6 ways to integrate media literacy into the classroom
While students spend most of their time looking at media, we must resist the temptation to believe that they understand what they are seeing and hearing. Just because they know how to research the internet and spend endless hours in front of the TV doesn’t mean they know how media works or how it affects it. Therefore media literacy is important.
According to Implementing Media Literacy In Your Classroom, media literacy is defined as “the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, shape and act on all forms of communication. The term “media” refers to any electronic or digital means and printed or artistic images used to convey messages – you can read them (print media), see them (visual media), hear them (audio media), or change them and play with it (interactive media) or a combination of each. Literacy is the ability to code and decode symbols and to synthesize and analyze messages. “
Teachers are looking for ways to integrate media literacy into their lessons – especially as it has become apparent that students cannot distinguish between real and fake news. Here are six ways you can teach media literacy to your students.
- Teach students to evaluate media.
First, students need to be taught to rate media. For example, teachers need to discuss prejudice and sources. By showing students that the media changes depending on who produced it, who the intended audience is, and what bias can be attributed to the source, it helps students learn to evaluate what they are watching.
- Show students where to find digital resources and databases.
Teachers should also provide students with reliable media sources. This means that students learn to rate websites and digital resources on trustworthy content. For example, there are several databases designed for students to use secure resources.
- Compare / contrast different media sources.
Compare / contrast different media sources in your discussions. For example, when reporting a message, have students read the story from different sources. When you talk about movies or television, you are comparing elements.
- Discuss how the media is edited and changed.
Make a conscious effort to point out examples of media that alter photos or stories. Teach students to be suspicious of what they see or read at face value. For example, if they find that the magazines have been changed, it makes a difference in their self-perception.
- Investigate the “truth” in advertising.
Have students identify which advertisements they want to sell and what “promises” or ideas they are using to convince you to buy the product.
- Have the students create media.
Finally, have the students create media. Depending on the grade level, you can have students create presentations, videos, or websites. For example, students can create movie posters from movie trailers.