Digital Literacy vital to UK’s Competitiveness

The importance of media literacy was discussed at an event entitled “Virtual Voices” held in Bristol (UK) last week by South West Screen.  The main participants included young people, educators, policy makers and the media.

The event adovcated that a “Greater understanding of digital literacy is essential for young people and their future job prospects.”

Their key conclusions were:

  1. Media industry and education need to work closer together to ensure that young people have a voice
  2. Both industry and education want the same thing: a democracy where everyone has a voice and where talent has a chance to shine
  3. We must help young people learn how to decipher what information on the web is real and what is a myth, as well as how to communicate online
  4. Teachers and the government have a vital role to play in teaching media literacy skills, or Britain’s competitive position will be at risk
  5. Online media presents great opportunities for young people to have their say
  6. Young people are producing some exceptional issues-based work and we need to find ways to bring this into the mainstream

Iain Dale, one of Britain’s leading online political activists and the keynote speaker said:

“There has never been more of an opportunity for young people to get involved with decision making through media. It is possible to influence opinion, organise campaigns and comment on any view that seems biased in a way that has never been possible before. Developing skills in media literacy is essential not only for those young people who want to work in the industry, but for anybody who wants to understand the world around them and have their say on it. Today everyone has a voice.”

One teacher commented:

“I’ve learnt how important media literacy is if people are going to engage with the modern world as an audience or as a producer”

It was also noted that: “after a series of debates and workshops all 200 delegates when polled agreed that understanding media literacy is vital for future success and that the government should do more to support media literacy to help Britain remain competitive.”

The full press release can be found here.

The event has also been covered by vnunet.com (a technology website) and marketwatch.com (financial information website).

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What is a ‘Digital Mentor’?

It seems to be an initiative from government to:

…help communities take control of their media, to fill the gaps in coverage themelves in a way that takes advantage of the remarkable opportunities that exist with social web  tools, to both provide a means of communicating a community’s messages, and to help that community collaborate both internally and with other agencies too…

Read more about it at davepress.net.