A huge benefit of the Internet is having 24/7 access to a growing treasure trove of national archives (i.e., Library of Congress, Smithsonian, National Archives and Records Administration) housing primary sources (documents, newspapers, interviews, videos, etc.) that provide a window into the past. As a 1999 Library of Congress Fellow, I’ve been watching collections grow for 20+ years. I love directing students to the Google Newspaper Archives, for instance, where they can read about historical events in the moment, as they were actually unfolding.
“to arm the public with a more complete picture of today’s most important stories. We correct the record, expose myths and provide historical context to the fast-paced news of our world today using investigative journalism and narrative storytelling.”
This valuable and rapidly expanding resource helps teachers and students make connections between then and there to here and now.
I grew up in California’s Bay Area, where I attended St. Joseph’s High School in Berkeley. As a sophomore, I can remember the infectious excitement of my teachers and principal as they informed us that President John F. Kennedy would be visiting California and that we would have the opportunity to line up on University Avenue to watch his motorcade on its way to the UC Berkeley campus.
President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade to UC Berkeley, March 23, 1962. Offsite contributor, part of NARA collection.
As a redhead, I was struck by the slightly auburn highlights in the President’s hair as his motorcade passed by on a beautiful, sunny Berkeley day. This historic event was the first time I stood with classmates, teachers, and hundreds and hundreds of others to cheer on – and stand in awe of – a President of the United States. An unforgettable moment for a 15-year old.
Nor will I ever forget where I was sitting on November 22, 1963 (3rd row back in my typing class), when our principal came over the PA system to announce that President Kennedy had been shot. She did not tell us at the time that the President had been killed. A pulpable sadness and silence enveloped our tiny one-building campus. Like so many parents who came to pick up their children, it was my mother who told me our President was dead.
I have not been able to find a copyright-free image photo of John John saluting as his father’s casket passed in front of him. As a family, we did not discuss politics, so I’m not even sure if my parents voted Democratic or Republican. Almost 60 years later, I still remember watching the funeral on TV and – for the first time in my life – seeing my father pull out a handkerchief to contain his sobs in response to John John’s iconic salute.
JFK’s family leaves Capitol after his funeral
After spending my junior year in college abroad (Pavia, Italy), my final stop on my journey back to the States was Ireland. Never had I seen so many photos of JFK on display. From shops to pubs – and even on the bathroom door of the B&B where I was staying (yes, that seemed a bit much, when seated on the toilet, to be eye-to-eye with the President), Ireland still mourned the passing of JFK.
I am aware of the steady, ongoing stream of conspiracy theories, which emerged soon after the assassination of JFK via radio, television, newspapers, and magazines. I ignored them then; I ignore them now. Today, of course, with the availability of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, we have seen that anyone anywhere can instantly and effortlessly accelerate the spread of “fake news” and conspiracy theories.
In July, I retired from a job I loved: teacher/technology integration specialist for a wonderful school district. I have blogged many times of the amazing learning adventures my colleague Kathleen Watt and I have shared over the years. As coordinators of the district’s digital citizenship program, we’ve developed, gathered and curated resources to help teachers bring media literacy into their toolkits. Working with outstanding organizations such as Common Sense Media, PBS/KVIE, and more, our goal had initially been to promote media literacy for students, our target audience.
Then came Pizzagate. When Edgar Welch entered Washington DC’s Comet Pizzeria to rescue children he believed were being hidden and sexually abused, this was a wake-up call. In an age of misinformation/disinformation, we (adults) also need media literacy skills. We started gathering and posting resources and offering districtwide and statewide (CUE, California League of Schools) workshops…
As an educator and a citizen, I pledge to question and speak out against false information – on both sides of the political spectrum. More than ever, I appreciate organizations such as Retro Report that bring history alive and allow us to step into and learn from the past.
Decades later, I still carry the images of JFK, along with Jackie (in her pink suit), Caroline and John John in my heart. Every trip to Dallas, to visit my son, we always include a drive to the Grassy Knoll and a walk past the former Texas School Book Depository, where we stop to gaze up at the sixth-floor window and to honor the legacy of President John F. Kennedy.
Thank you again, Retro Report, for your commitment to make visible how the past connects to the present – and helps shape the future.
