Film/ Video Foundation,
Anne Marie Stein,1126 Boylston Street, Suite 201, Boston, MA 02215 USA
Center for Media Literacy
(CML), Liz Thoman, 1962 South Shenandoah, Los Angeles, CA 90034 USA
Citizens for Media Literacy,
Wally Bowen, 34 Wall Street,
Asheville, NC 28801 USA
Norman Cowie, 100 South
College, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
Downs Media Education Center,
Deirdre Downs, PO Box 1170, Stockbridge, MA 01262 USA
Educational Video Center,
Steven Goodman, 60 E.13th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10003 USA
Rene Hobbs, Babson College,
One College Drive, Wellesley, MA 02157 USA
for Humanities, Gail T. Reimer, 80 Boylston Street, Suite 1000, Boston,
MA 02116 USA
Media Alternatives Project,
Avery Fisher Center for Music and Media,70 Washington Square South,
New York, NY 10012 USA
National Alliance for Media
Arts and Culture, Julian Low, 201 655 13th Street, Oakland, CA 94612
National Alliance for Media
Education, Patrick Scott, 845 N. Benton Way, Los Angeles, CA 90026 USA
National Telemedia Council,
Marieli Rowe, 120 E. Wilson Street Madison, WI 53703 USA
911 Media Arts Center,
Robin Reidy, 117 Yale Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109 USA
Signal to Noise:TV Inside
Out, Cara Mertes, 594 Broadway, #610, New York, NY 10012 USA
Strategies for Media Literacy,
Kathleen Tyner, 617 1095 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 USA
SWAMP, Deborah Leveranz,
1519 West Main, Houston, TX 7006 USA
Train of Thought Counselling,
Gloria DeGaetano, PO Box 311, Redmond, WA 98073 00311 USA
John J. Pungente, SJ
Jesuit Communication Project
300 - 47 Ranleigh Avenue
CANADA M4N 1X2
Phone: (416) 488-7280
Fax: (416) 488-8360