Open Thinking Wiki

Various Resources compiled by Dr. Alec Couros

Media Literacy

A definition and framework for media literacy comes from Wikipedia.

Powerful Voices for Kids Summer Media Literacy Program
"Media literacy is the process of accessing, analyzing, evaluating and creating messages in a wide variety of forms. It uses an inquiry-based instructional model that encourages people to ask questions about what they watch, see and read. Media literacy education is one means of developing media literacy. It provides tools to help people critically analyze messages to detect propaganda, censorship, and bias in news and public affairs programming (and the reasons for such), and to understand how structural features -- such as media ownership, or its funding model[1] -- affect the information presented.

Media literacy aims to enable people to be skillful creators and producers of media messages, both to facilitate an understanding as to the strengths and limitations of each medium, as well as to create independent media.

Media literacy is an expanded conceptualization of literacy. By transforming the process of media consumption into an active and critical process, people gain greater awareness of the potential for misrepresentation and manipulation (especially through commercials and public relations techniques), and understand the role of mass media and participatory media in constructing views of reality."

Media literacy educators strive to address a balance between protection and empowerment. Protectionist approaches to media literacy emphasize the need to be aware of the negative aspects of mass media and popular culture, including the dangers and risks of online social media.
Empowerment approaches emphasize building media awareness, promoting critical analysis of media texts, tools and technologies, and using image, language, sound and digital media for self-expression, communication and social advocacy.

Media literacy educators have neither utopian or dystopian views about the potential of digital and social media to transform K-12 education. They emphasize the both value of analyzing media texts, tools and technologies and the practice of composing using multimedia forms, genres and technologies.



Professional and Scholarly Organizations

In the United States, the National Association for Media Literacy Education is the national membership organization for those in K-12, college and afterschool settings who help students develop critical thinking and communication skills using mass media, digital media and popular culture.

Core Concepts and Key Principles of Media Literacy Education. A description of the values that unify media literacy educators around the United States and across the world.

Journal of Media Literacy Education, an open-access, peer review journal.

The Media Literacy Clearinghouse website is very popular with K-12 teachers. Webmaster Frank Baker also conducts professional development for schools, districts and conferences.

The Media Education Lab at Temple University offers this introductory flash animation that defines media literacy as literacy for the information age, focusing on the skills of accessing, analyzing, evaluating and composing messages in a wide variety of forms.

In Canada, the Media Awareness Network provides materials related to a strand of media literacy, media/web awareness. They provide workshop materials around the following topics:
- Cyberbullying - Encouraging Ethical Behaviour Online
- Fact of Folly - Authenticating Online Information
- Kids for Sale - Online Privacy and Marketing for Kids
- Safe Passage - Teaching Kids to be Safe and Responsible Online

Integrating Media Literacy into K-12 Education

My Pop Studio in the Classroom: Learn how teachers used the interactive play experience, My Pop Studio, to promote media literacy in Grades 7 - 8
How Media Literacy Supports Cultural Understanding: video describes a ML integration program in Grades 3 - 4 to promote cultural understanding between US and Middle East
Assignment Media Literacy: comprehensive ML curriculum with print PDF lessons and video support materials) for K-12, developed by Renee Hobbs and the Maryland Department of Education with the Discovery Channel
Beyond Beats and Rhymes: See what a staff development program looks like to help high school communication arts teachers explore how to bring critical reflection on the representation of gender and identity in hip-hop music videos, based on the Bryon Hurt documentary of the same title.

Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship can be defined as norms of behaviour with regard to technology use. As a way of understanding the complexity of digital citizenship and the issues of technology use, abuse and misuse, we have identified nine general areas: Etiquette, Communication, Education, Access, Commerce, Responsibility, Rights, Safety & Security. (Ribble, et. al, p. 2)
"A fully literate citizen is at once critically self-reflexive and critically reflexive of his/her collective and position within it." (Spooner, 2007).
Digital Citizenship Wiki: by teachtech
Digital Citizenship Articles: by Ribble and Bailey
Digital Citizenship Podcast: Wes Fryer

Examples of Students Online Work and Social Networking

Childnet Academy Winners: Websites created by young children (various examples).
Quizlet: A flash-card service created by a 15-year old boy.
A Girl Like Me: Anti-racist video created by a 17-year old girl.
30 Positive Uses of Social Networking Collaboration: From YALSA
The Impact of Social Networking: From LLRX An ELGG-based social network for youth.
UK Sexuality Advice: A successful SMS (txting service) offering teens advice re: sexuality.
Life 'round Here: Collaborative video project by Chris Craft.
1001 Flat World Tales Project: International writing project done through a wiki.
Flat Classroom Project 2007: "Hands-on working together project for senior high school students."
Digital Internship Project: Social network for interns and cooperating teachers at the Faculty of Education, U of R.

Protection-Oriented Media Literacy and Web Safety Sites

Media Issues (Web Awareness): Key media issues presented by the Media Awareness Network
Be Web Aware: A good resource for parents and teachers related to web awareness.
ChatDanger: How to keep safe while chatting.
GetNetWise: One of the earliest web-safety sites, still very good.
WiredSafety: One of the largest web-safety communities.
Teaching Zack to Think: A media literacy story/activity from Alan November. This makes an excellent point.
Participatory Media Literacy: An excellent wiki-based course.
CHUM Television: Media education resource.
Citizen Shift: "Free range media for social change" from the National Film Board of Canada.
CyberTip: Canada's national cybertip line.
BeWebAware: Another good Canadian resource for online safety. Another good Canadian resource for online awareness.

Think Before You Post #1
Think Before you Post #2
Be Safe, Internet Safety Ad
Cyberbullying Ad (Kitchen)
Cyberbullying Ad (Talent Show)
What is Cyberbullying?
Bullycide Victims
SACP Video
Think Before You Post
ABC News Story on Bullying
Several Good Videos from NetSmartz based on real life experiences
Let's Fight it Together
What is Cyberbullying?
How the News Works

Research and In The News
Teachers Warned About Myspace Profiles
Making Nancy's Message Sticky (Excellent blog post, good alternative story)
The Plague of Plagiarism
Students Weigh In On Media Literacy
Teens, Privacy & Online Social Networks (PEW Report)
Principal Sues Students Over MySpace Page
Bring Social Networks to School?: School board report saying social network issues are overrated, bring social networks to school.
David Knight's Cyberbullying Story: via CBC.
Seven Things Adults Should Know About MySpace

General Tools: Metaspy: Ever wonder what the rest of the world is searching for? Ideal for looking for search trends.
Google Zeigeist: Measure "the general intellectual, moral and cultural climate of an era". The new Google site is "Hot Trends".
Viral Video Sites: There are many sites that measure the most commonly viewed videos of the day.