Tuesday, 8 February 2011

What's the point of media education?

Every now and again, usually at 'A' level results time, you get media coverage attacking the subject of Media Studies. David Buckingham's excellent presentation from the Media Magazine conference gives an overview of these attacks and offers some strong rebuttals of them. It happens at all levels, though, with people arguing that students shouldn't be 'wasting their time' with the media but should be learning to read and write and add up, whether it be children in primary schools, English in KS3 (last year's story about a school teaching about The Simpsons), at GCSE and A level ('dumbing down' when you supposedly should be doing Science and Languages) and even at university (where supposedly graduates in Media are heading for jobs in fast food outlets and nothing better).

Often Media teachers are put on the back foot trying to defend the subject from these attacks. A new project, which I am jointly co-ordinating with Jon Wardle from Bournemouth University, seeks to offer the opportunity to set out an agenda for studying the media, by asking a range of academics, teachers and others to write their own 'manifesto for media education'. We already have contributions, among others, from Henry Jenkins, David Buckingham and David Gauntlett and are adding more every week. We are keen to add the views of students, either as comments on the articles already there, or as full pieces, if you want to write one. We already have one video contribution from students which we will be adding to the site shortly, so if you'd rather make a video about your reasons for studying the media, that would be fine too!

Anyway, check it out, read the articles and see if you are inspired to respond- all welcome!


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