Wang, Yinhan; 2011, ‘Media Literacy Dossier: research review 3 (Literat 2011), LSE Media Policy Project, April

12. Full reference details of reviewed article: Literat, I. (2011). Measuring new media literacies: Towards the development of a comprehensive assessment tool. Research method/scope of empirical work A convenient sample of 327 adults, with normally distributed income and education levels, participated in the online survey. The survey collects 4 kinds of data: demographics, media use habits (access to computer and Internet, exposure to media, digital memberships, creative engagement with media), new media literacy skills (personality, modes of engagement, peer interaction, learning styles, media consumption and creation), and civic engagement (self-efficacy, civic responsibility, commitment to civic action). The section on new media literacies (NML) – the most extensive and important part – builds upon Jenkins’ (2006) conceptualisation of the 12 NML skills (play, performance, simulation, appropriation, multitasking, distributed cognition, collective intelligence, judgment, transmedia navigation, networking, negotiation, and visualization). Hypotheses (i) ‘higher levels of new media literacies would correlate with a higher degree of engagement with media forms – particularly new digital media – and that there would therefore be a significant difference in NMLs between people with low versus high levels of media exposure’ (internet and videogames, TV and print media). (ii) ‘An increased degree of digital participation in various Web 2.0 platforms should also relate to high NML levels, with light users scoring lower in media literacy than heavy users of these digital platforms’. (iii) ‘High NML levels should predict a greater propensity for multimedia creation, and, respectively, civic engagement’. Key findings - The survey randomized the 60 scale items related to all the 12 NML skills in the NML section, but a factor analysis of the 60 items showed ‘the factors identified in this analysis mapped well onto Jenkins’ 12 NML skills’, except for collective intelligence and simulation. - H2 is supported: Avid media users do have significantly higher scores on NML skills than less avid users, especially ‘in the areas of negotiation, networking, appropriation, play, multitasking, and transmedia navigation’.

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Avid Internet users have much higher scores in ‘networking skills’ than less avid users. Avid gamers also have much higher scores in ‘play or experimental problem-solving’ than less avid users. ‘[N]ew digital media, due to their interactive and highly socializing nature, are more adept at breeding the social and cultural competencies needed for a full participation in today’s digital environment than traditional media, which are inherently more passive’: There was significant difference in the NMLs between high and low users of the Internet and videogames, but no significant difference was observed between high and low users of TV and print media. H2 was supported: Users who have high levels of digital participation also has significantly higher NML skills than those with low participation. For instance: avid Facebook users have substantial high networking skills. Low Twitter users have much lower skills in networking and transmedia navigation than high Twitter users. YouTube users also demonstrated higher skills in appropriation, transmedia navigation, performance and negotiaion. Bloggers and nonbloggers have significantly different NMLs, especially in the areas of appropriation and networking skills. H3 was also supported: those who have much higher NML skills are more likely to create multimedia content, and to engage in civic activities.

Key implications for research and policymaking - The study could complement the mainly qualitative assessment tools, and provide useful baseline measure for new media literacies. - The study demonstrates connections between NML, media use, media exposure and engagement. Longitudinal studies will be needed to examine the causal relationships.

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