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Media Literacy

Colorado lawmakers are pushing for a revision of the reading, writing and civics curriculum to include media literacy

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SOUTHERN COLORADO – With the constant flow of information on social media, it can be difficult to tell what is real, what is fake, and what is misleading. Children can find it especially difficult, causing Colorado lawmakers to pass new laws that focus on media literacy.

House Bill 1357, presented by State Representative Lisa Cutter and co-funded by State Representative Barbara McLachlan, would create an online resource database of media literacy materials and provide technical assistance on policies and procedures to school districts that request it. The bill was first introduced in 2019 when it passed the Colorado General Assembly.

“We had to do our homework first and make sure that we had well thought-out legislation that was really needed and that there were already plenty of resources for people to use. I ran this bill, and it created a robust committee of advisors that gathers. “Best practices, look at the situation and report it,” said Rep. Lisa Cutter, D-Littleton.

Under the bill, the Media Literacy Advisory Committee was created to draw up a list of recommendations that would help improve media literacy education in elementary and secondary schools. The committee consisted of teachers, students, librarians and journalists. Some of the main recommendations were:

  • Systematically address media literacy in all schools.
  • Communicate the critical role teacher librarians play in both digital citizenship and media literacy education.
  • Deliver a consistent, coherent message around media literacy that engages all stakeholders.
  • Make sure the principles of media literacy in the Colorado Academic Standards in reading, writing, and civics are clear and specific.
  • Share verified and research-based resources for media literacy education and professional development across the state.
  • Promote professional development, teacher and student recognition, and media literacy programming grants. • Form community partnerships to increase the effectiveness of media literacy education.

Paxton Decker, a former Grandview High School student, was among the few students selected to serve on the Media Literacy Advisory Committee.

“What I wanted was an actual lesson plan, some kind of program, something that they put into the classroom to reach real students. That was very important to me, ”said Decker. “The committee was like we should focus on internet literacy or traditional literacy, I said do anything. I want to see the depth and commitment of the students. “

Decker said he wanted a plan that addresses many different areas of media literacy and encourages student participation.

“I liked the online database and the guidelines and procedures for teachers. I think it’s a great complementary resource, so I wanted it to help with something that would take a lot of class time, ”Decker said.

With so much misinformation flooding the internet, his generation has a hard time finding credible sources.

“I was pretty shocked when I spoke to people my age who really should know the internet better,” Decker said. “The problem is that the media is an important institution that connects people with politics. So if they don’t get real information, you can’t have a common political space. It all starts with education, in a country where education exists, so to speak, “recently fallen apart.”

Marilyn Saltzman, a former educator and media literacy chair for Colorado Press Women, was also on the committee. She says that since students are both consumers and producers of news, it is important that they have media literacy

“I think it is crucial in these times that students are able to access information, analyze information, and critically evaluate information so that they know what is true and factual,” said Saltzman, seeing, whether it is an actual website. Is it factual, do you present both sides? ”

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, the law was tabled to make way for laws that focus on helping those affected by the virus.

“COVID apparently took over pretty early on in the meeting and swept a lot of things off the floor. We had to take care of the emergency immediately, “said Barbara McLachlan MP, D-Durango.

This year, a new version of the bill is to be presented during the legislative period. The bill states that the State Board of Education will be required by April 30.

“We’re not dictating how they teach it, we’re just saying these things need to be taught and it is techniques and tactics for children to understand at an early age what is real and what is not, what is an opinion and which is a fact. ” said Schneider.

The school districts have about two years to implement the new standards in the curriculum.

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