Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ The New York Times is Always Right: A Media Literacy Lesson

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
I read Animal Farm years ago and like everyone else thought of it as an anti-socialist tract. That was, after all, the 'standard interpretation' of the book. But since reading the Orwell Diaries I have been introduced to Orwell the socialist. Today's students fare no better. Clay Burrell says, "If they studied Animal Farm in the classroom, the depressing odds are they learned it as a good, all-American attack on socialism.... Teachers and textbooks who frame the issue this way strangle the baby of inquiry in the cradle, and slip in its place a plump little bundle of propaganda to comfort the kids by cooing that they're on the right side of history." It would be nice to think that we've moved beyond that, but as Burrell notes here, propaganda has been alive and well in the 2000s, at least according to this Harvard study on references to waterboarding. We need media literacy - and critical literacies in general - more than ever in an information age. See also this.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jul 24, 2024 2:45 p.m.

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