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June 11, 2014

21st Century Information, Media & Technology Skills

Media Literacy

According to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, media literacy is a skill that students need to master in order to succeed in work and life in the 21st century. Media literacy involves understanding both how and why media messages are constructed and for what purposes. It also involves understanding and utilizing the most appropriate media creation tools, characteristics and conventions.

Here are some approaches to demonstrating the intersection of digital, media and visual literacies.

Voices Heard Around the World

Powerful Voices for Kids is a free online resource from the Media Education Lab at The University of Rhode Island. The resource is intended to help teacher-educators introduce digital and media literacy to teachers in the elementary grades. They can watch videos of classroom practice, see samples of student work, get lesson plans and discuss strategies that help children build literacy, language, critical thinking, creative and collaborative skills by exploring mass media, popular culture and digital media tools and technologies.

The site presents 12 ideas for exploring digital and media literacy in elementary school:

  • Interpreting & Creating Photos
  • The Power of the PSA
  • City as Classroom
  • Authors and Audience
  • Learning Visual Grammar
  • Asking Key Questions
  • Remix Play as Media Literacy
  • Warm & Cool Feedback
  • Making Inferences, Music Videos & Screencasting
  • Current Events in K–2
  • Exploring Edutainment
  • Songwriting

Sponsored by Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy, MediaSmarts is a nonprofit charitable organization for digital and media literacy. MediaSmarts’ vision is that children and youth have the critical thinking skills to engage with media as active and informed digital citizens. To achieve this goal, MediaSmarts develops and delivers high-quality digital resources related to media, youth and the Internet.

For example:

Media Literacy Fundamentals looks at the various aspects and principles related to media literacy. The relationship between media literacy and media education is also explored, and tips are provided for integrating media literacy into the classroom in subjects across the curriculum.

Key concepts of media literacy provide an effective foundation for examining mass media and popular culture. MediaSmarts’ Media Literacy 101 program brings together the various concepts and competencies that define what it is to be literate in today’s complex media culture.

To help teachers introduce these key concepts to elementary students, MediaSmarts, in partnership with Concerned Children’s Advertisers, has developed a suite of videos on each of the concepts. Each video is accompanied by a lesson plan that reiterates the main ideas from the videos and helps students to expand and apply what they’ve learned.

Communication Through Images

Produced by the Nova Scotia Department of Education, Discovering How Images Communicate contains practical, hands-on experiences, which classroom teachers at upper elementary and middle school/junior high school levels, and in science, social studies and language arts, can use to support students’ developing visual literacy.

The activities within this free, downloadable guide include strategies for paired and small-group learning, whole-class sharing, student collaboration and student self and peer assessment of products and work processes.

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