Introduction

Media literacy is “the ability or skills to critically analyze for accuracy, credibility, or evidence of bias the content created and consumed in various media” (Dictionary.com). In order to survive in this digital age and engage in society, it is necessary for students to be media literate. By teaching your students about media literacy, they will be able to think independently and make informed decisions. Giving students the opportunity to learn how to decipher the messages that are constantly being sent our way and recognize whether or not these messages are influencing our thoughts and decisions is extremely important, so utilize the resources below to help you on your journey!

Resources

There are many resources available online for teaching about media literacy. The lesson plans, articles, and informational sites below will help you make sure your students learn all they should know about media literacy!

Lesson Plans

  1. Academy 4SC: Find videos related to media literacy at Academy 4SC, like Argument From Repetition: It Works Again and Again, Alternative Explanations: Exploring Other Whys, and Availability Heuristic: It Must Be True If It’s on the Internet!, among others. Teachers have access to resources like worksheets, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more included in each topic’s lesson plan. Explore Academy 4SC’s full library of applicable content under the tag Media Literacy.
  2. Leaders 4SC Forces: Leaders 4SC provides a variety of Task Forces that provoke students to think critically about key issues as they roleplay as decision-makers and brainstorm well-detailed solutions. Each Task Force comes with step-by-step instructions, Google slide templates to be used with virtual breakout rooms, and topic-specific questions to get students started. The activities can be completed either individually or as part of a group. Some relevant Task Forces are Facebook and “Fake News” and Design a Social Media PSA.
  3. Media Literacy: edutopia offers an abundance of resources to help students “analyze, evaluate, and communicate in a world with countless media sources and constant access to powerful computers.” This site will help students learn how to vet primary sources, recognize implicit bias, use Wikipedia wisely, evaluate the quality of online information, and more. For educators who want to have access to a variety of resources, especially those which will help students learn how to use social media and other digital platforms for educational purposes, edutopia will provide you with all of the materials you should need!
  4. Media Literacy: nea provides resources to support K-12 media literacy education under these categories: advertising, politics, framing, evaluating resources, and fact checking. Students will be given the opportunity to understand the basic pattern of persuasion in both advertising and politics, evaluate information found on the internet, and investigate digital sources in a “post-truth” world. In addition, educators are provided with media/technology resources, a media education lab, the media literacy archives, and resources which will help them tackle fake news.
  5. 10 Lessons for Teaching Media Literacy: k12 has put together ten different lesson plans for teaching about media literacy in order to help students analyze messages they receive. These minilessons will allow students to learn skills for questioning media messages, learn to analyze the deeper structure of all media messages, and learn strategies which require critical thinking.

Articles

  1. Teaching Media Literacy: If Not You, Then Who?: PBS has published a brief article to help educators teach students how to be media literate individuals. This piece advises educators to encourage that students utilize digital literacy strategies without expecting instant gratification, insist that students take the time to verify sources by performing lateral searches, remind students to slow down and think before acting, and teach students to question content authenticity before accepting it as truth.

Informational Sites

  1. Media Literacy Fundamentals: MediaSmarts gives information on “various aspects and principles relating to media literacy. The relationship between media literacy and media education is also explored and tips are provided for integrating media literacy into the classroom in subjects across the curriculum.”
  2. What Research Says About … Teaching Media Literacy: ASCD has published an article describing what the research says about teaching students about media literacy. The author, Jane L. David, explains the idea, the reality, and the research behind media literacy. Lastly, she advises educators on how to face this enormous challenge as students spend more and more time online.
  3. Media Literacy: In this five-minute BrainPOP video, Tim and Moby will help students “be more astute consumer of mass media,” “recognize when someone is trying to convince [them] to buy something or believe something,” and “discover strategies for decoding everything from TV shows to newspapers to [their] favorite websites.”

Conclusion

Teaching students about media literacy may not be a very easy task, but it is an important one which will be useful in many different aspects of their lives. All individuals, especially teens, are constantly being bombarded by different messages from the media, and therefore it is necessary for them to be able to analyze and comprehend these messages. The resources above will help you to equip your students with all the knowledge they should need to become media literate citizens.

Additional Resources

  1. Digital Literacy: Teaching Tolerance provides educators with a multitude of resources for teaching their students about digital literacy. By utilizing these resources, students will be able to locate and verify reliable sources of information, understand how digital information comes to them, constructively engage in digital communities, understand how online communication affects privacy and security, understand that they are producers of information, understand their role as customers in an online marketplace, and evaluate the value of the internet as a mechanism of civic action.
  2. Media Literacy – Democracy & Civic Engagement: Facing History and Ourselves offers many materials on media literacy related to democracy and civic engagement. Students will be able to participate in lessons on confirmation and other biases, how journalists minimize bias, the importance of free press, the role of social media in Ferguson, etc.
  3. CrashCourse Videos on Media Literacy
  1. Introduction to Media Literacy – Crash Course Media Literacy #1: In this CrashCourse video, Jay explains what media literacy is and how it can be used to explore our media saturated world.
  2. History of Media Literacy, Part 1 – Crash Course Media Literacy #2: In this CrashCourse video, Jay discusses media literacy from the time of Ancient Greece to the printing press, newspapers, and Yellow Journalism.
  3. History of Media Literacy, Part 2: Crash Course Media Literacy #3: In this CrashCourse video, Jay continues describing “the history of media literacy with the arrival of movies, television, and the other screens that now permeate our lives – along with some of the different approaches to media literacy that these inventions brought with them.”