Oh my, #ISTE19, so many great sessions, presenters, and takeaways! Due to a fractured right hand (the result of a bike accident in Holland), my notes are a little sketchy, but, hopefully, will provide you with a window into this year’s amazing annual technology conference for educators.
Day 1 (Sunday)
Listen to This! Tech Tools for Listening/Speaking– Katherine Goyote: This year, a conference priority was to bring back resources and tips for boosting students’ speaking and listening skills (which are now included in my district’s new elementary report card). Katherine’s session was outstanding and her presentation is one of my top takeaways.
Throughout the session, Katherine stressed the importance of listening as an active activity and that listening must be purposeful, with opportunities to interact. She encouraged us to explore speaking and listening tools such as Screencastify and resources like Eric Palmer: PVLEGS. How about a YouTube video to illustrate what active listening does NOT look like:
B.Y.O. Digital Citizenship: Hands-On Pathways to Drive Change – It was a privilege to join Dr. Mike Ribble (author, ISTE DigCit PLN), Dr. Marty Park (Chief Digital Officer, Kentucky Dept.of Ed.), Dr. Kerri Stubbs (BrainPop), Mike Jones (Illinois State University- Lab School), and students from Kentucky’s Bourbon High School for this dynamic panel discussion on digital citizenship resources. What a great audience we had, including teachers from Mexico City and Guadalajara.
Beyond the Slideshow: Unleashing Student Creativity With Google Slides – Eric Curts: I’ve been a long-time fan of Eric Curts. His generosity in sharing and posting technology tips and resources is much appreciated by a broad national audience (34.4K followers on Twitter). Eric’s session slideshow is the most complete walk thru of Google Slides I’ve ever seen. Did you know Google has recently made it easier to embed audio in a slide? Yay!
When are Facts Not Facts? Media Literacy in 2019 – Susan Brooks-Young: Susan’s ISTE 2018 session on media literacy was one of my favorites, so I hurried across the convention center to join her 2019 session. Although she did not share her slideshow, here’s the link to her resources. Just added CBC Deep Fakes Explained Video to my #MediaLiteracy bookmarks.
Day 2 (Monday)
Creative Storytelling With Adobe Spark – Claudio Zavala: I became an instant fan of Adobe Spark earlier this year when I realized this free, high-quality Adobe presentation product automatically attached Creative Commons licensing to any images inserted from their Unsplash/Pixabay/Noun Project collections. Claudio Zavala, logically and stunningly, used Adobe Spark for his session presentation. He is a wonderful presenter and is right up there with Eric Curts in sharing and posting resources and tutorials on his website. Here is the link to his Adobe Spark tutorials playlist.
Becoming an Awesome Digital Citizenship Leader – Dr. Mike Ribble and Dr. Marty Park: The link to Mike and Mark’s presentation will give you an idea of the scope and sequence of their session and their combined wealth of knowledge and resources. I’m looking forward to conversations back in my district on how to promote #DigCit leadership at our school sites. Kathleen Watt (co-director of our #DigCit program) and I are hoping that by opening our Digital Citizenship workshops to faculty and staff (not just our site coordinators), we will leave no grown ups behind in understanding and tapping into what it means to be a contributing citizen in a digital age.
An important session takeaway: Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and #DigCit should go hand-in-hand across the school day.
”Not all adults in our students’ lives are positive #digcit role models. We can be that role model.” Nancy Watson
Real or Fake? Strategies for Truth Finding – Dean Shareski: Although Dean did not share his presentation, the websites he shared for teaching media literacy were some of my best #ISTE19 takeaways:
simitator.com – Facebook Status Generator: “Build your own fake Facebook Status and prank your friends. You can change ANYTHING, use emoticons and even upload your own profile photos for post and comments. This generator is in no way associated with Facebook. All graphical material is protected by the copyright owner. May only be used for personal use.”
Science VS – “Science Vs takes on fads, trends, and the opinionated mob to find out what’s fact, what’s not, and what’s somewhere in between. Science Vs is produced by Gimlet Media.”
Pixomatic.us – “Whether it’s removing the background from an image, making a double exposure, adding in text or retouching a favorite pic, Pixomatic photo editor has everything you need to customize your images.”
Media Bias/Fact Check – “We are the most comprehensive media bias resource on the internet. There are currently 2800+ media sources listed in our database and growing every day. Don’t be fooled by Fake News sources. Use the search feature above (Header) to check the bias of any source. Use name or url.”
