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Project New Media Literacies

Project New Media Literacies

Written by Henry Cohn-Geltner
May 27, 2010

Project New Media Literacies (NML) is a research initiative that explores how we might best equip young people with the social skills and cultural competencies required to become full participants in an emergent media landscape and raise public understanding about what it means to be literate in a globally interconnected, multicultural world.

NML has developed a framework for thinking about skills that are important in being an active participant in public life as we are living in networked worlds, and illuminating how skills learned through traditional practices can be and are being cultivated through use of new media technologies.

While NML is a research initiative, they are integrating what they have learned through scholarship into an interactive, user experience called their Learning Library.  Here, visitors can participate in “challenges”, games that present case studies about topics like copyright, fair use, and creative commons, private and public spaces on the Internet, and remixing and appropriation, where you are given factual information and are asked to present opinions and evaluate the impact of these ideas on society.

By creating an account with NML, you can create your own challenges in the Learning Library, as well, and publish them to the website for others to experiment, play, and provide feedback.

A framing piece of research for the Project NML is the white paper, “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century”, written by Henry Jenkins and his colleagues.  The paper identifies and defines what participatory culture is and how youth are creating using new media to find new means of self-expression, identify formation, and network building.  They also identify new literacy skills that are important to become an engaged civic participant in the 21st century.

Educators can also view and download a number of instructional guides that will help them integrate the new media literacy skills into existing curriculum, particularly in the area of participation. 

They also have an on-going Ning, where educators and scholars at all levels of teaching are contributing to the dialogue about how they ensure development of these skills with students.  In this space you can access the Ethics Casebook, a guide featuring learning modules designed to prepare students to become critical, active participants in social and democratic life, as well as view webinars , videos produced from live discussions about important themes.

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