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    Bloomz Blog


    Media Literacy in 2024

    by Ellen Ullman, on Mar 5, 2024 10:33:32 AM

    Here’s a quick pop quiz:

    1. Name the skill students use to decide whether news is true or false?
    2. Name the skill students use when they dismantle stereotypes?
    3. Name the skill students use when they learn that Africa is home to skyscrapers and cities—not just lions and jungles?

    The answer to all 3 questions is media literacy.

    “People confuse media literacy with other things all the time,” says Frank Baker, a media education consultant and 2019 recipient of the Global Media and Information Literacy Awards by UNESCO.

    Media literacy, he says, is commonly confused with these three literacy types:

    • Information literacy: a set of skills supporting the ability to discern when information is needed, including the ability to find, analyze, evaluate, use and reflect on the needed information.
    • Digital literacy: a subset of media literacy that focuses on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to understand how digital tools interact with and impact society.
    • News literacy: the ability to determine the credibility of news by understanding and recognizing the standards, practices and ethics of professional journalism.

    Defining Media Literacy
    Media literacy is thinking more critically about the media you consume. The Center for Media Literacy, which provides leadership, education, and professional development, developed the five questions everyone needs to consider when evaluating media:

    1. Who created this message?
    2.  What techniques are used to attract my attention?
    3. How might people understand this message differently?
    4.  What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?
    5. Why was this message sent?

    When we ask these questions about the messages we see, read, and hear, we are improving our media-literacy skills.

    “Many educators are now addressing news, book banning, and disinformation, and that’s fine, but they should also be calling student attention to those five critical-thinking, media-literacy questions,” says Baker. “For the most part, Schools of Library Science and Schools of Education are teaching information literacy but not media literacy.”

    He believes that teachers need to help students learn to think about what is missing when they are consuming media and when it comes to the Internet and social media, he recommends lateral reading, which is when you open a second browser window to verify what you’re reading while you are reading it.

    Keys to Media Literacy

    • You must practice media literacy consistently to improve your skills.
    • Some forms of media go by too quickly and use techniques to influence and persuade, making it that much harder to evaluate. The five questions (above) help us to slow down and reflect.
    • If you can’t determine the author or there are no credentials, don’t trust the content.

    The School-Home Connection
    “Parents play an essential role in the media literacy of their students,” says Baker. “Thinking critically doesn’t end just because school is out.” He encourages parents to reinforce what children learn at school and the importance of being a smart consumer.  These tips for families with older children, from Common Sense Education, are a good starting point too.  Teachers can use the Bloomz platform to share resources to engage families in this important work.

    Additional Resources

    Digital Inquiry Group: DIG is a nonprofit provider of free history and digital literacy curriculum, research, and professional development

    Verified: How to Think Straight, Get Duped Less, and Make Better Decisions about What to Believe Online: The quintessential media-literacy guidebook shows how to identify red flags, make better use of Google, and tell fact from fiction on the internet

    Media Literacy Clearinghouse: Baker’s popular education resource website

    Students Should Know: A list of media-literacy-related videos that can be used as starting points to teaching students 21st-century skills

    Topics:media literacy