Media Education

What is Media Education or Media Literacy? There seem to be as many definitions as people are trying to define it. For this post, the definition is: The ability to identify and analyze media from a variety of sources and be able to understand and discuss their messages. 

Teaching Media Education is a daunting task. Most adults frequently have difficulty, so teaching these skills to students can be scary. Teachers can embed Media Literacy into their classrooms from as early as preschool.

Here are some tips:

  • Define Media Literacy at your school. Ensure all teachers and EdAdmin agree on what it is.
  • Use terms like media, author, point-of-view, bias, credibility, accuracy, consumers, medium, production, etc. Come up with a list of terms and at what grade levels they should be introduced. Often the best resource at the school is the librarian!
  • With younger children, discuss what is true and not true. This can simply be through fiction and non-fiction literature. What tells them when something is true. What about when it is not? 
  • As students get older, into upper elementary, add concepts about accuracy and credibility. Discuss the differences between websites and books. Begin introducing bias and point-of-view.
  • By middle school, students should be starting to find and analyze all different types of media with assistance from adults. Create assignments that ask students to find resources that answer broad questions. Ask them to analyze their resources. Did they find any conflicting information? What does that mean?
  • By high school, if students have had the foundations in elementary and middle school, they should be able to search for, find, evaluate, select, assess, and use media in all different types of situations. They should also be able to analyze the effects of media on themselves, others, politics, culture, and society. 
  • A tool like Vidigami can be used to share all types of photos and videos that can be discussed and analyzed by students. Discussions can easily be extended to learning at home by encouraging families to view and talk about photos and videos together.

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