Monday Night Highlight: National Writing Project Reunion
Going Rogue With Microsoft — Complete With Tips and Tricks – Leslie Fisher: I’m excited about the multiple ways MS Office 360’s new tools take Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to new levels for accessibility, creating, and presenting. Thank you, Leslie, for sharing your session presentation.
I recommend clicking on every single one of Leslie’s hyperlinks for insights into extending teaching and learning via MS Office 360, starting with the immersive reader tools for Word and the Presenter Coach in PowerPoint:
Beyond SAMR: 6 Design Questions for Empowered Teaching and Learning – Alan November: Over the past 10 years, I’ve had the privilege of hearing Alan November present at a number of conferences…and every time I leave with new takeaways:
Bing VS. Google – Just a reminder not to limit searches to Google. Try using http://bvsg.org/ to see Bing and Google search results side-by-side.
MathTrain.TV – Students teaching students has always been the most powerful model for learning. “The evidence is overwhelming that students will watch student-created videos over & over.”
PRISM – “Prism was created by novice student developers in the Praxis Program. Prism is a tool for “crowd sourcing interpretation. Users are invited to provide an interpretation of a text by highlighting words according to different categories, or ‘facets.’Each individual interpretation then contributes to the generation of a visualization which demonstrates the combined interpretation of all the users. We envision Prism as a tool for both pedagogical use and scholarly exploration, revealing patterns that exist in the subjective experience of reading a text.”
Common Sense Education #ISTE19 Booth – As a Common Sense Ambassador and long-time fan of the innovative, continually updated ways Common Sense “supports K-12 schools with free, timely, research-based tools that take the guesswork out of teaching in the digital age,” I loved joining the team in the vendor’s hall for a couple of hours to meet and greet the many educators who stopped by to learn more about Common Sense resources or who just wanted to thank this dynamic organization for its on-going commitment to supporting digital citizenship and media literacy education.
Day 4 (Wednesday)
Hey Google … Take Me on a Trip – Tricia Louis: I loved this session. Tricia Louis delivered on her program description: “Explore tools that focus on how to use maps and other geographical-based information in any content area. Tools that will be shared will be Google MyMaps, Google Tour Builder, Google Earth, Google Tour Creator/Poly, Google Story Speaker and GeoGussr.”
Over the past few years, I’ve dabbled a bit with most of these tools, but Tricia’s beautiful presentation is the motivation I need to revisit some of my travel posts, such as Holland with Hannie, and transform them into interactive explorations.
Conscientious Creativity: Where Creation and Copyright Intersect – Dr. Monica Burns, Kerry Gallagher, Kristina Ishmael, Lynn Kleinmeyer: Copyright and fair use are topics I teach and follow with great interest, always on the lookout for new resources and insights. I’ve been sharing Kerry Gallagher’s Educator’s Guide to Creativity and Copyright in my workshops, so it was fun to hear her present this resource. And I’ve become a big fan of Monica Burn’s work with Adobe Spark – a free program for teachers and school districts that automatically includes Creative Commons licensing with any images uploaded from their collections (drawn from Unsplash, Pixabay, and the Noun Project) – a built in digital citizenship lesson.
Besides the infused humor, pace, and inter-activeness of their presentation, I loved the simplicity and design of their session slideshow.
Thank you to the ISTE Team and all who presented and generously shared insights and resources – and especially to Sandy Hayes and my @WritingProject colleagues – for making #ISTE19 an unforgettable learning experience. Philadelphia, I miss you already.
Today marks the 77th Anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing Executive Order 9066, authorizing the removal of over 120,000 people of Japanese descent, many of them citizens, from the West Coast.
I work in a school district that was once home to a hard-working community of Japanese-American farmers, who transformed the region into beautiful, productive strawberry fields. Following the signing of Executive Order 9066, the history of the Elk Grove-Florin region was abruptly and forever changed. The forced removal and incarceration of over 120,000 citizens marked a chapter in our nation’s history when justice failed an entire group of people. To document their stories, colleague Kathleen Watt and I developed and maintain the Time of Remembrance Oral Histories Project.
