Being an informed contributor to America’s democratic practices and principles requires strong media literacy skills. Without them, even the most civic-minded will find it hard to assess and interpret the mass of information out in the world.

Jeff Knutson, Common Sense Education Content Strategist and Senior Producer, recognizes how challenging it is for students to negotiate media. In an edWebinar sponsored by Common Sense Education, Knutson outlined ways teachers can support students as they strengthen their media literacy to knowledgeably participate in civic engagement.

Seeing vs. understanding

Young people are early adopters of TikTok or use Snapchat, and tend to get most of their news from social media. Because they are tech savvy, there is the impression that they are good at interpreting messages. That isn’t the case. They actually struggle with the complexity of current events and politics.

Related content: 5 achievable digital citizenship goals

Social media platforms are not necessarily the best place to find factual news or information. People learn about breaking stories through them, typically in the form of confusing headlines (designed to distract) with articles that have the meat of the story but that consumers do not read. What’s really happening does not typically get translated in a Twitter or Facebook feed.

About the Author:

Michele Israel writes about the ideas and best practices that are shared in edWeb’s edWebinars so they can spread innovative and best practices to the education community. Michele owns Michele Israel Consulting, LLC, which serves large and small educational, nonprofit, media, corporate, eLearning, and blended-learning organizations to bolster products and programs. Her rich career spans over 25 years of successfully developing educational materials and resources, designing and facilitating training, generating communication materials and grant proposals, and assisting in organizational and program development. In addition to lesson plans and other teacher resources, Michele’s portfolio includes published articles covering a range of educational and business topics.