Conclusionary Statement

Through an evaluation of media literacy and looking toward the future, time will be one of the greatest indicators of how media literacy progresses. I think that educators, both on the collegiate and pre-collegiate spectrums, will play the greatest role in making sure media literacy is taught. Whether it is through hands on instruction or a new type of technology that will come forth to shed light on to the issue it is an issue that needs to be consistently addressed with evolving media.

For now, the technology drives new types of media through social networks and blogging. Where will media go next? This certainly can’t be the end of the line. It will be interesting to see how these subjects are taught in schools and at what grade levels. And the real question is will it ever be enough?

As time pushes technology forward, new research studies and projects should be proposed to see at what levels media literacy is strongest and where it could need work. Perhaps a hybrid of mediums will be the greatest strength in pushing literacy forward. Overall, it is an important issue that will need constant attention and only time will tell.

Looking to the future with optimism through courses taught in communities and by experts, I’m hoping this education will be enough and that those who follow behind us will pick up the torch and continue to make new discoveries in the future.

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Media Literacy, A Training Program?

Students in a media literacy course at the University of Nebraska-Omaha recently took on the task of creating a media-literacy training program for their community. Instead of having typical discussions and lectures about literacy or having students move the class as they wished, they decided to do something about media literacy that would further move it forward in the future of their community.

Through the course of the project, the students targeted the future of world by educating middle- and high-school students about media literacy. To handle the task of educating, the teacher took on the role of advising the college students in the formation of their literacy education program.

The team of students decided in order to educate the younger students, they would first survey them about their media usage, what they liked to watch, play, or listen to, and
their understanding of the media industry. From there they decided the efforts they needed to put into areas of media literacy.

At the completion of the project, the college students felt it was a success and actually decided to move their model into the greater Omaha area. The lesson to be learned from the project is that anyone can take on the magnitude of educating the future of America about media-literacy.

Much like Howard Schneider’s class in New York, the college students reached out to the future of the world by educating a few students about media literacy and an appreciation of media. Looking towards the future it is programs like these that can inspire how we go about spreading appreciation and knowledge of media in the future. As I concluded the last blog post, by educating the population one-by-one about media, we can look forward to a greater informed public in the future. By continuing courses like these, perhaps a trend will be developed across the United States to stress the importance of media literacy in the future.

Tyma, A.W. (2009) Pushing past the walls: Media literacy, the “emancipated” classroom,
and a really severe learning curve. International Journal of Communication, 4, 891-900.

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Building A New Audience

Howard Schneider, the former editor of Newsday and founder of the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University, said most journalists ignore one major issue and part of their job – educating the consumers about media. To combat this issue, Schneider and his colleagues created a 14-week news literacy course that has been getting high reviews from students of communication and non-journalism students.

The purpose? To build an audience of citizens – what journalism has always needed and will continue to need in the future especially with movement towards free-lance bloggers and Web journalists.

The course, which stresses topics of objectivity, fairness, sources, and navigation of the Web, provides students with the importance of news and what and why journalists do what they do.

This understanding is especially important as there have been trends that show a downturn in civic events, newspaper readers, knowledge about America and its democracy and current events. By reaching the students, be they journalism students or members of the public, at an important time could create optimism and restore credibility to the industry.

This news-literacy is a large part of media-literacy movement as Temple professor Renee Hobbs said, “It’s irresponsible to focus on the relations between reporters and sources and news value without positioning all of that in a larger context that has to do with increasing competition, the question of revenue streams, and the like.”

While media-literacy does have the commercial aspect in it, news-literacy teaches students excellence and what separates one story from another in quality. The thought is by teaching those about quality journalism, people will want to consume journalism which ultimately affects media-literacy.

When journalists engage the public, there will be much more civic action and a call to hold journalist responsible for their work.

Schneider’s model seems to be working on the small scale of educating society one-by-one. For the future of news- and media-literacy, let’s hope we see more courses like these pop-up in the future to further shape the future of the new industry.

Garber, M. (2009). Leap of faith: Inside the movement to build an audience of citizens. Columbia Journalism Review, 48(2), 41-45.

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Actions steps and High School Media Literacy Curriculum

The purpose of this blog has been in support of curriculum resources for media literacy in high school education. Outlined within this blog are ten action steps to help educators nationally and statewide integrate media literacy into their curriculum.

The action steps outlined within the High School section of this blog represent a national pledge to standardizing media literacy. These steps have been offered by a leading figure in media literacy advocacy, Renee Hobbs. Hobbs’ work supports standards proposed by NAMLE and The Center for Media Literacy, which are two integral organizations that promote the movement to include media literacy as a fundamental component of high school education.

The steps outlined throughout the blog include examples of how educational institutions have taken a step into including media literacy into their education, and will hopefully serve as a useful model of potential projects and resources that can help educators integrate the same useful information into their curriculum.

Thank you for your interest in the blog, and if you have additional questions or additional resources to contribute, please feel free to contact me.