“The film exposes the lies used to justify the decision and the cover-up that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. ALTERNATIVE FACTS will also examine the parallels to the current climate of fear, targeting of immigrant communities, and similar attempts to abuse the powers of the government.” AlternativeFacts.com
We look forward to an upcoming screening of the Alternative Facts documentary. As always, when new resources surface, we revisit our current lessons and resources to decide where they can best extend teaching and learning on issues of social justice.
Alternative facts are not new…but today they are difficult to spot, easier to spread, and harder to control. We are always looking for curriculum ties that will make history relevant to our students. Students would be hard pressed to go a single day without hearing the terms “fake news” or “alternative facts” on social media or in the news. Additionally, they often view history as something that happens in history books, not in their communities. We are predicting that the above resource will connect our Executive Order 9066 lesson to media literacy, and in the process, help students make the connection between what was “then and there” to “here and now.”
MediaWise is part of the Google News Initiative, funded by Google.org, and aims to teach 1 million teenagers how to spot fake news on the internet by 2020, with at least half of them coming from undeserved or low-income communities.
The centerpiece of the project is a new curriculum being written by grant partner Stanford History Education Group that will be available to schools across the country in the fall of 2019. Stanford is writing this curriculum after studying how professional fact-checkers, college students and historians navigate digital information. The foundation of the Stanford lessons is built on skills that professional fact-checkers use after Stanford discovered that fact-checkers and journalists are more critical and think very differently about what they read on the internet and how they sort through misleading or flat-out false information.”
Students-teaching-students is a powerful teaching model. We have included a video in the Explore section of a teacher talking to other teachers about fact-checking and lateral reading. We would love to replace this video with a student-created video, slideshow and/or infographic to show what lateral reading looks like from the perspective and experience of a student fact-checker. Go for it!”
We extend the above invitation to students across the globe.
Media Literacy / Digital Citizenship 4 Themes by Elk Grove Unified School District is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its shoes on.”
Nope, the above quote is not from Mark Twain, despite being commonly attributed to him … and I admit – until just recently – to being one of the misquoters. For insight on how quotes become misquotes, I recommend Niraj Chokshi’s New York Times article That Wasn’t Mark Twain: How a Misquotation Is Born.
Misquotes are just a small slice of an enormous bank of online misinformation (Dictionary.com’s 2018 word of the year). For educators, I think the year has brought a greater awareness that we all need to be media literacy teachers, no matter what grade levels or subject areas we teach.
I started the year by organizing resources in my Media Literacy in a Post-Truth Era site. (Note: post truth was the 2016 Oxford Dictionary word of the year.) Several months ago, I began gathering resources on a possible misinformation trend that emerged in 2017 and continued to spread throughout 2018: deepfakes. Like any technology, deepfakes can be used for good or for ill. Computer scientist Supasorn Suwajanakorn explains in the TED Talk below how a deepfake is created — “and the steps being taken to fight against its misuse.”
We all need to get into the habit of “putting on our skepticals” (and a few other tips from BrainPop’s Tim and Moby) and recognize when to check if a person really said the words we’re hearing in a video.
I’m ending the year with the realization that actually “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its shoes on.” Jonathan Swift (sort of)
Over a holiday meal, I listened to an example of a low-tech misinformation story. Last summer, my daughter traveled to Fergus Falls, Minnesota, with her boyfriend to attend his cousin’s wedding. Two weeks ago, the cousin, Michele Anderson, made national and international news: The Relotius Scandal Reaches a Small Town in America. Michele and fellow Fergus Falls resident John Krohn fact checked Claas Relotius, the DER SPIEGEL journalist who published a “tendentious, malicious portrait of the small, rural town. The reporting contained so many falsehoods that Anderson and Krohn limited themselves to citing just the ‘”top 11 most absurd lies.”‘
We all need to be fact checkers, willing to challenge and confront the spread of misinformation.
High on my list of 2019 resolutions is a commitment to curate, create and share innovative media literacy resources, best practices, and lessons. I hope you will join me.
A highlight of my week was attending the California Department of Education’s first Media & Information Literacy Summit here in Sacramento. Below are my top takeaways from a very full day of excellent keynotes, panel discussions, and a resource fair.
