A Reflection on the NAMLE Conference

by Jay Mehta, English Teacher, Wheaton North High School

The power of a conference lies in the hands of an educator. Sharing information and connecting with professionals from around the world is an opportunity the NAMLE (National Association for Media Literacy Education) Conference 2017 in Chicago provided everyone who attended the 3-day conference. As an English teacher and as guest of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, I was fortunate enough to attend all 3 days of the conference. I found educators in all realms of the professional world and collaborated with them on various ideas and projects.

At first, I did not know such a plentiful variety of educators would attend the conference, but once presentations began I quickly filled up my notebook with copious amounts of ideas I could use in the classroom. Each presentation centered around research and practical methods of energizing students to take an active voice in their society. No matter your opinion, use your voice in media through an ethical manner in order to express your opinion - that was the consistent theme in every presentation. The notes jotted down in my notebook will mold the curriculum I have began to devise for my English classes. I have never had more methods to involve students in the learning process outside of school than before the NAMLE conference.


The message of involving student voice did not begin and end within each presentation. The board of the NAMLE conference arranged guest speakers during breakfast and lunch, which included Patricia Carter (Head of Global Safety Outreach, Twitter), Newton Minow (former FCC chair and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom), Aine Kerr (Manager, Journalism Partnerships, Facebook), etc. Listed are only a few of many contributors to the educational aspect of the conference and I am glad I could take note of their ideas of how to support student involvement in the media within the ever-changing area of “media literacy”, in which each individual has a responsibility to source-check any information before simply reposting it or discussing it for others to believe without evidence. The guest speakers were able to converse amongst each other and give the audience an insight of the struggles that each organization faces with educating the public about “media literacy”.

Overall, NAMLE Conference 2017 provided me with a plethora of ideas to build upon during my educational career, connections with colleagues I will utilize to strengthen the ability of my students being able to take an activity voice in society through “media literacy”, and new perspectives on what “media literacy” means in today’s society. Thank you to the Robert R. McCormick foundation for the sponsorship and to the organizers and presenters at the NAMLE 2017 Conference - I hope to see you next year.

1 comment :

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your experience at the conference. It sounds fascinating. I'm excited that Wheaton North teachers are able to take advantage of opportunities such as this and then come back and share with our students. Thanks!

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