Media Awareness Network (MNet) and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) marked the launch of Canada’s Media Literacy Week yesterday by highlighting the need for parents, educators and youth to talk about the ways that gender is portrayed in media and how this can influence young people’s perceptions of themselves and others.
“Teachers see first-hand how media and information technology influence the manner in which students interact with each other and how they view the world around them. Media Literacy Week is an opportunity for teachers to discuss with and engage young people so they can become literate in the understanding of visual images and media messages,” says CTF President Mary-Lou Donnelly.
Media Literacy Week has been promoting the integration of media literacy activities in communities, schools and families across Canada for the past five years. The week underscores the importance of nurturing critical thinking skills in youth that will help them understand and effectively navigate their media-rich world.
“Media play a powerful role in the lives of youth,” said MNet Co-Executive Director, Cathy Wing. “We need to make sure young people have the skills and knowledge to ensure that their interactions with media are positive and enriching. Media Literacy Week reminds us how important these skills are for our kids.”
Over 40 organizations are collaborating in the week this year, promoting media and digital literacy and hosting a wide range of activities – from film screenings and contests, to discussion panels and workshops – to provide opportunities for adults and youth to think about and discuss media.
As part of its involvement in Media Literacy Week, Women In Games Vancouver will be participating in an educational panel sponsored by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada. Moderated by Electric Playground personality Briana McIvor, the event will be held this Friday at Argyle Secondary School in North Vancouver, one of the few high schools in BC to recognize the importance of digital media careers by offering Grade 11 and 12 students a training programme by way of its Digital Media Academy.
An invitation has been extended to Argyle’s grade 9 & 10 girls for the afternoon panel, which will feature discussion about what types of video games they and their friends like to play, what goes into making some of their favourite video games, and what it takes to work in the video game industry. Several women who work in the Vancouver development industry will be participating and sharing their knowledge with female students who are interested in interactive media careers.
Participants in the panel discussion include Zoë Curnoe (EA Canada), Bryna Dabby (Smoking Gun Interactive), Tara Mustapha (Microsoft), Michelle Chua (United Front Games), Erin Olorenshaw (EA Blackbox). I will also be taking part in the panel, along with Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite (North Vancouver-Seymour) and three female students from Argyle Secondary.
One of the goals of this panel is to let girls know that there are many careers within the digital media industry to choose from, and not everyone has to be an artist or a programmer. Panel facilitators Wendy Boylan, Communications Director for Ubisoft Vancouver Inc. and Julien LaVoie, Director of Public Relations for the Entertainment Software Association of Canada will also be present at this event, which will be live-tweeted – just look for the #G&G hashtag on Twitter this Friday.
Please see the Media Literacy Week web site for a complete list of the activities going on across the country.