Opening Comments: Jennifer Howerter, California Department of Education (CDE) – Jennifer started by going over a few definitions that would be central to our summit conversations:
Media Literacy – “The ability to encode and decode the symbols transmitted via media and the ability to synthesize, analyze and produce mediated messages.” NAMLE
Digital Literacy – “Digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.” ALA
Digital Citizenship – “Being kind, respectful and responsible, and participating in activities that make the world a better place.” ISTE
Information Literacy – I like this broad definition, which was new to me, from ALA:
Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning. An information literate individual is able to:
Determine the extent of information needed
Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
Evaluate information and its sources critically
Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally”
Welcome – Deputy Superintendent Tom Adams, CDE – Deputy Superintendent Adams opened by asking “Has the Internet changed the role of the teacher?” He referenced Stanford Professor Sam Wineburg’s findings that “we can’t assume fluency with media unless we ensure skills of healthy skeptics,” and also included several of Wineburg’s thought-provoking questions and statements:
“Since 2016, with the barrage of information and instruments for sending the information, do we want pre-selected information? Or do we want to individualize our own? We’re in a new context for educators. Students don’t lack media skills, they just need to add to the toolkit. With the California Standards, all core subject matter requires an inquiry-based approach.”
A Superintendent’s Perspective – Encinitas Superintendent Tim Baird, Encinitas Union School District – Loved Tim Baird’s opening quote:
Great journeys all start with driving questions,” … followed by his opening questions “What if we shifted from emphasis on teaching to emphasis on learning? What if we allowed students to Acquire, Analyze, Apply. Rather than start with content, start with process skills….Learning comes first – ahead of teaching. AAA leads to student dreams.”
Baird ended his keynote with a reminder that Media/Information Literacy is a basic human right, referencing UNESCO’s Five Laws of Media and Information Literacy in critical times.
From the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) .
For the Love of Learning – Director of Literacies, Outreach, and Libraries Glen Warren, Encinitas Union School District – I’ve met Glen Warren several times in the last few years, thanks to Jane Lofton’s invitations to attend the Librarian’s Dinner at the annual Spring CUE Conference. But until Wednesday’s Summit, I had never heard Glen present. Oh, my, he is an amazing speaker, who combines insights into changes needed in education with a wonderful sense of humor. I love laughing while learning!
Right off the bat, Glen had us thinking about the difference between telling student to “Go search that vs. Go research that!” His model for ramping up students’ research skills is A E I O U (see graphic below):
AEIOU graphic from Glen Warren.
Luckily for Summit attendees, in the afternoon, Glen stepped on the stage for a second presentation: Curious Skeptics Formulating Questions.
Image in Public Domain – From Wikimedia Commons
I couldn’t find the same shopping cart image Glen used to symbolize “shopping hungry,” which I know (all too well) is never a good idea. But sending students out on the Internet without a list of questions is an equally bad idea. By jump starting the search/research process with an initial list of questions, students start with an intent. I love some of these well-known phrases Glen had us rethinking:
Claim, Evidence, Reasoning – it’s the mantra. But how about we start with some good reasoning. Response to Intervention (high brow) – change to Response to Inspiration.
Essential Question > Essential Student Questions
Begin with the end mind > Begin with the endless in mind
In short, “we are killing students’ capacity to ask questions.” This issue is not limited to K-12, as illustrated in the video Glen showed of Stanford students sharing why they don’t like to ask questions. (If I can find this video, I’ll come back and include it in this post.)
We need to start teaching and encouraging students to ask questions, a skill that is included across the Common Core Standards (i.e, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.K.3), NGSS (Asking questions and defining problems in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to simple descriptive questions, Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood.), the Model School Library Standards for California Public Schools, and the California English Language Arts Framework (Students should have many opportunities to creatively respond to texts, produce texts, develop and deliver presentations, and engage in research to explore their own questions.)
Bottom line: “If students are allowed to develop their own questions, they are more likely to be engaged in finding the answers.” Such a simple, powerful strategy to teaching and learning – and probably my top takeaway from the summit.
California Global Education Project (Subject Matter Project) – Executive Director Emily M. Schell, Ed. D., San Diego State – As a longtime, proud member of the California Writing Project, one of nine Subject Matter Projects across state, I was delighted that Emily Schell would be presenting (in place of Dr. Monica Bulger). She drew the audience in from the start by sharing a story of her own son’s learning and career journey, and then presented a compelling case for the need to promote media and information literacy as a pathway to “global competence.”
