Monday, December 20, 2010

Video Games Boost Brain Power, Multitasking Skills

NPR reports: a University of Rochester professor says results from more than 20 studies show that children may benefit from playing video games. Children who play video games excel in vision, attention and some cognitive skills over those who do not play, according to Daphne Bavelier.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Helping students get more out of social media

Educators need to show students how to make social media work for them, writes tech integration specialist Andrew Marcinek on Edutopia's blog. Instead of having students connect to various networks, teachers should encourage students to be active members in their networks, Marcinek says. That means having students go beyond re-tweeting information and promote debate online, as well as accept constructive criticism.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Media literacy in Science Education

In this post ("When The New Yorker Probes the 'Decline Effect,' An Opportunity Emerges to Rethink Science Education,") the author presents an argument for the embedding of media literacy curricula within science education in high schools and colleges.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Using Film in Schools: A Practical Guide

Coming on the heels of their previous document, Films: 21st Century Literacy, Media Education Wales has produced Teaching Film in Schools: A Practical Guide. This free 50-page document covers how film can be used across the curriculum and for other outcomes; equipment and spaces for viewing, discussing and making films; film education resources and support; and how copyright and the law affects film education.

New Media Literacy Curricula

Pearson/Prentice-Hall's MEDIASTUDIO is a worthy addition to national media literacy curriculum materials. Middle and high school versions are available. The interactive content includes media literacy, film literacy, advertising literacy and more. It is well designed and highly recommended. A press release touts the product as helping promote critical thinking and 21st century skills.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

txtN N d library: Ideas for Librarians Who Want to Embrace the Power of Cell Phones

While for some, libraries bring to mind microfiche, card catalogs, and dusty stacks, today’s innovative librarians are shattering these stereotypes using technologies to provide engaging and relevant learning spaces for students.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How Teachers CAN Use Twitter

Some educators at the recent European Council of International Schools annual conference in France appeared skeptical that Twitter could be a learning tool. But educator Kathy Schrock told educators that Twitter can be used for professional development or to engage students in the classroom by having them summarize reading in tweets, collaborate with peers or follow breaking news

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Get engaged! Add your voice to NAMLE’s media literacy conference

Looking for a way to share your media literacy work with others? If so, then the National Association for Media Literacy Education wants to hear from you. NAMLE is seeking proposals for its 2011 conference, “Global Visions, Local Connections: Voices in Media Literacy Education”, and welcomes program proposals that magnify the core principles of media literacy education; illustrate pedagogical practices in the field; reflect the diversity of voices in the field; showcase the diversity of media and technology forms within media literacy education; or present findings of recent research on the efficacy of media literacy education.

The NAMLE conference serves a diverse constituency, including P-16 teachers, art educators, community leaders, media producers, nonprofit partners, faith-based groups, pediatricians, and other health professionals. Next year’s gathering takes place at the Sheraton Society Hill in the heart of historic Philadelphia, July 22-25, 2011. Proposals are due January 7, 2011. For more information visit

Using social media to foster student collaboration, learning

A Chicago-area English teacher is using social media to help interest his high-school students in literature and reading. Chuck Moore uses PBworks and edmodo, which both offer free social networks for students to collaborate and discuss assignments. Moore's students use the Internet to further their understanding of books and social networking to discuss books online. "It's like what they're used to doing when they socialize with each other," Moore said.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lesson Plans for Developing Digital Literacies

Lesson Plans for Developing Digital Literacies is the title of a new text just released by NCTE at its annual convention, here in Orlando. It is a follow up to the very popular Lesson Plans for Creating Media-Rich Classrooms. Tell your library media specialist: both would make great additions to your media center professional collections.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Critical Thinking and Elementary Media Literacy

Here is an excellent write up about a presentation that targeted elementary students: it includes some good links, resources, and streaming video clips.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Power of Classroom Blogging

"The power of classroom blogging is that students are not merely writing to their teachers, what they think the teacher wants to read, and only for a grade," one educational consultant said. "They are writing with the knowledge that at least their classmates will be reading what they are writing and responding to what they are writing."

