Toward Critical Multimedia Literacy

Technology, Research, and Politics

Authored by: Jay Lemke

International Handbook of Literacy and Technology

Print publication date:  April  2006
Online publication date:  January  2013

Print ISBN: 9780805850871
eBook ISBN: 9780203929131
Adobe ISBN: 9781135609580


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What should critical literacy mean in the age of multimedia? The purpose of critical literacy has always been to empower us to take a critical stance toward our sources of information. In an age of print, the most significant public sources that sought to shape our social attitudes and beliefs presented themselves to us through the medium of text: school textbooks, mass circulation newspapers, government publications, advertising copy, popular novels, and so forth. Illustrations were just that: redundant, secondary content subordinate to the written text. The written word had power and prestige; it defined literacy. We taught students to carefully and critically study written text, and by and large we ignored the accompanying images.

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