Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Citizen empowerment > media literacy > critical reading.

One of my favourite issues when discussing citizen empowerment is that of Critical Reading. To me, few things are as crucial to empowerment as media literacy, and critical reading is certainly part of it. According to Alec Couros's post, some popular Issues in (Digital) Media Literacy are “Offensive Content (Bad taste, Sexuality), Viral videos and Memes, Misinformation, Satire, Hoaxes, Scams & Phishing, Safety & Cyberbullying, Hate, Racism & Violence, Social Networks & Privacy”.

My hypothesis is that blogging – a form of informal e-learning, as I see it – can promote this skill. Considering Alec’s cited issues, I would argue that critical reading could prove useful in the identification and combat against many of them: misinformation, satire, hoaxes, scams, phishing, threats to one’s digital safety, cyberbullying, hate, racism and violence. It could also help protect people’s privacy. If this is true, why not foster blogging as a means to empower people as students, professionals and citizens?

Here are my presuppositions (which I have never tested empirically or otherwise):

- Blogging is a form of informal elearning
- Reading blogs foster critical reading
- Reading blogs which favour points of view opposite to one’s own views are more effective in promoting critical reading skills
- Engaging in dialogues through blog replies is more effective than just reading them

What are your views about my presuppositions? Have you come across research that confirms or disproves them?

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