Posted in Freshman Curriculum, High School, Junior Curriculum, Multimedia, Senior Curriculum, Sophomore Curriculum | 2 Comments

Educating the Educators

To this point, we have seen how communications majors are being taught new forms of media by having it integrated into the classroom and how we can educate children from an early age about new media and how to use it, but how are the people who will be teaching the children learn the technology they did not have in their previous education?

First off, many colleges have general education classes that are required for every student to take part in. Colleges could change their curriculum to include that every student needs to take a course in new emerging topics taught by a variety of professors who have studied and researched areas such as technology (where new media can be studied), current world topics and innovations in discovery. By doing so, no matter one’s major, this information would be learned by graduation from college and prior to entering the workforce.

However, what about those already in the field who wouldn’t have this opportunity to have the new general education class? That is a little harder and would require a little more expertise.

During one of the many in-service days school districts have, a field expert could be brought in and paired with those who already new about the new technologies to teach the rest of the educators about the importance of new media and the tools that are becoming more popular to distribute this new media. A refresher course could be offered each year during an in-service, so that teachers could remain on the current or cutting edge of new technologies.

By this point, you may be asking what does this have to do with media literacy? To educate the students, who are the future of the world and public, educators need to be brought up to speed on the present and future waves of technology that will ultimately distribute and provide news media to the masses. The educators need to be taught, so they can teach the future of the world of the news tools that are available to them. It would certainly be a work in progress, but in the far-off future, it would fix the problems of media illiteracy.

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Action Steps 8-10: Parent Outreach, National Visibility, and Stakeholder Engagement

Parent Outreach, National Visibility, and Stakeholder Engagement

As outlined in my previous post, development of the eighth, ninth, and tenth steps towards supporting Media Literacy include the following steps:

  1. Engage the entertainment industry’s creative community in an entertainment-education initiative to raise visibility and create shared social norms regarding ethical behaviors in using online social media.
  2. Host a statewide youth-produced Public Service Announcement (PSA) competition to increase visibility for digital and media literacy education.
  3. Support an annual conference and educator showcase competition in Washington, D.C. to increase national leadership in digital and media literacy education.

The following are examples of how central Pennsylvania programs can implement these steps into the curriculum of high school media literacy education:

  1. Inviting the entertainment industry’s creative community or a celebrity media persona to promote media literacy education is a great ploy, but students develop social norms, especially online, through social media websites. Developing a bridge between online social media and education has been a hot topic, but I spoke with Doug Martin, a teacher at Fix Chapel High School in Pittsburgh, PA. Doug helps students produce FCTV, a school television program which promotes students work through a variety of social media. The variety of work, especially in developing media literacy through television production is impressive. You can see some of the broadcasts produce by the students here. EdmodoDoug discussed the use of Edmodo as a social media tool to help students  and staff bridge gaps with the student population. The instructor has used the online social site as a way of assessing student production efforts an students have used the site as a way of  promoting internal student buzz and brainstorming stories for production.
  2. PSA’s are a great resource for developing media literacy skills and promoting education. Statewide contests have been offered by politicians, local media outlets, and schools.  A national resource for all educators includes
  3. A national conference is referenced in a previous post here, and although it won’t take place in Washington, D.C. it is an opportunity to enhance the education of media literacy nationally.
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Educating the Masses About Social Media

While college professors are teaching their students the new wave of media through in-classroom assignments and projects, what can be done to educate the public about the new ways media will be presented? It is significant for a communications majors at college campuses to learn the new tools of the trade, but where and what does this mean for the public?

Many of these tools such as Facebook and Twitter are user friendly and easy to get started.  Sometimes the best method to go about it is trial and error. But for the non-technology savvy people, it will be up to educators to let their students know from an early age that these Web sites are powerful online tools to getting news.

Because Facebook (specifically) is practically more open to anyone than ever before, incorporating it into the grade school computer classes should be a focus of teachers. Much like when I was in grade school when we were encouraged to get e-mail addresses and play with the features online communication, students today should be encouraged to experiment with social media and perhaps get a Facebook or Twitter account (when they are mature enough to understand Internet privacy and public information). And instead of being used to keep in touch, educators should emphasize following key figures in the news and organizations that provide news.

However, before teachers can mandate students to get Facebook or Twitter accounts as part of their class curriculum, they need to stress that social media is more than just a way to keep in touch with friends or finding lost sheep to further advance their online farm. Educators need to be be put in the position to show how Facebook can relate to the real world and be used as a new form of media.

From an early age, I can remember learning the importance and significance of news by learning about the function of the press and newspapers, being required in some classes to keep up with current events and by being influenced every morning before morning announcements to watch Channel 1, a daily topical 15-30 minute program that brought news into the classrooms nationwide. This should be no different for the youth of today, however the medium has changed. Instead of reading a newspaper or watching a broadcast, educators can show how and why to use the new tools (social media, blogging and YouTube) to keep their students updated with news.

As a result, the students who grew up with the technology and ability to follow trends and news on the sites will always be ahead of the curve and understanding how media relates to them. However, again, how will the educators be brought to the new technology if this is something they haven’t experienced before?

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