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Ottawa, November 20, 2006 – Media Awareness Network (MNet) and the Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF) today launched the first ever National Media Education Week. The week, which runs from November 19 to 24, 2006, encourages the integration and the practice of media education in Canadian homes, schools and communities. A new multi-media public service campaign to promote media literacy will ask viewers, listeners and readers to consider what messages and meaning they take out of media.
National Media Education Week (www.mediaeducationweek.ca) features awareness building activities taking place across the country – all in a festive atmosphere, recognising the enjoyment with which kids interact with media. Throughout, the spotlight will be put on media education as a forward-thinking strategy to help young people develop the critical thinking skills necessary to understand the abundance of media messages they face daily.
“Cumulatively and unconsciously, the media messages kids absorb help to shape their perceptions of what they think is normal and important, cool and fun, or scary and unappealing,” said Michelle Scarborough, MNet Executive Director. “The ability to apply critical thinking skills to media by asking the right questions to deconstruct media messages is at the heart of media education,” she added.
“Our partnership to create National Media Education Week is a direct follow-up to our landmark 2003 survey entitled Kids’ Take on Media, which emphasized the importance of media in the lives of Canadian children,” said Winston Carter, CTF President. “This study pointed to the need for young people to develop media literacy skills to more effectively navigate communication, information, entertainment and marketing environments.”
In partnership with CHUM Television and Rethink Advertising, the national sponsors for the week, Media Awareness Network and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation worked with the Association for Media Literacy and various collaborating organisations to celebrate a week of media literacy events and awareness activities across the country. Workshops, conferences, contests and media festivals are being organised by various groups across the country in recognition of media education.
“We are pleased to help support media educators’ work as they help young people learn about the media,” said Sarah Crawford, CHUM Limited Vice-President, Public Affairs. “CHUM has supported and promoted media literacy for over 20 years and we’re proud to work with Media Awareness Network and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation on this important initiative.”
A national campaign comprised of English and French television, radio, print and Web public service announcements was developed to promote critical thinking about media. Focusing on deconstructing media, the campaign urges viewers, listeners and readers to consider what goes into media creation, and what meaning and messages can be taken out. The campaign will be featured prominently on Canadian television, radio, on the Web, and in major newspapers across the country thanks to the generous contribution of CanWest MediaWorks, CBC / Radio-Canada, CHUM Television, CTV, The Globe and Mail, Rogers Cable and S-Vox.
A new program entitled Media Education: Make It Happen! was also launched in conjunction with a new Web site for the week. The program includes a comprehensive workshop designed for teachers’ professional development, a handy accompanying guide and a booklet, all designed to offer free resources to help educators understand and facilitate media education in their classrooms.
In celebration of National Media Education Week, Media Awareness Network is also launching MyMedia – a national video podcast contest for youth. Students are asked to create a 2-minute video podcast on the theme of media representation, and challenged to consider how certain members of society are represented, misrepresented or absent from media. A teacher’s toolkit was developed to help with the integration of this contest into the classroom.
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About Media Awareness Network
MNet is a non-profit Canadian organization whose mission is to support and encourage media and Internet education, and its widest possible integration into Canadian schools, homes and communities. Its aim is to help children and youth to develop an informed and critical understanding of the nature of the media, the techniques used in creating media products and the media’s role and influence within society. MNet is sustained by the generous support of its sponsors and partners, who include: Bell Canada • CHUM Television • Microsoft Canada • Rogers Yahoo! Hi-Speed Internet • TELUS • CTV Inc. • Canadian Recording Industry Association • National Film Board of Canada • AOL Canada Inc.
About the Canadian Teachers' Federation
The Canadian Teacher’s Federation is the national bilingual umbrella organisation for Canadian teachers. It comprises 14 provincial and territorial member organisations, which represent 213,000 teachers nationally.
For more information, visit www.mediaeducationweek.ca, or
Julien Lavoie, Director of Communications - Media Awareness Network. (613) 224-7721; (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Linda Hiles, Interim Director of Communications - Canadian Teachers' Federation. (613) 232-1505 ext. 130; (email@example.com).
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