Media Literacy

Media Literacy Icon

There are a number of definitions for “media literacy,” as you can see mentioned below. Each highlights the broadness of the topic. Through our research and lesson creations, we have come to realize that media literacy should not be added as a separate theme in our graphic/program, but rather as the overarching structure supporting our digital/global citizenship program.

“Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media.”

“Media literate youth and adults are better able to understand the complex messages we receive from television, radio, internet, newspapers, magazines, books, billboards, video games, music, and all other forms of media.” – Media Literacy Project

In an age of fake news, we recognize the need to integrate media literacy across subject areas and beyond the school day. We greatly appreciate the many educators and organizations that have stepped up to create and share the timely resources we have curated, such as the Media Smarts video – Reality Check – News You Can Use and the NY Times Learning Network resources below.

Media Literacy Resources

NY Times Learning Network –  Skills and Strategies | Fake News vs. Real News: Determining the Reliability of Sources

Questioning Fake News

10 Questions for Fake News Detection – From the News Literacy Project

One Gut Check and Four Steps Students Can Apply to Fact Check Information – NPR’s Anya Komenetz pulls from work of researcher/author Mike Caufield, who recommends:

  • Check for previous work: Look around to see if someone else has already fact-checked the claim or provided a synthesis of research. [Some places to look: Wikipedia, Snopes, Politifact and NPR’s own Fact Check website.]
  • Go upstream to the source: Most web content is not original. Get to the original source to understand the trustworthiness of the information. Is it a reputable scientific journal? Is there an original news media account from a well-known outlet? If that’s not immediately apparent, then move to step 3.
  • Read laterally: Once you get to the source of a claim, read what other people say about the source (publication, author, etc.). The truth is in the network. ***
  • Circle back: If you get lost, or hit dead ends or find yourself going down a rabbit hole, back up and start over.

*** The Digital Shift from Close Reading to Lateral Reading – Our students still need opportunities to practice their close reading skills, but they also need to develop their lateral reading skills, as YA author John Green explains. In this digital age, we have witnessed a shift, in that lateral reading should now proceed close reading. Since we could not find any existing lessons on lateral reading, we created Flex Your Fact-Checking Muscles: Read Laterally, which includes the infographic below.

Be Internet Awesome – Google’s digital citizenship curriculum includes Don’t Fall for Fake. As you can see from the video below, the importance of including parents in the conversations is central. At the heart of the Be Internet Awesome curriculum is Interland, a “playful browser-based game, intended for grades 3-6,  that makes learning about digital safety interactive and fun.”

How Media Literacy Can Help Students Discern Fake News – From PBS, includes video of 3rd graders delving into media literacy.

Spot the Troll – (Age appropriate for grades 7-12) Quiz from Clemson University. This quiz tests users’ ability to identify which accounts are genuine and which are professional trolls. Along the way, advice is provided for what to look for and how to be a better consumer and producer of social media.

News and Media Literacy Resource Center – Common Sense Education

The Common Sense Education News and Media Literacy Resource Center contains links to curated resources from across the web.

Common Sense has recently developed a new set of News & Media Literacy lessons. The curriculum currently covers grades 3-8, with more coming soon. Common Sense’s goal with the new curriculum is not only to help students “identify credible and trustworthy information sources”, but also to “reflect on their responsibilities as thoughtful media creators and consumers.”

Mind Over Media – Media Education Lab

Propaganda Is All Around Us – Renee Hobbs has created a set of resources to help spot propaganda, an important component of media literacy. The Mind Over Media platform is also an invitation for teachers and students to submit examples of propaganda.

Where can educators and families find resources for teaching media literacy?

Note: Given the speed at which Media Literacy issues and resources change, we will be frequently updating this page. If you have resources you would like to share with us, please contact Erica Swift and Kathleen Watt.