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Development and Effects of Media Literacy Program for Young Children

Publication Date
  • 미디어 리터러시교육 프로그램
  • 미디어 리터러시
  • 미디어 교육
  • 유아교육
  • Media Literacy Program
  • Media Literacy
  • Media Education
  • Communication
  • Design
  • Education


Since technological breakthrough in media revolutionized our lives, everyone has been exposed to countless forms of media. The magnitude of this trend will be juiced up since media is getting more and more pervasive in our daily life. However, the media literacy movement is relatively new in the United States. Since it was first introduced in the 1970s, media education for young children aimed at protecting them from being exposed to negative impact of media. Nonetheless, children living in a media saturated world have been exposed to not only educational and informative media products for kids but also commercially produced media that contain a great numbers of obscene pictures and stories. Media education has been drawn from three major perspectives: protectionistic point of view, a perspective on critical viewing, and media literacy approach. However, since, with an increased in technological advances in media, young children are acquiring more and more knowledge and attracted to media, neither protectionistic perspective nor an approach to critical viewing is effective any longer in dealing with a flood of information and messages media contained. When young children are exposed to media, they try to accept the meanings of messages in media text and retrieve what they've learned from the media text into the situation in which they play or converse with their peers. Realizing such importance of the media literacy for children, the demand for developing a new media literacy education program has been increased. A child is no longer a passive recipient, but an active participant who can create the media text and products all by themselves. Media literacy, as a concept combined literacy, or the ability to read and write, with media, is about more than just consuming information or understanding technological aspects of media, but is defined as expanded information and communication skills that are responsive to the changing nature of information in human environment. The purpose of this study was to develop a media literacy program for young children and explore its applicability and effects on young children's media literacy learning. This study was comprised of two parts, studies I and II. Study I was conducted mainly to design and develop an actual media literacy program, while Study II was conducted to see the program's applicability and effect on young children's media literacy. The research questions for both studies were as follows: For Study I, in order to develop media literacy program for young children, the goal and objectives, content areas, teaching methods and materials, and evaluation of media literacy program were searched and established. Study Ⅱ was conducted to measure the effects of media literacy program on young children's media literacy learning, after the program was administrated, in the following three areas of creativity: Media reception, critical thinking skills, and creative abilities. In Study I, the following 5 steps were proceeded to establish major components of media literacy program for young children: First, relevant literature, and Korean and overseas programs on media literacy for children were reviewed and analyzed. Second, objectives related to media literacy were established based on the 6th National Kindergarten Curriculum developed and distributed by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources in Korea. Third, A total number of 16 kindergarten teachers were interviewed. Fourth, parents of the subjects in this study Ⅱ were asked to participate in survey responding to the questionnaires developed for this study. The results of the data provided the ground for developing objectives of media literacy program. Finally, the researcher and 2 other kindergarten teachers jointly discussed teaching-learning activities for media literacy program and finally developed a program that was ready to implement. The findings of StudyⅠwere as follows: First, the objectives of this program were determined to have young children develop abilities in media literacy in such three areas as reception, critical, and creative abilities in media. Second, the contents of this program were decided to consist of 'key content areas', such as media texts, media contexts, and media audience. The themes of instruction were also selected to include photography, advertising, and animation. Third, as a thematic approach, the Study I had teaching methods of this program integrated into the 5 daily activities of the kindergarten curriculum and it also included such teaching-learning activities as partial explanation, audio-visual materials, projects, and production methods. Fourth, the evaluation of this program was decided to be done by both pre- and post-tests which were conducted by interviews with children using animation and the cartoons created by themselves. Observation of children's activities during the program implementation was recorded. The subjects of Study II consisted of a total of 51 children at age 5. The research had been implemented for 8 weeks integrated into daily activities of kindergarten children. One of the two classrooms under investigation was consistently observed for gathering qualitative data. Data were collected by interviewing with children using animations, and children-made-cartoons during the pre- and post-tests, and were analyzed quantitatively using rating criteria. And the analysis of qualitative data with observation were done by content analysis by the criteria set by the objectives of the program The results of the Study II were as follows: Both quantitative and qualitative data demonstrated positive effects of this program on young children's reception, critical, and creative abilities in media. Children's abilities of media reception were also found in the qualitative data. Concept map that was collected through classroom observation demonstrated that there was an expansion of knowledge among young children in photography, advertisement, and animation, through media literacy education, which was true in increase in knowledge acquisition in the children-made-cartoons after they completed the media literacy education, compared to their first ones created before the program. In analysis of young children's first attempt to exchange conversation, they appeared to understand media language, built concepts for animation, and increase their understanding how the animation movies were filmed and how the cartoon characters moved in animation like a real human being. Thus, children appeared to expand the boundaries of understanding by experimenting and applying knowledge they gained into their own drawings and animation. Furthermore, the results of interviews with animation, there was a significant difference found in children's abilities to critical thinking. More specifically, this program was shown to be significant in the evaluative abilities in the contents of the media works, but was not significant in the entire media works. The analysis of children's first attempt to exchange stories showed that children appeared to evaluate the media works not based on their own knowledge and criteria, but based on the influence of their parents, resulted in the fact that there was no significant difference found in program effects. These results demand that the objectives for children's abilities of responsive critical abilities should be reestablished based on the children's developmental stages. Furthermore, the results of interviews with children with animation and child-made-cartoons showed that there was an effect on children's abilities of creativity. The same was true with the results of the analysis of children's work of art. Children appeared to reflect their concepts built through the program into the process of creating their own products. The changes in their abilities of media creativity were observed in children's consistent interests in making photograph camera, reflecting their understanding of advertisement and media language into making advertisement as well as making a story board for cartoon. These were seen to be the results of effective media literacy educational program. This research made a major contribution to provision of a ground for developing an effective media literacy program for young children. Another significance of conducting this study was that the needs for media literacy instruction were actually assessed by a wide range of subjects who were concurrently involved in educational activities, along with the review of relevant literature. In addition, this study attempted to classify children's abilities of media literacy into three major parts, reception, critical thinking, and creativity, and the evaluation tools to measure them. Future investigation will be needed to examine young children's media literacy in more details, and to replicate this program in other settings to create generalization of this study.

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