What does it mean to have media literacy skills? How do we know when our students are media literate? In an Edutopia video Nicole Pinkard on Digital Literacy, Nicole Pinkard shares that she believes if students don’t have the media literacy skills by the time they graduate they will not be considered literate. I would agree with Nicole, but what does that mean for me as an educator what is my role in making sure my students are media literate?
In my classroom, I am starting to teach digital citizenship lesson plans, however I am discovering that one lesson for 45 minutes is not enough per concept. Students are getting a sense of what is expected and they are starting to understand what is being taught in the lesson, but they are lacking mastery. For example, when I taught about digital footprint. I followed the 45-minute lesson from Common Sense Media. During the lesson the students seemed to understand the task and what they were supposed to do, but as I observed they seemed to lack the overall understanding of the activity as it pertained to digital footprints. Students need to be taught/introduced to digital concepts throughout their time in school.
As an educator I believe that media literacy is very important, but right now teachers are dealing with schools that are under enormous pressure for their students to do well on standards based assessments so we focus on reading, writing and math. If we want to ensure we are also teaching media literacy we will have to do it by infusing what we are already doing in the classroom with media literacy. For that to happen teachers will need proper training on strategies on how to do this. There will need to be a call to action from the community, parents or administrators. In Nicole Pinkard’s Edutopia video the school and community worked together to give their students the tools they needed to help students use the media literacy skills. After they got the students started then they brought in the teachers to show them that students are actually creating media and it is important for students to have media literacy skills.
In my classroom I will continue to teach my students about digital citizenship and media literacy. Common Sense Media has Information Literacy lessons in their K-8 scope and sequence. Another resource for a media literacy lesson is InCtrl (http://www.teachinctrl.org/). I will continue to look for additional resources to teach my students media literacy in a variety of ways. I will also talk with other teachers and share what I have researched, so if they choose to teach media literacy they will have resources available. I believe that school and students would benefit from following Common Sense Media’s scope and sequence K-8. In the FNSBSD district we do have ITT teachers that come into the classroom to reinforce digital skills, maybe one day there will be more of a push to incorporate media literacy into the classroom from these teachers.
Common Sense Media Inc. (2014). Retrieved March 30, 2014
Edutopia. (2013, February 6). Nicole pinkard on digital literacy (big thinker series). [Video file]. Retrieved March 30, 2014 from http://www.edutopia.org/nichole-pinkard-digital-literacy-video
InCtrl. Teaching digital literacy. Retrieved March 30, 2014 from http://www.teachinctrl.org/