Students participate more in class when using Twitter

A study published in a November issue of the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning finds that college students asked to complete assignments and engage in class discussion using Twitter over one semester increased their engagement more than twice as much as a group that utilized a different social networking website for these same assignments.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Makingof Website Will Satisfy Film Teachers and Students Alike is a huge new web resource for those who love film and also those who teach it. (It is promoted in an essay in the Summer 2011 issue of Screen Education.)
The author says: " a few hundred movies are currently on the site, with more regularly added. While some feature nothing more than trailers or clips from the film, others have extensive, highly informative packages specially shot for the site."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The President: Through A Photographer's Eyes

An upcoming PBS documentary (November 24, The President's Photographer: 50 Years in the Oval Office)could be used both by American History teachers as well as those who teach visual literacy.

An excerpt from the program's press release says: "To a documentary photographer, every presidency has defining stories, and those images are often how we remember a president."

The documentary also has a companion book:
Some images from the book can be found on Amazon's web page for the book:
More images from the White House can be seen on the White House's official Flickr site
Note: just this week, former President Bush expressed regret over an official White House photo taken of him in a plane that flew over areas damaged by Hurricane Katrina

CBS' Sunday Morning broadcast (November 6) also had a segment on Pete Souza, the current White House photographer.

Coincidentally, I wrote a chapter on visual literacy in politics in my book: Political Campaigns and Political Advertising: A Media Literacy.

Frank Baker

Friday, November 5, 2010

Digital Video In The Classroom/Digital Storytelling Resources

from the current issue of Tech & Learning magazine (November 2010)
Lights Camera Action: Digital Video In The Classroom

See also Digital Storytelling and Literacy Resources for Kids

Top 10 Sites for Creating Digital Comics

An educational consultant shares his favorite top 10 sites for creating digital comics in Tech&Learning Online.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Classroom Video: Tools and Strategies to Engage Students in Learning (now available as a free ebook)

This eBook is a guide to understanding student engagement, strategies that work, and how to use and integrate a particularly effective tool in this digital age: video in the classroom. Video is shaping the world around us. Students watch videos and should understand what they see and learn how to create effective videos. Addressing student engagement means turning tools for personal enjoyment into tools for engaged learning. Register here (free) to get access to the document.

School Program Helps Students Think Critically about Media and Persuasion

Today’s youth are exposed to greater volumes of media input than any other generation, from television to radio, iPods, billboards, store advertisements, video games, magazines and the internet, and more.

The goal of the Media Literacy Program is to inform them about how they are being influenced by the media without realizing it, and to get them thinking independently and critically about the messages being conveyed by commercials, television shows, advertisements, etc.

Project VoiceScape Invites Young Filmmakers to Submit Films

In collaboration with PBS and Adobe Youth Voices, POV has launched Project VoiceScape as part of its efforts to mentor and encourage aspiring filmmakers. The project welcomes filmmakers in grades 7-12 to submit their film ideas, films-in-progress, or completed short films for its 2011 competition. Project VoiceScape will select 15 young filmmakers for the program and will showcase their work in PBS and POV media. Winners will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, DC. Learn how to enter at

Deconstructing an Historical Image

Photographer/author William Meyers has written an excellent analysis/deconstruction of a popular Walker Evans Depression-era image in his column from a recent issue of The Wall Street Journal.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

No-Cost Social Media For Teachers

This article at the Mashable website has been heavily "tweeted" since it appeared a few weeks ago. The geekiest teachers among us probably won't be surprised to see EduBlogs and Edmodo among the seven tools that teachers can use to engage students in virtual activities and develop and store their own work. But for the rest of you, peruse the info about EDU 2.0, Kidblog, and the various Tube sites (even some schools using YouTube) to see what might be useful in your classroom. PS: the comments are full of other suggestions.

Friday, October 29, 2010

New Online Masters Program in Media Literacy

Webster University School of Communications (St. Louis, Missouri-USA) will offer an Online Master’s Degree in Media Literacy beginning January 2011. For more information contact Tyann Cherry

It's NOT about the technology: it's about learning

The senior editor of ISTE's Learning & Leading with Technology (November 2010 issue)
examines what we mean when we say 21st century learning. (NOTE: this essay becomes active on November 1) There's a multitude of great ideas and resources in each issue of L&L: you might want to consider joining ISTE and subscribing.

