Literacy By Choice

According to Henry Jenkins, literacy in the media sense is more than what we can do with printed matter; one is not automatically presumed literate just because they can read and right. So, is one media literate if they consume media but do not produce? As media continues to grow so does our access to consuming and publishing. In order to be considered literate one must know how to express their ideas through various platforms.

Heather Lawver created “The Daily Prophet” after reading the first Harry Potter book. This is an online newspaper about the fictional Hogwarts that children can post articles on. Lawver personally edits each article and provides grammar tips and feedback to her writers. This is a platform that goes beyond traditional schooling because students can publish articles based on their personal interests and are still learning. “Schools are still locked into aFantasy-Books-fantasy-15760653-1356-858 model of autonomous learning that contrasts sharply with the kinds of learning that are needed as students are entering the new knowledge cultures” (Jenkins 183). No two students learn the same way or have the same interests. Those that feel passionately about the Harry Potter lifestyle can be as creative and quirky as they want. They can create new fantasy characters, add to the existing story, and more, with the digital options we have today the possibilities are endless. Naturally, writing is going to come out a better product if the author feels excited and passionately about their topic.

Learning is best when you don’t feel pressured. How many young students can you find that are completely enthralled by The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and understand its importance? I bet if you were to ask the same questions about Harry Potter or Twilight you will get many more and in depth answers. Teaching literary skills through books that children are familiar with can aid in learning. Asking questions about Harry Potter will engage many more students as well as create more interesting projects. It is because books such as these are not Hogwarts_model_studio_tourincluded in classroom settings that students are more willing to put time and effort into collective projects such as “The Daily Prophet.”

When younger generations become grow up to become adults, media platforms are going to become even more relevant so why not allow them to learn valuable things from them now. Twitter teaches one to be simple and get to their point in 140 characters, Facebook teaches one not to post anything they would not be comfortable sharing with the professional world, and Instagram teaches one how to take a compelling picture which is an important aspect of journalism.  All of these mediums, mostly seen as fun and distracting can also teach us skills for the future.

Media communities encourage people to gather around topics they are interested in and grow. By collaborating via individual works and other works students learn how to edit as well as create formal works. Today’s digital platforms make it easier to publish personal work instead of having to go through tiring processes. As more sites such as “The Daily Prophet” come into existence the more and faster we are going to become media literate.

-J

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2 thoughts on “Literacy By Choice

  1. What great insights! I love how you say, “I bet if you were to ask the same questions about Harry Potter or Twilight you will get many more and in depth answers.” This is so true. Students want to comment on something they care about…something they relate to. Harry Potter was not just an amazing story because it got kids reading. It was also amazing because it got them talking. They relate to Harry (and so many of the other characters) and are excited to talk about what they experienced reading these stories.

    I think you really made a great point too in the uses of Twitter, Facebook, and other web media. There is certainly a use for them in education. 🙂

    ~Aspen

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