Media Literacy in Action: Teaching Critical Thinking and Digital Citizenship

This Friday I will be presenting at the Media Literacy Research Symposium at Fairfield University’s Dolan Business School. Below is a summary of my presentation and resources for teaching media literacy and digital citizenship.

Media literacy entails being able to read, review, reflect, and react to all media, both print and electronic. Today’s information and entertainment technologies communicate to us through a powerful combination of words, images, and sounds. Being literate in a media age requires critical thinking skills that empower us as we make decisions, whether in the classroom, living room, the workplace, or the voting booth.

Media Savvy Kids was designed to expand the notion of literacy to include the ability to read, analyze, evaluate, and produce communications in a variety of media texts. Throughout the elective, students have the opportunity to examine how mass media is constructed and produced, and discuss how mass media shapes our understanding of the world. The elective focuses on all aspects of the media including movies, television, song lyrics, the print media, and due to the predominance of digital media, the internet and social media.

Media Literacy is essential in our globally digital world. Students are spending more and more time accessing, utilizing,and contributing to media through their mobile devices, tablets, and computers. Schools need to address media literacy across the content area in order to support students and address the Common Core Learning Standards alongside the International Society Technology Standards. If students are to positively participate in our digital and global society, media literacy is as necessary as reading, writing, speaking, listening, and critical thinking.

Global collaborative projects lend themselves to poignant conversations about digital citizenship. The purpose of the global collaborative project is to educate and promote responsible online choices as well as immersing students in an online educational community for learning and collaboration. Students collaborate researching and writing a report using a wiki and create a school-based action project that is documented on the wiki.

In our technologically advanced world today, digital citizenship can mean a lot of things. Students need to engage in conversations around these topics so they can make good decisions as digital citizens when it comes to etiquette and respect, responsibility and safety.


Additional Resources for Media Literacy & Digital Citizenship:

Media Education Foundation

Project LookSharp (Ithaca College)


New Mexico Literacy Project

Listen Up: Youth Media Network (PBS)

Paley Center for Media (NYC)

Museum for the Moving Image

Media Smarts (Formerly the Media Awareness Network)

Common Sense Media

Google Digital Literacy & Citizenship Curriculum

Flat Connections Global Projects

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