The digital media literacy prism

Professor Renee Hobbs created a white paper on digital media literacy outlining how such skills can be taught in all schools. But are all schools teaching them?

Student activities in three levels:

Flashlight: Investigate the teaching of digital media literacy in your state. Are standards in place? How rigorous are they? Who teaches these skills? Are they taught in a consistent fashion across subject areas and grade levels? Do gaps in the curriculum exist? How is student learning assessed?

Spotlight: Diversity experts such as the Maynard Institute argue that community literacy for media people is just as important as media literacy for the community. Class discussion: Do you agree? Is news coverage at times inaccurate or unfair because of a poor understanding of the whole community? Do the faces and voices in student media reflect the campus? Why or why not? This Pew study shows that women are losing faith in traditional media faster than men. Could that have anything to do with their underrepresentation?

Searchlight: Thinking about local news and information flows is easier if you consider a particular topic. Have students break into groups and consider: What is the single most important issue to students? Do campus media cover that issue? Where do people get their news and information on the issue? Are nontraditional providers seen as credible?

Extra credit: How much news literacy is part of digital media literacy? Find a digital media literacy class syllabus on line and break down the content. Does the course examine such issues as ‘false balance’? That’s a big problem in science journalism, when two sides are given equal value when one represents almost all scientists and the other is being paid to dispute the science.