Basically, this article talks about the history of media literacy and how political and social issues have impacted it from funding to the perception of it by practitioners. The author compares Media Literacy/IT to the “blind man and elephant” fable in that it does not have just one component and practice but many.
In times of economic downturn, it seems that media literacy (like many other “fringe” educational elements from the art to music to pe) are pushed to the side because they are deemed less important than the basic “3 Rs”. The protectionists try to continue to promote standards of materials, especially in regards to programs aimed at a younger audience. As a side benefit, the protectionists are also concerned about the impacts of programming (especially) television as it relates to children’s mental and physical health.
The author also discusses the rise of technical education (formerly known as vocational education). The end goal of technical education can be summed up in the word “job readiness.” Partnerships with corporations are mutually useful in that it provides materials to schools in desparate need of funding and it gives the corporation a chance to influence its potential future workforce (as an added bonus, it may also help establish brand loyalty, even at a young age)
I think the rise in Technical education in the US is very interesting. It seems that some of the Technical Institutes/Universities advertise heavily on TV ; they tout the short amount of time to finish the programs and the “big bucks” payoff –money, prestige, etc. Little is said abount true learning or even what the student might learn. In fact a least one ad that I saw a few months ago compared a University degree to wasting time, vs. a Technical degree (a real degree).
Models that the author discusses are school/media specialists, video production, and museum programs (media arts)