Oftentimes people mistakenly assume media literacy is media production, film literature, or film analysis. Although these three disciplines are important and tangentially related to media literacy, they are not media literacy. It is important to make this distinction clear because media literacy, unlike the other disciplines, is an absolutely essential and necessary skill in today's world. The majority of information we receive comes from various forms of visual media. Because of this, if we are not media literate, then we are not literate in the 21st century world. It is important we shift from passively consuming media images to thinking critically about media imges. To do this we must learn to:
- read the visual media images;
- see the ways visual images are constructed; and
- understand how media images create a universal language that shapes the way we individually and collectively see the world.
In order to read or write we must be traditionally literate, however we can and do consume media without being media literate. We can all turn on and use a tablet, walk into a movie theater, and turn on a TV. Simply focusing on the storyline in media productions does not make us media literate. Media literacy has been a part of the educational system in many countries for decades and over the last several years has started to take hold in America. Let's talk images and help our children and students become literate in a 21st century world so they can be active and engaged citizens.