Constructing Digital Commonplace Texts Using Diigo, VoiceThread, VideoAnt, and YouTube Annotations in the Classroom

Nice instructional video presentation by Professor Richard Beach.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Media literacy focus of Summer Conference in Philly

Mark your calendars: The National Assn of Media Literacy Education's 2011 conference is coming to Philadelphia in July.

What's there to do in Philly? Plenty !
Take a look:
The Call for Proposals is open (until January 7)
Submissions here:
Hope to see you there

NCTE Webinar: Looking Deeper At Informational Texts- November 3

I hope you might consider joining me next Wednesday (November 3) when I host LOOKING DEEPER AT INFORMATIONAL TEXTS, a webinar for NCTE. With more emphasis being placed on informational texts in the NAEP annual assessments, I will be showcasing a variety of texts for teachers to consider using in their classrooms. In considering what types of texts to use with students, I suggest thinking “outside the box.” One suggestion is to retain the “junk mail” that the post office delivers almost every day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Novels on Tiny Screens

Sales of smart phones and electronic reading devices are strong as ever in Japan, and one literary genre in particular continues to capture the heart of middle school girls.

Calls for Pediatricians to Promote Media Literacy & Reading

"Pediatricians need to become educated about the public health risks of media," say the study's authors in a new policy statement. "Given the impact that media have on the health of children and adolescents, AAP chapters and districts, as well as medical schools and residency training programs, should ensure that ongoing education in this area is a high priority."

This story was posted on the School Library Journal website.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Media Gallery @ NCTE 2010

You’ve heard of blogs, wikis, and nings, but you’re wondering how to use them in your classroom? We have some exciting possibilities on exhibit at our New Media Gallery, Friday, November 19, 2010 from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. in the Coronado Resort, Monterrey Room 1. Sponsored by NCTE’s Commission on Media, the New Media Gallery can be your “one-stop shopping” location for all things related to new literacies.

List of sessions here. Help us promote the gallery: download and post this flyer.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A How-to When Using Wikis With Elementary Students

Some elementary-school teachers are using wikis to manage classroom projects, facilitate student collaboration and as a portal for parents to view students' work. The technology provides a medium for allowing students to develop content with a broader audience in mind, one teacher said. "That's pretty powerful, and it prompts them to be more conscientious about the quality and depth of their writing." But wikis pose challenges, requiring teachers to keep an eye on the content students are posting and track multiple passwords. (Source: T.H.E.Journal)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


From the International Center of Photography: The FOCUS ON PHOTOGRAPHY: A CURRICULUM GUIDE is an exceptional resource for those at all levels of experience in teaching and in photography, designed to inform educators about the many possibilities and interdisciplinary applications of photographic education in school and after-school settings (grades K-12). (NOTE: revised with new link to resource above)

(Some) Schools Embracing Students' Mobile Tech

News story documents the promises, practices and challenges of cell phone use in schools

Friday, October 15, 2010

Copyright, digital media literacies and preservice teacher education

This article considers copyright knowledge and skills as a new literacy that can be developed through the application of digital media literacy pedagogies. Digital media literacy is emerging from more established forms of media literacy that have existed in schools for several decades and have continued to change as the social and cultural practices around media technologies have changed. Changing requirements of copyright law present specific new challenges for media literacy education because the digitisation of media materials provides individuals with opportunities to appropriate and circulate culture in ways that were previously impossible. This article discusses a project in which a group of preservice media literacy educators were introduced to knowledge and skills required for the productive and informed use of different copyrights frameworks. The students’ written reflections and video production responses to a series of workshops about copyright are discussed, as are the opportunities and challenges provided by copyright education in preservice teacher education.

Digital Storytelling 101: Tools, Rubrics & Storyboards

It’s always a struggle to decide how to grade creative projects, so thankfully the folks at Discovery Education have already thought about this and provided some fine options for grading digital storytelling.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

17 Digital Storytelling and Literacy Resources for Kids

Here is a column, written by an ESL educator,and posted on a Tech Learning website, that is designed to inform teachers of some of the best websites for teaching digital storytelling and literacy.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Five Ideas for How to use Flip cameras in the classroom.

Ideas from educators from a recent issue of Scholastic's INSTRUCTOR magazine.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Student-Generated Video Web Site Teaches Visual Communications Skills

Teachers have free access to virtual field trips and other digital educational resources through Meet Me at the Corner, a repository of educational videos that's moderated to ensure relevance and educational value. It also helps train kids to produce their own video podcasts and create documentaries they can share with their peers around the world. (THE Journal)

Is there still room for using with the print newspaper in a digital world?

