How to Teach Media Literacy

Faith and Media Literacy

Catholic educators have been active in the field of media literacy since its inception. In this country, Elizabeth Thoman, CHM, founded Media and Values magazine in 1977 to explore the influence of media on family life, education and citizenship in a democratic society.  In 1989, when the audience for Media and Values had grown substantially, Thoman founded the Center for Media Literacy to publish curriculum and develop models for teacher training.   

Fair Use and Media Literacy

This issue of “Connections” focuses on fair use of copyrighted works because it is an issue integral to the practice of media literacy education.  Two articles draw from documents produced by media and legal scholars: “The Cost of Copyright Confusion for Media Literacy Educators” and a “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Educators.” 

Digital Britain

The British Government releases an ambitious new plan for its media and communications industries, including a national plan for media literacy education.  Also, the British Office of Communications audit entitled Digital Lifestyles.

Comics and Media Literacy

This issue introduces the use of comic books and graphic novels as tools for media literacy.  We demonstrate how readers of comic books and graphic novels make complex choices to construct meaning from text, illustrations as conventions of the medium; demonstrate how comic books can be appreciated as works of storytelling art in their own right; and how writing and producing comics can help students develop complex literacy skills.

Cell Phones as Learning Tools

A new study from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at the Sesame Workshop explores the potential of cell phones to revolutionize teaching and learning.  Research from the William and Ida Friday Institute at North Carolina State University outlines the potential of 1:1 technology environments, and The Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital Boston launches “Ask the Mediatrician.”  

Professional Development

In our research section, we review current research and trends in professional development for K-12 educators, and discuss the opportunities which recently developed models of professional development present for dissemination of media literacy concepts and pedagogy. 

Participation in What?

Last month’s discussion between Tessa Jolls (CML) and Henry Jenkins (USC) focused on What’s in a name? Now, the conversation turns to preparing students for a participatory culture, but what does that mean? This issue tackles Participation in What? We’re all in agreement that students need media literacy education to participate fully in our global media environment but there are a variety of opinions about the tools and methods for making this a reality.  

Parents and Media Literacy

The role that parents play in teaching children about the positive, directed use of new media technologies could not be more critical than it is at this time. In May 2010, the Pew Center for Internet and Society released new information on cyberbullying.  Also includes an interview with Anne Collier, editor of NetFamilyNews.org. 

New Curriculum and Media Literacy

In 2007, Bennington College President Liz Coleman led a re-structuring of the entire curriculum. With its renewed focus on problem-solving and empowerment, Bennington is joining a growing number of educational institutions which are fashioning a curriculum radically different from what’s been taught in 20th century schools.  First, we survey the structure and curriculum at several schools to arrive at an overview of New Curriculum principles. Next, we reveal how media literacy instruction embodies them.

Monsters and Media Literacy

We discuss why zombies are relevant to the philosophy and purposes of media literacy education. In our second article, we focus on the pedagogical applications of horror texts, including media production and building students’ awareness of the role they play as media audiences.  

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