Teaching modern literacies at all levels

The Knight Commission says digital media literacy – a combination of news literacy, digital literacy, media literacy and civics literacy – should be taught at all levels of America’s education system. Do you agree?

Activities at three levels:

Flashlight: Is digital literacy, media literacy or news literacy taught at local schools? Ask students to poll teachers on the importance of this topic, given all else they must do, and ask where within the school it should be taught (if it isn’t). If they do not think these literacies are a high priority, what are their priorities? Give students the option of publishing their work in appropriate venues.

Spotlight: If your school is in the process of developing a class curriculum on digital media literacy, the Center for Media Literacy may be a good resource. Have students take a look at the site and design their own lesson plans for such a class.

Searchlight: Queens University in Charlotte, N.C., not only teaches digital media literacy, but also has taken on the responsibility of trying to raise the digital media literacy rate of the entire city. The Digital Charlotte website explains their mission. Ask students to examine the Queens strategy, which focuses on students training the trainers at libraries, schools, hospitals, etc. Would that work in your community? Have the class map out a project.

Extra credit: The author says news literacy programs at Stony Brook and the News Literacy Project are noteworthy, deserving of their good publicity, but not digital enough. Examine their websites. What digital tools might they be using to help?