Media Literacy Course: Where do I sign up?

Why hasn’t anyone required me to take a media literacy/digital citizenship course?! The more I read into the topic, the more I realize how much I don’t know about it, nor does almost everyone else my age. I’m not sure if I somehow missed out on PDs or required courses but I am truly questioning how it is that my colleagues and I have never received training in this. If we are to be teaching this concept to our students, we need some serious background knowledge first. Needless to say, there are virtually no digital citizenship teachings happening at my school. There is a little bit of talk of including the topic of cyberbullying in our health classes, but that is pretty much it.

Scrolling through Facebook, I am met with friends and acquaintances with strong opinions about certain subjects posting articles to back their claims for or against. Examples include anything from Covid being a conspiracy theory, to climate change being false, to reasons why Justin Trudeau is a dictator. None of these people have done their research; they see an article that supports their ideas and spread it across their social media platforms like wildfire. Bart Mihalicz shared an article with us this week that refers to media bias and the favoritism some media can present towards certain subject areas. Though I am fully aware about the concept of fake news, and have dabbled in teaching it to older students, the article The Challenge That’s Bigger Than Fake News has really opened my eyes to the immediate need of teaching our youth (and ourselves) how to discern between reliable and unreliable sources.

What I would like to see for the future of our school is a scripted program for all ages to be taught digital citizenship. We would need to first begin with some professional development for our staff to ensure we are all on the same page and have the skills and knowledge required to teach the subject. There are two resources of which I am aware that I feel could serve our school for the task of teaching our students. Common Sense Media has been discussed at length within our ECI 832 class. It appears to be an excellent resource for the elementary grades, though it is American and is not offered in the French language, which would not serve our francophone community. The second resource from CIVIX Canada is an excellent resource that I have used in the past to teach about media literacy and verification skills for students in grades 7-12. It is Canadian and is offered in both official languages. The CIVIX resource touches on the strategies mentioned in used by the fact checkers in The Challenge That’s Bigger Than Fake News article including reading laterally, using “click restraint”, and making use of Wikipedia. If you teach grades 7-12, I highly recommend this resource.

4 thoughts on “Media Literacy Course: Where do I sign up?

  1. Isn’t it mind-blowing that a course as relevant as this hasn’t been deemed mandatory yet? I asked Alec about it last class and he said it’s not actually that easy. I forget all of the details, or more so, I don’t want to get them wrong, but it’s definitely a question worth asking him as his explanation is worth hearing. I think so many people that are learning about the topic, or feel passionate about it are feeling frustrated that we aren’t explicitly teaching these topics in our classrooms and using the spiral method to build on through every year. I think there’s still a lot to learn, but more importantly, there’s a lot of work to do to try to get this deemed required in our schools and our own schooling experience in university. Great post!

  2. The title and start of your post are just the same thought I had after a week when this course started… This is such a vital theme and why we are not being taught about it??
    Even in the school, I used to teach, we never taught or even talked about digital literacy… I think proper training should be provided to teachers, parents/guardians… as through this, they will be able to teach students effectively… Moreover, there is a need in curriculums and education systems as well to focus on digital literacy… And implement this in schools.

  3. I agree, Leah, I have never been asked to take digital literacy courses! It wasn’t that long ago I was in university, and I feel like it was relevant then. So how do we expect teachers to have the capacity to teach digital literacy? Thanks for sharing the CIVX course!

  4. As the other commenter’s have mentioned, I agree that this course begs the question “Why didn’t I learn this sooner? Why isn’t everyone learning this?” I suppose until there is mandated curriculum on this topic, all we can hope for is a ripple effect: that those who learn about media literacy and dig cit will share this learning with students and other colleagues and we will see its importance and value start to spread.

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