Emily Schell #MAILS2018 Keynote. Image from @christhejourno
Global Education Summit Report – Published in 2016, has nine recommendations for California, with a focus on considering multiple perspectives, considering audience, engaging in civil discourse, and ending in a Call to Action! Wait! How did I not know about this report?!?
Emily’s work with the California Global Education Project (formerly known as the California International Studies Program) builds on the work I am currently doing with digital citizenship initiatives. I am excited to connect with the CGEP group and learn more about their global citizenship projects.
The summit included three panel presentations, each with different members, with a different set of questions to address. Below is a sampling of questions and responses:
Question: How do we help students work through hyper-partisan media? Response: From Chris Nichols – NPR created Politifact California as a response. “Trust, but verify” (even when referring to NPR).
Question: How should we be rethinking schools? Responses: Establish a credential program for administrators that includes information literacy. CHANGE CREDENTIALING PROGRAMS! Teaching thinking should be at the top. Capstone projects should be included at every grade level. Embed research across the curriculum – so no kids miss out.
Question: How does media/info literacy support student engagement and empowerment? Responses: Media literacy can help bring awareness to a variety of health issues. Kids need to analyze information they’re finding online; they need to be “health literate.” A Health Framework will be released in 2019. Suicide prevention and mental health issues will be included. Check out the Directing Change contest, a venue for kids to create and share Public Service Announcements (PSAs) about critical health topics.
Question: How can we help students understand bias in media? Response:Tara Woodall – Have students google a current event (e.g., Colin Kaepernick). How is the same event depicted in different headlines? Here’s where connotation comes into play. Writing shouldn’t be a formula. Ethical use of information, such as following citation rules, happens naturally when students can carry it into their own writing. Tip: Team up writing teachers with statistics teachers.
Resource Fair Breakout Sessions
Sue Thotz, Common Sense
It’s always a treat to join Common Sense’sSue Thotz (Senior Program Manager, Education) at any event. Here’s a link to Sue’s Summit presentation: News and Media Literacy with Common Sense, which is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the amazing – and free – resources Common Sense provides for teachers, students, and parents on current topics connected to digital citizenship.
As co-director of my district’s Digital Citizenship program, I deeply appreciate always having Common Sense’s timely, content-rich lessons and resources to share with teachers. And did I mention that both Kathleen Watt (my #DigCit co-director) and I are both Common Sense Certified – as is our district. 🙂
KQED Like Common Sense, KQED also has a long history of providing resources to engage students (aimed at secondary students) in current topics, via KQED Learn, such as those listed below:
Deeper Dive (from Go Above the Noise) – Explore and then reflect. Students are able to share with other students within the KQED community.
Copyright & Creativity for Ethical Digital Citizens
Although they were not included in the schedule, two representatives from Copyrightandcreativity.org (AKA iKeepSafe) were in the audience and available during the breakout sessions, with a handout that provides a justification for teaching copyright: “In short, because students today are creators and publishers – so they need to understand the basic ground rules around creative work.” Check out the website for an excellent set of lessons, starting with kindergarten through high school, including a set of videos for secondary students.
Information Literacy Toolkit – Summit coordinator Jennifer Howerter took the stage again to share CDE’s newly released Media & Info Lit Toolkit: Collaborate in Common, “a free online toolkit filled with resources and current research that teachers, administrators, and parents can use to help support their efforts to advance media and information literacy and the implementation of California’s standards and frameworks.” I definitely plan to spend some time exploring this site and adding to the content.
What’s Next? Media Literacy in our Nation and the World – Tessa Jolls – The closing keynote speaker was Tessa Jolls (President, Center for Media Literacy). Tessa summarized beautifully both the importance of media literacy and the message I will integrate into future workshops:
Media literacy – It’s not a new subject to teach – but a new way to teach all subjects. It is a call to action!”
I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to attend the California Department of Education’s first Media and Information Literacy Summit. I appreciate CDE’s recognition that, increasingly, media and information literacy are critical skills in an age of misinformation. In reflecting on the expertise and energy of the speakers and panelists, the introduction to the Model School Library Standards, and the “Curious Septic” theme, start to finish, the Summit was well worth the $20 registration fee (which even included a box lunch). I am already looking forward to attending the 2019 Media and Information Literacy Summit.
