Unit 5 would like the use of social media to be included in the media literacy course
The curriculum director for Normal Community and Normal West High Schools says the district already has a good foundation for teaching media literacy.
Illinois high schools are required to teach media literacy beginning in the 2022-23 school year.
Unit 5’s Dan Lamboley said the district is currently teaching some core principles that students must be media literate in order to better spot fake news, but he wants to see how the new curriculum can help students use social media in healthy ways .
“I see embedded, particularly English and social studies, courses that almost all students take in terms of analyzing the trustworthiness of sources,” said Lamboley, adding that he believes media literacy should begin in middle school.
Unit 5 includes media literacy as part of their digital media course, which almost all students take in sixth grade.
According to Lamboley, by the sixth grade, most students rely heavily on their cell phones for information. He is concerned about how this will affect their social and emotional wellbeing when they have unhealthy social media consumption.
“Once children have a cell phone, they are informed or develop these messages through social media almost around the clock,” he said.
Lamboley said the district teaches digital media to middle school students not only to guide them as readers and viewers, but also as content producers.