I forgot how much fun it is to do show and tell. As a first grader I loved to bring something special from home to show my classmates: something I made, something I thought was interesting, or sometimes any old thing at all, just so I could command their attention while I nattered on enthusiastically at the front of the classroom about the little bag or rock or book I brought from home. What a rush that was.
The LAMP got to do a show and tell of our own last week at Media Conversations IV, a media literacy/media education conference held at several venues in Manhattan from June 4-6. Our show and tell was at Fordham, Lincoln Center from 1-3 pm on Saturday afternoon. Conference organizers Lance Strate of Fordham University and David Walczyk of Pratt Institute invited us to be part of a conference that included pretty much a who’s who of media literacy, media education and media ecology scholars in the New York City and surrounding area.
We just loved telling our audience what the LAMP has been doing for the past two years, and showing them a selection of videos from our media scavenger hunt, our advertising, documentary and news workshops, and from other special events (all available on our youtube channel). We even got to whine a bit about the challenges we’ve faced trying to bring an enlightened, reasoned media literacy education to our fellow New York families, educators and the like.
On the one hand our show and tell was a great way to strut our stuff for educators for whom I have deep respect, and on the other it was a wonderful chance to reflect on all that we’ve been able to accomplish on a shoe-string.
Our particular show and tell was flanked by two spectacular panels that same day at Fordham. The morning panel consisted of panelists working on media literacy issues internationally. It was a most impressive presentation and discussion about the media literacy work Hofstra University’s Paul Mihailidis is doing at the Salzburg Institute, that Holly Morganelli of Pratt and Sister Mary Bosco Amakwe of Seton Hall have done in Africa, and that Jordi Torrent is doing via the Media Literacy Education Project through the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.
The panel following ours included esteemed media literacy pioneer Renee Hobbs of Temple University, Dan Latorre, Martin Levinson, Bill Petkanas, and Thom Gencarelli. With their opening remarks, the five of them, an interesting mix of academics, consultants and a former President of the Institute of General Semantics, set the stage for an inspiring philosophical conversation about the direction of media growth, how we talk about and think about media across generations, and how all of us, as educators in one sense or another, face amazing challenges in our quest to come to terms with what media are and what they will become.
I was flattered that the LAMP had the chance to showcase our media-literacy-on-the- ground amongst this stellar group. What a rush.
Katherine G. Fry