It is important to note that there is a difference between media literacy and information literacy.
So please let’s not be confused about these two distinct concepts.
To make the right decision, information is very important. In learning spaces and at all levels of education, information literacy displays the scale of competence of instructors, researchers, and students.
Information literacy forms the foundation of numerous innovative concepts of knowledge, collection, such as distance learning, lifelong learning and much more.
American Library Association, 1989 (ALA) defined Information Literacy as a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and can locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information. In 1974, information literacy was first noticed by Paul G. Zurkowski. In 1985 Patrica S. Breivik used information literacy as an integrated set of companion degree skills and also as information tools and resources.
The outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19) modified lives globally and this in turn affected some aspects of lives. The need for digital technologies increased as this is one of the ways to curb the spread of the deadly virus. Hence, this brought about increased growth in digital literacy. Various online platforms that were less used, gained more users. For example, Skype, Microsoft team, Zoom, Google Meet and so on.
Literacy reproduces the dimensions of readiness of instructors, researchers, and university students. This emphasis on the assessment of scholarly consequences affects institutional libraries, mostly in the way they test their intellectual information literacy. The United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) opines that information literacy is a fundamental right in a very digital world and promotes social inclusion in all nations.
Types of Information Literacy
Information literacy shows the variance of competence of instructors, researchers, and students.
- Digital Literacy: Digital literacy is the ability to find, recognize, evaluate and communicate information through social media such as LinkedIn, Email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp and so on. Digital acquirement involves an outsized style of emotional skills to harness users’ performance effectively in digital space.
- Media Literacy: Media literacy helps people’s personal growth, social development and choices in their lifestyle. For example, Newspapers, Television, Radio broadcasts, podcasts, Magazines etc. This is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media or some of the skills needed to know when and what information is needed, where and how to find that information, how to evaluate it critically and organize it once it is found and how to use it ethically. The professional concept extends beyond professional and educational boundaries.
- Visual Literacy: this is the ability to understand the information in the form of graphics, images, and presentations and interpret the same. This includes thinking, learning, and expressing oneself in terms of images, photographs, cartoons, line drawings, diagrams, concept maps, and other visual representations are all important in visual literacy; and critical literacy i.e., the ability to evaluate critically the human, intellectual and social strengths, limits, benefits and cost of it.
- Network Literacy: This is close to computer literacy and digital literacy. It is the ability to seek, access, evaluate and retrieve information throughout the world
What is the difference between media and information?
Information is the embodiment of facts, data, intelligence and news, while media is the conveyance of information through print, digital and electronic formats. Hence, all media formats
How widespread is media literacy in Nigerian schools?
Some states have introduced digital education for secondary school students. Lagos state through the EKOEXCEL initiative gave mobile tablets that contain curriculums to students in secondary schools. It also introduced digitalized classrooms in some schools. Also, many tertiary institutions now use electronic media to deploy their distance learning content and curriculum. If nothing, the COVID Pandemic lockdown period has taught the world that digital is the way to go not just for deploying enterprises but education as well.
What is Digital citizenship?
It is the act of being a responsible online citizen. This includes fact-finding news before broadcasting, frowning at online bullying and discrimination of minority groups, protecting the sanity of children, disseminating wholesome content through your social media platforms, and so on.
How can the Nigerian government support MIL?
By putting policies in place that ensure that the media is used for the public good. Also, by supporting the education system with digital and electronic infrastructures. Lastly, is to create an enabling environment for digital start-ups by providing them access to grants. They can also help media organizations promote the right to freedom of expression.
Furthermore, Gauging tone and language is essential in media literacy, either verbally or in writing. As much as you want to communicate your opinion and idea to the general public through media, the style and language of communication are of great importance to your audience. People tend to believe what they read and hear when packaged in easily digestible language.
Gauging tone and language is a must-have skill in media literacy. It is the ability to develop an ear for acceptable/ understandable tones and languages. It is acquiring the prowess of listening and passing opinions in an accepted manner. There are generally accepted ways of communicating. Having a medium isn’t a liberty to spread undignified and incomprehensible tone and language.
Factors to consider in Media literacy before Communicating
- Understanding your audience
- What do you wish to pass across
- Simplicity in encoding your information
- What is your motive for communicating
Understanding your Audience
There are points to consider in communicating; sometimes tone projected might be uneasy to understand by a particular audience. Communication has not taken place if your audience does not comprehend your information. For example, trying to sell a product to illiterates and using grammar that needs the dictionary is no way to communicate to that audience.
What do you wish to pass across?
For example, attempting to teach a bunch of children how to code will involve cognitive skills of how to make the topic catchy and alluring enough to snag their attention so they can easily comprehend.
Simplicity in encoding your information
There is no skill in complexity. It is better to make your medium as simple as possible for perfect comprehension. For example, when a sadistic lecturer uses unnecessarily ambiguous words to communicate his lecture so that his course seems too complex to comprehend. If you can’t explain well, you don’t understand it well enough.
What is your Motive for Communicating?
The motive behind what you communicate determines how to communicate. Are you transmitting to exhibit your intelligence or so people can learn and get educated?
Why is it so Important to Gauge Tones and Language in Media Literacy and Information?
- Varied comprehension level: everyone has a different level of comprehension.
- The world is getting busier: no one has the time to dissect information coated in grammar, so you should make it as simple as possible.
- Varied demographic group: communicate in a way that every demographic group can understand.
- Varied temperaments: we all receive information differently. Some words are offensive to others. You should choose words carefully when expressing thoughts.
Interacting with others can be verbal and non-verbal. We interact with signs and signals without even trying to, for example, body language and facial expressions, which makes it easy for speakers to understand how their audience receives the message even without a response from the audience. Likewise, a speaker can communicate non-verbally to make his audience determine his depth of knowledge in the topic in question. Gestures, tone of voice, and body posture can build or mar the audience’s confidence in your words. It is why media literacy is paramount.
In essence, gauging tone and language in media literacy is the ability to understand how to communicate in clear terms as good writers and speakers to make presented information credible. And that communication skills have got nothing on big grammar and abstract language, but simplicity is most important in the art of communication.
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