In the contemporary cultural conditions of unstable knowledge/truth, precarious economies and 24/7 media saturation, we need to rethink knowing and learning. While there is much general agreement that the means and modes of communication have changed, and, with it, the ways we approach media, education, culture, society, citizenship, commerce, politics, art, science and everyday life, there is a diversity of terms to describe the change, each with an animating spirit and intellectual tradition behind it. There is a disconnect between school pedagogies, situated literacy practices in everyday life, and the types of abilities and knowledges needed for workplace and civic participation. Further, even as school jurisdictions around the world rush to apply solutions to the technological impasse brought upon by the digitalization of communication, too often the answer is seen as adding training in new competencies to the existing curriculum, as though the crisis is one that can be fixed with a few adjustments. If the aspirational horizon of schooling is the preparation of young people for engaged participation in cultural, civic and economic spectrums, a renewed and comprehensive model of literacy is urgently needed.
This article situates contemporary critical media literacy into a postdigital context. It examines recent advances in data literacy, with an accent to Big Data literacy and data bias, and expands them with insights from critical algorithm studies and the critical posthumanist perspective to education. The article briefly outlines differences between older software technologies and artificial intelligence (AI), and introduces associated concepts such as machine learning, neural networks, deep learning, and AI bias. Finally, it explores the complex interplay between Big Data and AI and teases out three urgent challenges for postdigital critical media literacy. (1) Critical media literacy needs to reinvent existing theories and practices for the postdigital context. (2) Reinvented theories and practices need to find a new balance between the technological aspects of data and AI literacy with the political aspects of data and AI literacy, and learn how to deal with non-predictability. (3) Critical media literacy needs to embrace the posthumanist challenge; we also need to start thinking what makes AIs literate and develop ways of raising literate thinking machines. In our postdigital age, critical media literacy has a crucial role in conceptualisation, development, and understanding of new forms of intelligence we would like to live with in the future.
Donna E. Alvermann
This research project uses both critical theory and Michel Foucault’s concept of power to analyze a read-aloud children’s picture book titled The Tantrum that Saved the World. Published in 2017 by World Saving Books, the e-version’s 64 colorfully illustrated pages tell of a little girl who stares down the climate crisis, channeling tantrum power into positive action. Equally important, the analysis brings media literacy into dialogue with powerful discursive practices that cannot take hold in the absence of critical theorizing.
Jon Levin, Peter McLaren and Shindale Seale
Superheroes have been part of human civilization since its beginnings, as evidenced by prehistoric images of heroic meticulously etched into the walls of caves around the globe (Horsman, 1981). For the better part of three generations, however, they have only grown in their popularity and have significantly impacted the contemporary age. Not surprisingly, comic books and the superheroes celebrated on their hallowed pages have reflected the value and identities of their creators. A majority of these creators, until very recently, were Caucasian and espoused the dominance, virtues, and heroism of the able-bodied, White, Anglo-Saxon, North American male.
This essay is a brief reflection on the importance of the work of Stuart Hall to critical media literacy and why that sort of critically engaged approach is more important than ever in the age of Trump.
Why Does the Future Need Educational Poetics?
Xicoténcatl Martínez Ruiz
Educational poetics is rooted in the philosophical and aesthetic thought of South Asia, specifically in how contemplative and creative practices re-introduced by Rabindranath Tagore. Educational poetics is the convergence of research in creative contemplation and poetic creation, practices of conscious attention and mindfulness, and practices of peace education and philosophy of non-violence. This book leads to a perspective in thinking about the risks that jeopardize the future of young generations.