chapter  2
What is media education?: Elaine Scarratt
Pages 15

If media education seems a complex and confusing field to the new media teacher, it is not entirely the dilemma of a sudden encounter with the unfamiliar. All subject fields evolve but media education is also characterised by having to ‘grab a toehold’ (Lusted 1991) wherever possible in the curriculum – raising questions not only of ‘what’ it is but ‘where’ it is. Chapter 1 outlined why the answer is, ‘predominantly in the curriculum margins with a small central part in the core subject of English’. Any subject area is characterised by differing educational philosophies and influences, not least government policies: media education is even more so given its disparate evolution, curriculum manifestations and teachers’ backgrounds. This chapter aims broadly to orientate those new to media education with outlines of its key features and the conceptual framework of enquiry that informs specialist practice. It also considers issues raised in some current debates circulating in media education: what is meant by media literacy and creativity? How far and in what ways will the current constitution of media study have to change in response to society’s expanded access to and use of digital technologies? As a subject of the ‘here and now’ with change as a central characteristic, how will such rapid changes be managed?