Voices of Media Literacy: International Pioneers Speak : David Buckingham Interview Transcript

DATE OF INTERVIEW: Friday, Oct. 29, 2010
Today, seven year-olds can edit films on i-movie or any other program. And in our research they are doing that. There is a danger of them confusing media education with technology. People think that if they are doing things with technology then they are doing media education and they’re not. What they are doing is a very instrumental use of technology which is very uncritical and unthinking. It is driven by technology hype - over-excited view of the wonders of technology. This is a very dangerous moment for us. How do we insist on the critical dimensions of media literacy being important at a point when everybody seems to be rushing to get kids doing very functional things with technology as though by wiring them up we are somehow going to solve the world’s problems?
I think it is exciting that children are capable of creating content but it needs to be accompanied by a kind of critical thinking about what you are doing and a certain level of reflection on the choices you are making, and undertaking the process consciously. I think that often gets lost as people get carried away by creativity and the wonders of technology. All of the critical questions get pushed to one side.
David Buckingham is currently Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, London University where he directs the Centre for the Study of Children, Youth and Media. He has directed more than 20 externally funded research projects on these issues as well as been a consultant for bodies such as UNESCO, the United Nations, Ofcom, the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Institute for Public Policy Research. Additionally, he is the author and co-author or editor of over 20 books and approximately 200 articles and book chapters. Professor Buckingham has also been a Visiting Scholar at the Annenberg School for Communications, University of Pennsylvania, and a Visiting Professor at New York University as well as the Norwegian Centre for Child Research. He began his career as an English teacher in secondary school.
Selected Questions:
How did you become involved in media education?
What study do you have going on right now and how do you see your work continuing?
Do you think the field is moving in the right direction?
What do you want to see happen next in media education?

For complete text of interview go to PDF.