“Media literacy is a constellation of life skills that are necessary for full participation in our media-saturated, information-rich society.” Renee Hobbs, Center for Media Literacy
In the eight years I have been co-directing my district’s digital citizenship program, new challenges and new resources have called for regular updates to our Digital Citizenship website, which is organized around four main themes: cyberbullying, digital footprint, intellectual property, online privacy.
EGUSD #DigCit logo
This school year, in recognition that we are living and teaching in a “post-truth” era, my co-director Kathleen Watt and I been gathering and curating resources to prepare students – and teachers – to deal with the escalating onslaught of fake news and disinformation. It was definitely time to integrate “media literacy” into our digital citizenship program and workshops.
So we were rather surprised – and disturbed – by social media scholar danah boyd’s recent SXSWEDU talk: What Hath We Wrought? We were not expecting her negative views on the value of teaching media literacy, even though she begins with a warning that the content may be provocative.
It has been validating to learn that other educators who are passionate about the need to teach media literacy have also found boyd’s message a bit off and are speaking out on where boyd is mistaken. A shout out to the three educators listed below for stepping up to a global microphone. I’ve included a snippet from each of their posts, along with the link, so you can read each post in its entirety, which I highly recommend doing. Each posts succinctly counters boyd’s points.
“boyd’s speech has unsettled me, but it has also made me believe more in the ways I have found to teach media literacy. Now back in my classroom, I see students grappling with bias, publishing important stories, reading the news on their phones through a variety of sources, and taking pride in the rising power of student voices. The complexity of the screen world doesn’t look so complex to me when I see real students working in a journalism classroom.”
“Oddly, boyd reduces media literacy to a superficial version of fact-checking and describes it as “fundamentally, a form of critical thinking that asks people to doubt what they see.” That makes her “nervous.” It would make me nervous, too – if that was what we actually did. It’s not.
Media literacy education doesn’t teach students to “doubt” what they see; it teaches students to interrogate what they see, and to do it routinely. We call it “inquiry.” That isn’t the same as doubting. And it’s not just a matter of semantics.”
“Media literacy education is a pedagogical approach that aims to be continually responsive to the ever-changing media, technology and cultural environment. A visit to the annual National Council of Teachers of English conference would enable boyd to recognize the amazing work of middle school and high school English teachers who explore media literacy through film analysis, analysis of social media, making media with a smartphone, digital storytelling, the study of memes, fandom, reality TV, celebrity culture and more. Media literacy competencies are embedded in the Common Core Standards and they promote academic achievement….
…Whether students are analyzing and creating hip-hop, examining propaganda, creating public service announcements, composing Scratch animation, or studying the patterns of representation in Disney films, they’re engaged in a learning process that creates opportunities for dialogue and reflection on the choices we make as creators and consumers.”
Eight years later, the four themes still remain at the heart of our digital citizenship program. In thinking through a program update, we realized that media literacy was not a separate 5th focus, but rather the overarching framework for digital/global citizenship. Media literacy is the key to unlocking the critical thinking skills needed to confront online bullying, to build and maintain a positive digital footprint, to respect and create/remix intellectual property, and to protect online privacy.
In recognition that we are living in a “post-truth” era, rampant with “fake news,” and that we all need media literacy skills, I’ve been gathering resources, collaborating with colleagues, and creating presentations geared to both students and staff. I’m adding to my Media Literacy site almost daily, with a weekly featured resource.
For the past 10 years, I’ve been co-directing my district’s digital citizenship program with my colleague Kathleen Watt. We’ve recently been discussing ideas for merging media literacy into our digital citizenship resources, with possibly a new logo coming soon.
A recent article by Keegan Korf, Embracing Our Digital Footprints and Guiding Students to Curate and Reshape Their Own, has us rethinking how we’ve been rolling out our program. Until now, our focus has been solely on students. While we provide a wide range of resources for teachers and parents to use with their students and their children, Keegan’s infographic (below) serves as a timely reminder that we should also be providing resources to help adults be aware of the need to be role models and to build and maintain positive digital footprints.
Infographic created by Keegan Korf
It’s not difficult to find excellent videos for students, such as Netsmartz’ 2 Kinds of Stupid, on how quickly your online reputation can destroy future job opportunities, scholarship options, and more.
But what about digital footprint videos for adults? I’m wondering how many talented, young teachers applying for positions in school districts across the nation will not even make it to the first interview due to something they’ve posted on social media. TED Talks such as Megan’s You Posted What?! could help “xennials” or anyone just entering the job market to stop and think before posting, retweeting, etc.
