Reading the Media: Media Literacy in High School English Renee Hobbs. 2007. New York: Teachers College Press; Newark, DE: International Reading Association. 208 pp. US$23.95.
iPods, cellular technology, social networking websites, and other forms of interactive technology shape educational settings in the 21st century. Contemporary public policy, community interactions, pedagogical models, and curriculum design often reflect our interest in and engagement with interactive participatory technologies. The nature of our world requires that we all develop a degree of media literacy, but the increased focus on the personal need for media literacy has also allowed for a maturing in the conversation about Media Literacy Education. As the field of Media Literacy Education grows up, its focus has shifted from defining media literacy to reenvisioning how media literacy is taught in educational settings.
For example, in 2006, the MacArthur Foundation launched a five-year, $50 million grant to determine how digital technologies influence learning. The National Association for Media Literacy Education (formerly AMLA) also introduced Core Principles of Media Literacy Education in the United States (Bergsma et al., 2007) "a first step in the development of clear, measurable outcomes and benchmarks [for media literacy education in] ... U.S, schools" (p. 2). Bloggers like Henry Jenkins (2007), have also inserted academy-driven questions about new media and learning into the realm of popular culture through weblogs like his Confessions of an Aca-Fan, found at henryjenkins.org/media_literacy.
Into this climate Renee Hobbs inserts Reading the Media: Media Literacy in High School English. Hobbs's book is the first design-based, long-term study that investigates the impact media literacy has on the academic achievement of young people. The study follows a team of seven English teachers from Concord High School in New Hampshire as they implement a new course focused on media and communications. Hobbs follows the teachers during the school year as they determine educational objectives and implement the new media literacy-infused curriculum, and she examines what their students actually learned.
Through her data collection and analysis that includes both qualitative and quantitative data Hobbs presents a compelling study of the integration of media literacy education into this high school language arts program. She demonstrates that over the...