Atlanta, Ga.–State educational technology leaders are increasing their focus
on ensuring students´ online safety, protecting personal data and information,
and promoting ethical online behaviors (including fighting plagiarism,
cyberbullying and copyright infringement), according to a new survey of states
released today at the National Educational Computing Conference, the world´s
largest educational technology conference for teachers, administrators, and
technology coordinators.

The survey, The Changing Media Landscape: Ensuring Students´ Safety and Success
in School the Future Workplace, was conducted by the State Educational
Technology Directors Association (SETDA) of their members in cooperation with
Cable in the Classroom, the national education foundation of the cable
industry, to better understand the evolving challenges and opportunities
offered by technology and to help develop best practices and standardized tools
to address these issues nationwide.

"We wanted to use this survey to get a snapshot of how states are assisting
schools to prepare today´s students to be ready for life, work, and citizenship
in our increasingly digital world," said Dr. Mary Ann Wolf, executive director
of SETDA. "And we wanted to identify best practices in this rapidly evolving
field to see where we could help states to work together to update their
standards, instructional resources, and professional development practices."

Media literacy is a key 21st Century skill because it provides a framework and
method to think critically about the media and technologies students and adults
use for information and entertainment. Media literacy means knowing how to
access, understand, analyze, evaluate and create media messages on television,
the Internet and other outlets. It also means knowing how to use these and
other technologies safely, productively and ethically.

The survey asked states to rank their needs and areas of interest regarding
media literacy issues. The strongest need was in the area of safety.
Sixty-nine percent of states report that protecting children from predators and
other online dangers is one of their strongest needs, followed by security
(protecting personal information) and online ethics (preventing cyberbullying,
plagiarism and hacking).

"A comprehensive approach that addresses internet safety, digital ethics and
media literacy is what is needed to prepare students for the 21st Century,"
said Dr. Helen Soulé, executive director of Cable in the Classroom. "Students
need high-quality instruction to help them use today´s powerful tools and
technologies in safe and effective ways that minimize risks and maximize their
learning potential. And students especially need media literacy instruction to
know how to apply critical thinking skills in the Web 2.0 environment. The
comprehensive approach being advocated by SETDA is the best way to help ensure
kids are not only technologically savvy, but also safe and smart online."

When it comes to state media literacy policies and/or guidelines, the survey
found that:

  • 29 states have safety policies and/or guidelines to protect children online.
  • 28 states report that they have policies to prevent cyber bullying,
    plagiarism, or hacking, and 28 states have legal policies to address copyright
    violations.
  • Less than 55 percent of states report having policies for media access,
    analysis, evaluation, or creation–all key aspects of comprehensive media
    literacy.
  • With more and more students creating their own content online, 17 states
    report that they already have policies addressing student-created content.

The Changing Media Landscape Toolkit, also released today, was developed by
SETDA in response to the evolving technology resources, the needs at the state
level and the findings of this survey. The toolkit can be found online at
www.setda.org/web/guest/toolkit2007/medialiteracy.

States and schools are making progress, but still need support to develop state
definitions, standards and assessments of media literacy. The survey found:

  • Only 59 percent of states report that they define media literacy or
    information literacy and that they have standards for media literacy.
  • Twenty-one states report that the media literacy standards are embedded
    within various content areas, whereas, nine states report that the standards
    are stand alone.
  • Thirteen states report that creating media literacy standards will be
    addressed in the future, while only six states report that they are not
    planning to create media literacy standards.
  • For states planning to create media literacy standards, most states report
    that they are in the early stages of review and do not have specific timeframes
    for completing these standards.
  • Just seven states report that they assess media literacy standards, New
    Hampshire, South Dakota, West Virginia, Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Hawaii.

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is the principal
association for state directors of technology and their staff members providing
professional development and leadership around the effective use to technology
in education to enhance competitiveness in the global workforce. For more
information, visit www.setda.org.

Cable in the Classroom (CIC), the cable industry´s education foundation, works
to expand and enhance learning for children and youth. Created in 1989 to help
schools take advantage of educational cable programming and technology, CIC has
become a leading national advocate for media literacy education and for the use
of technology and media for learning, as well as a valuable resource of
educational cable content and services for policymakers, educators and industry
leaders. For more information, visit www.ciconline.org.

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