Over the next few months, I would like to gather examples of the many ways educators are modeling Standard 3 – with a special focus on 3a. If you have stories, infographics, TED Talks, lessons, articles, etc., to illustrate how an educator is actively making “positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibiting empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community,” please share by leaving a comment.
Digital citizenship is often cited as the fastest changing subject in the K-12 curriculum. Thinking back 10 years to 2007, when I first began rolling out a digital citizenship program for my district, we were using iSafe, a curriculum that focused on keeping students safe from others. “Stranger danger” was a big concern, with much media coverage – and a bit of hype.
By 2008, we were concerned not only with keeping students safe from others, but also with keeping them safe from each other and from themselves. By now both the federal government and our state government had started issuing legal mandates, including the federal E-Rate/CIPA requirements. Through a district task force (which had morphed from the Internet Safety Task Force to the Digital Citizenship Task Force), we made a commitment that all students would be firmly grounded in what it means to be active, contributing (digital) citizens in all the communities to which they belong, within and beyond the school day. The Task Force agreed that out of multiple topics related to digital citizenship, we would focus on four themes: Taking a stand against cyberbullying, building a positive digital footprint, protecting privacy, and respecting intellectual property.
We encouraged – and then required – that all schools teach digital citizenship, using whatever resources and teaching practices worked best for their school community and culture. For those who preferred having ready-to-go lessons at their fingertips, we recommended Common Sense Media’s k-12 curriculum. We even provided a suggested scope-and-sequence – which, to avoid an overload of content, did not include Common Sense Media’s media literacy lessons.
Times have changed. In an age of “fake news,” media literacy should be embedded across the curriculum.
I had the good fortune to be invited to Google last Monday to join a team of Googlers and Google Certified Innovators to explore the Be Internet Awesome package and to participate in highly interactive panel and group discussions on the critical need to be teaching digital citizenship skills in the 2017-2018 school year and, as you can see from the video below, the importance of including parents in the conversations.
At the heart of the Be Internet Awesome curriculum is Interland, a “playful browser-based game that makes learning about digital safety interactive and fun.” Award-winning YA author John Green, has even joined the Google team and recorded messages for the Be Internet Awesome Challenge, a video series aimed at igniting conversations in the classroom and at home too on what it means to be smart, alert, strong, kind, and brave online; in other words, how to “BeInternetAwesome.”
As we head into the 2017-2018 school year, I want to acknowledge my appreciation for Common Sense Media, the Google team, and other national organizations, including:
It would be difficult to read a newspaper, listen to a news broadcast, or open any social media site without seeing some reference to “fake news.” NPR NewsHour’s recent interview How online hoaxes and fake news played a role in the election highlights this growing concern. There is definitely a need to bring media literacy into classrooms.
The Common Core State Standards call for media literacy:
“To be ready for college, workforce training, and life in a technological society, students need the ability to gather, comprehend, evaluate, synthesize, and report on information and ideas, to conduct original research in order to answer questions or solve problems, and to analyze and create a high volume and extensive range of print and nonprint texts in media forms old and new.” Common Core ELA Standards
However, since the standards do not come wrapped in a curriculum package, it is up to each district to provide some clarity on what media literacy looks like in our K-12 classrooms. Thankfully, the list of resources for teaching media literacy is growing (see resource list at end of post).
From NAMLE (National Association for Media Literacy Education): “Media literacy is the ability to ACCESS, ANALYZE, EVALUATE, CREATE, and ACT using all forms of communication.”
In addition to Bill’s resources, I’d like to add the voices of students speaking out on the role of media literacy, via Canada’s Media Literacy Now site:
Similar to the above-listed definitions, the Ontario Ministry of Education defines media literacyas
“…helping students develop an informed and critical understanding of the nature of mass media, the techniques used by them, and the impact of these techniques. More specifically, it is education that aims to increase the students’ understanding and enjoyment of how the-media work, how they produce meaning, how they are organized, and how they construct reality. Media Literacy also aims to provide students with the ability to create media products.”
How about some resources for teaching media literacy?
I hope these resources will be useful to you and your students, especially following an extremely contentious election year. As always, if you have resources to add or classroom practices to share, please contribute to the conversation by leaving a comment.