Media and Historical Literacy: Changing the Context of History
Abstract: Due to the vast amount of technology resources accessible to the public today, depictions of people, places, and events which were once held as true are no longer being accepted as reality. History is being changed. As evidence of shameful pasts have been brought to light using technology, statues of Confederate generals have been tumbled, streets names have been retitled, and holidays have been removed from the calendar. Textbooks and state education standards have been altered, and classic books banned. While youth often resort to social media for social studies knowledge, sensationalized news and images can promote negative stereotypes. Unable to distinguish facts from fiction, students sometimes turn to conspiracy theories. As media writers are criticized and accused of offering fake news and historical inaccuracies, the public, particularly youth, have come to distrust the media. Educators can help students distinguish between fact and fiction by establishing historical literacy, the ability to examine a historical event through social, political, and cultural factors, and by incorporating a digital-based curriculum that could instill media literacy, or the analysis of media communication.