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In our media-saturated culture, Media Literacy is a necessary skill to navigate the 21st century.  Students can gain these media literacy skills through the Global Johnny Appleseed Project in a number of ways.

Students must learn how to analyze, evaluate, critique and produce multiple media messages.  They must learn that they can have a voice and make a difference by using the tools available to them today.  These include not only web sites, blogs, virtual classroom project, television production, radio production, filmmaking, but print.

An interesting web page that may inspire many teens is Hollywood's Top 15 Green Celebrities.  These are celebrities that the students know and admire.  This page provides information on a myriad of examples of projects for protecting the planet.  They should inspire some ideas for you and students in gaining media literacy, using the media to create and sustain change, and to join or begin a service learning project.

Please visit our Service Learning page on this web site, and at

 Media literacy empowers people to be both critical thinkers and creative producers of an increasingly wide range of messages using image, language, and sound. It is the skillful application of literacy skills to media and technology messages. As communication technologies transform society, they impact our understanding of ourselves, our communities, and our diverse cultures, making media literacy an essential life skill for the 21st century.   (From the NAMLE - National Association for Media Literacy Education.) 

Click links below to additional information on Media Literacies!

Articles Online

Critical Media Pedagogy

The Language of Media Literacy - a Glossary of Terms, by Derek Boles

Schools and Programs

Sample Media Literacy Projects

Media Links

Film Study and Filmmaking for Students



 Definitions of Media Literacy

Media Literacy teaches analysis, access and production of media.  Media consist of "mediums" such as books, newspapers, billboards, magazines, comics, mail, packaging, jokes, radio, television, movies, software and the Internet.

        Joe McCannon, New Mexico Media Literacy Project

The ability to Access, Analyze, Evaluate, and Communicate information in a variety of format including print and nonprint.

Like traditional literacy it includes the ability to both read (comprehend) and write (create, design, produce). Further, it moves from merely recognizing and comprehending information to the higher order critical thinking skills implicit in questioning, analyzing and evaluating that information.

David Considine

"Media Literacy is concerned with helping students develop an informed and critical understanding of the nature of mass media, the techniques used by them, and the impact of these techniques. More specifically, it is education that aims to increase students' understanding and enjoyment of how the media work, how they produce meaning, how they are organized, and how they construct reality. Media literacy also aims to provide students with the ability to create media products."

Barry Duncan, et al., Media Literacy Resource Guide, Ontario Ministry of Education, Toronto, ON., Canada, 1989.

"Media Literacy is an informed, critical understanding of the mass media. It involves an examination of the techniques, technologies and institutions that are involved in media production, the ability to critically analyze media messages and a recognition of the role that audiences play in making meaning from those messages."

Rick Shepherd, "Why Teach Media Literacy," Teach Magazine, Quadrant Educational Media Services, Toronto, ON, Canada, Oct/Nov 1993

"All media productions embody "points of view" about the world. Whether these viewpoints are consciously intended or not, they manifest themselves through a variety of choices by the people who make them.

         What story will be told (or reported)?

         From whose perspective will it be presented?

         How will it be filmed (camera placement, movement, framing)?

         How will it be edited?

         What sort of music will be used, if any?

         Whose voice will we hear?

         What will the intended message be?

Questions surrounding the media's point of view will lead us to ask:

         Who has created the images?

         Who is doing the speaking?

         Whose viewpoint is not heard?

         From whose perspective does the camera frame the events?

         Who owns the medium?

         What is our role as spectators in identifying with, or questioning what we see and hear?

That's what media literacy is all about. It is an education that aims to increase an individual's understanding and enjoyment of how the media work, how they produce meaning, how they are organized and how they construct reality.

Media literacy also aims to provide students with the ability to create media products; it's hands-on training to teach critical viewing skills."

National Film Board of Canada, briefing notes for the Government Film Commissioner, 1993-1994.


"Media literacy seeks to empower citizenship, to transform citizens' passive relationship to media into an active, critical engagement capable of challenging the traditions and structures of a privatized, commercial media culture, and thereby find new avenues of citizen speech and discourse."

Wally Bowen, Citizens for Media Literacy, Asheville, NC, U.S.A, 1996.

"Media Literacy is an overall term that incorporates three stages of a continuum leading to the media empowerment of citizens of all ages:

The first stage is simply becoming aware of the importance of balancing or managing one's media "diet," that is, making choices and managing the amount of time spent with television, videos, electronic games, films and various print media forms.

The second stage is learning specific skills of critical viewing – learning to analyze and question what is in the frame, how it is constructed and what may have been left out. Skills of critical viewing are best learned through inquiry-based classes or interactive group activities as well as from creating and producing one's own media messages.

The third stage goes behind the frame to explore deeper issues of who produces the media we experience – and for what purpose? In other words: Who profits? Who loses? And who decides? This stage of social, political and economic analysis looks at how each of us (and all of us together in society) take and make meaning from our media experiences and how the mass media drive our global consumer economy. This inquiry can sometimes set the stage for various media advocacy efforts to challenge or redress public policies or corporate practices.

Although television and electronic media may seem to present the most compelling reasons for promoting media literacy education in contemporary society, the principles and practices of media literacy education are applicable to all media from television to T-shirts, from billboards to the Internet."

Elizabeth Thoman, Operational Definition of Media Literacy, Center for Media Literacy, Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A, 1995.

Critical Media Pedagogy

"Critical pedagogy considers how education can provide individuals with the tools to better themselves and strengthen democracy, to create a more egalitarian and just society, and thus to deploy education in a process of progressive social change.  Media literacy involves teaching the skills that will empower citizens and students to become sensitive to the politics of representations of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and other cultural differences in order to foster critical thinking and enhance democratization.  Critical media literacy aims to make viewers and readers more critical and discriminating readers and producers of texts.

"Critical media pedagogy provides students and citizens with the tools to analyze critically how texts are constructed and in turn construct and position viewers and readers.  It provides tools so that individuals can dissect the instruments of cultural domination, transform themselves from objects to subjects, from passive to active.  Thus critical media literacy is empowering, enabling students to become critical producers of meanings and texts, able to resist manipulation and domination."      (from Douglas Kellner, "Multiple Literacies and Critical Pedagogies" in Revolutionary Pedagogies - Cultural Politics, Instituting Education, and the Discourse of Theory, Peter Pericles Trifonas, Editor, Routledge, 2000).


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