HOW MEDIA ARTS EDUCATION ADDRESSES MEDIA LITERACY
FROM THE CA MEDIA ARTS FRAMEWORK
Digital Literacy and Citizenship for Creatives
“Students should gain fluencies in the evolving languages of interfaces, mediation, codes, and conventions, as well as contingent issues of power, persuasion, and cross-cultural collaboration, thus empowering them to critically investigate and use the effects and possibilities of various media.”
—National Coalition for Core Arts Standards, in The Inclusion of Media Arts in Next Generation Arts Standards (2012)
“Digital Literacy” is a critical aspect of media arts literacy as framed through media arts standards. California’s digital literacy legislation, SB 830, states: “‘Digital citizenship’ means a diverse set of skills related to current technology and social media, including the norms of appropriate, responsible, and healthy behavior.” In a media arts-centered culture, we are dependent on multimedia texts and experiences for our understanding of and ability to participate in and contribute to our culture and society. The importance of educating all students in forming, navigating, and negotiating digital environments is crucial to their well-being, as well as for our culture and democratic society.
Media arts standards-based education serves a proactive, leading role in developing all students’ capacities for critical autonomy. Critical autonomy is defined here as the independent ability to discern the value, veracity, and intentions of multimedia experiences. A significant aspect of this quality is conveyed through media arts production processes and the student’s resulting cultural agency. A selection of Responding and Connecting standards that address digital and media literacy include:
● Adv.MA:Re8: Analyze the intent, meanings and impacts of diverse media artworks, considering complex factors of context and bias.
● Acc.MA:Cn11a: Examine in depth and demonstrate the relationships of media arts ideas and works to various contexts, purposes, and values, such as markets, systems, propaganda, and truth.
● Acc.MA:Cn11b: Critically investigate and proactively interact with legal, technological, systemic, and vocational contexts of media arts, considering civic values, media literacy, digital identity, and artist/audience interactivity.
The creatively empowered media arts student knows their way around the digital environment, is grounded in their culture, and is confident in being able to assert their own perspectives. The creative empowerment of students can mitigate many of the negative aspects of digitally immersive environments that younger generations will increasingly encounter, including media misinformation, propaganda, and influence, as well as digital abuse, addiction, and social misconduct. This is another beneficial outcome of a distinct and fully established media arts education program. When combined with the mutually strengthening interrelationships among all arts and other subject areas, the entire system can unify and positively support students’ creative empowerment, critical autonomy, and cultural agency. Students of media arts can attain these specific standards-based outcomes toward digital literacy:
· creative capacity to produce impactful, multimodal works for specific audiences and contexts;
· ability to analyze diverse media artworks for bias and intention, manage multimodal experience, and form influence and persuasion through systemic communications;
· experiential understanding of the dynamic interrelationship of media arts and culture within virtual environments, global networks, and legal and market systems;
· capacity for appropriate, solutions-based, and ethical construction and use of multimedia; and
· capacity for critical investigation into and strategic interaction with legal, technological, systemic, and cultural contexts of media arts, considering digital identity, civic values, and community impacts.
Students of media arts are given unique opportunities to produce and create artistic work, just as artists and creatives in professional contexts. Media arts teachers must authentically and rigorously convey the benefits, rules, responsibilities, and safety issues to enable students to fully participate and create in ethical and meaningful ways in the context of our larger civil society.