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Media and information literacy: What is it?

The Information Age, in which we currently reside, is defined by an excessive volume of content from several media kinds, some of which were not even in existence before the turn of the 20th century. People today need to become more media and information literate for this reason.

But what do information and media literacy actually entail? Do they differ from knowledge of social media or digital media? It seems that this subject can soon get complicated!

We are here today for that reason. This article examines media and information literacy, illustrating each type, highlighting how they differ, and highlighting their significance and necessity.

Media literacy will be discussed first.

Media literacy: What Is It?
It may seem as though the definitions of information literacy and media literacy are interchangeable as we study them, but they are actually two distinct concepts. In 1992, the Aspen Media Literacy Institute developed the following definition:

The capacity to access, scrutinise, assess, and produce media in a variety of ways is known as “media literacy.”

The phrase is frequently used when talking about education and how to raise 21st-century media-savvy kids.

Information Literacy: What Is It?
Information literacy is “…a set of abilities requiring persons to’recognize when information is needed and have the ability to search, assess, and apply the relevant information effectively,” according to the American Library Association.

Today’s population must acquire the following abilities to become information literate:

  • understanding how to interact with the digital world of today
  • Finding significance in the data you learn
  • Defining the types of information you require
  • Utilizing data morally
  • Recognizing our potential for communication within the context of our vocations
  • assessing the authority and reliability of information

In addition, we can list the following five elements of information literacy:

Define: Determine the requirement, query, or issue.
Find: Track down, access, and gather the data from the required sources.
Evaluate: Determine the veracity of the information. Is it trustworthy and pertinent to your circumstances?
Organize: When looking for information, we frequently face a material overload. It must be compiled and organised.
Communicate: Explain what you’ve learned to the right people in a way that is clear, ethical, and compliant with the law.
The location of information literacy in comparison to other forms of literacy is depicted in this Venn diagram, courtesy of Madison College Libraries.

The World of Today Requires Media and Information Literacy
Consider how things were in the 1920s. Back then, there were only four media outlets through which people could obtain information: newspapers, magazines, movies, and radio. Maybe that is what people mean when they remark that things were easier in “the old days”!

If you advance the time by a whole century, the average individual in the year 2020 will have access to an overwhelming variety of media sources. In addition to the radio and printed media that we still have, there is also the 24-hour news cycle, television, videos, podcasts, blogs, specialist websites, text messages, blogs, and vlogs.

In addition, technology has developed to the point that anyone can now make material, for better or worse. People only need a laptop, tablet, or phone, as well as a way to document and display their ideas. Unfortunately, not everyone is concerned about ethics or veracity. But now that the Internet and social media have the ability to foster communities, like-minded individuals can come together and form into groups. It doesn’t matter if their opinions are egregiously mistaken or flat-out incorrect; when people band together, it suggests that they could have a point.

As a result, we are constantly surrounded by information, both genuine and deceptive, thanks to the advancements in technology of today. We therefore require media and information literacy now more than ever. Today, there is too much information to take in, and in addition to absorbing it all, we also need to sort it out to determine what is reliable and what is unreliable.

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