Media literacy is more important today than ever. It is a critical skill for students of all ages, especially because teenagers spend an average of nine hours a day on media that doesn’t include schoolwork or homework. Educators must give students the tools and skills they need to decipher between reliable and unreliable sources of media. Susannah Moran, senior project manager at myON, presented tips for providing students with these important media literacy skills in “Teaching Media Literacy in the Classroom.”
The National Association for Media Literacy Education defines media literacy as the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and act using all forms of communication. According to ISTE, the elements of being a good citizen include, for the most part, many of the same components as being a good digital citizen: advocate for equal human rights, treat others with respect, work to make the world a better place, etc. However, digital citizenship in today’s world requires specific tools and strategies to be able to do these things.
When talking about access to tools, quality matters. Tools must be able to provide students with information that is current, reliable, non-partisan, and vetted. This criteria should serve as a model for students so that when they see something that doesn’t meet it, they can spot the difference. Students should be able to analyze and evaluate sources too.
Educators can look at different news stories with their students to determine who created the message, why the message was made, where it was distributed, what techniques were used to grab attention, what points of view are represented, and more.
(Next page: Ideas for teaching media-literacy skills)