The Newspapers-in-Education intitiative still has legs in some Missouri/Iowa/Illinois classrooms and teachers explain why.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ideas for Using Flip Cams In Instruction

You can begin creating a 21st century learning environment today with one of the easiest and least expensive to use technologies out there...the flip camera.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Advertising Messages As Tools for Teaching

This site suggests teachers consider using advertising in their English classrooms.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Can Cellphones Be Educational Tools?

Obviously, they CAN be. But this piece, from The New York Times Learning Network site, does not address the need for school districts and schools to revise many of their archaic policies about the use of cell phones in instruction.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Teens Online Lack Ethics (Harvard Study Finds)

In their research, the team has found that most young people are devoid of ethical thinking or consideration for others when using the web.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Education Nation: NBC Initiative Starts September 26

Among other things, NBC's Bryan Williams will talk with thousands of teachers on-air and online about critical issues facing educators. Other details here.

Can videogames transform education?

One of the featured stories in the Sunday New York Times magazine section.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Enhancing English Language Arts Education With Digital Video

Three university professors, writing in the journal "Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education"(CITE), provide a concise history of the use of film in the ELA classroom and examine why teaching with and about digital video is also important for 21st century new literacies' educators.

Researcher links kids' computer use with test scores, behavior

In what researchers describe as one of the first long-term looks at the effects of media use during childhood, a study released September 15 linked hours at the computer with achievement test scores and behavior and found little sign of harm for children ages 6 to 12 as they increased their screen time over a six-year period.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

History of American Film: Series Coming to TCM

Dates & Times: Mondays at 8 p.m. (ET), Beginning Nov. 1 (7 parts)
Where: Turner Classic Movies (TCM)

Description: The true story of the American film industry has as many ups and downs, twists and turns as the latest big-budget thriller, not to mention a cast of characters worthy of a shelf full of Oscars®. MOGULS AND MOVIE STARS: A HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD will tell this extraordinary tale over the course of seven one-hour documentaries, each focusing on a different era of American movie history.

Spanning from the invention of the first moving pictures to the revolutionary, cutting-edge films of the 1960s, this production will feature rarely seen photographs and film footage, clips from memorable American movies and interviews with distinguished historians and major Hollywood figures.

At its heart, the documentary series will be a personal history of Hollywood, detailing the personalities, inter-personal relationships, collaborations and conflicts that created an industry and an art form. The series will also serve as a history of America, looking at how moviemakers responded to such major events as the Great Depression, World War II and the Civil Rights movement.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Forthcoming book: Lesson Plans for Developing Digital Literacies (NCTE)

NCTE members Mary Christel and Scot Sullivan have done it again. Their first book was very popular; this one will be too. Here they present a new set of lessons designed to help you integrate a variety of digital applications—Web 2.0 and beyond—into the courses and units you’re already teaching.

Discovering the power of media literacy for students in the 21st century

Profile of a girl's school that has started to implement media literacy across the curriculum.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Editing, enhancing Wikipedia becomes college project

Some professors believe Wikipedia has no place in the footnotes of a college paper. But some others have agreed to make creating, augmenting, and editing Wikipedia entries part of their students' coursework.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Teaching Web Skepticism: More Important Than Ever

This story, in District Administration magazine, says a recent report out of Northwestern University, "Trust Online: Young Adults' Evaluation of Web Content," finds college students take for granted online information, pointing to the need for public schools to teach these skills.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Some parents struggle to find educational value in high-tech media

Some parents, according to this story in the Detroit Free Press via the Chicago Tribune, refuse to see technology as anything but a distraction from academics.

Monday, August 23, 2010

'Media detective' course empowers children to skirt alcohol and tobacco marketing

A study published in the current journal Pediatrics shows that teaching children as early as third grade to be more skeptical of media messages can help prevent substance use. The study, based on the research of Erica Weintraub Austin, director of the Murrow Center for Media and Health Promotion at Washington State University, reveals that a brief, two-week course boosted the critical thinking skills of third through fifth graders and reduced their intentions to use alcohol and tobacco while increasing their belief that they will be able to resist them.

Searching for the Truth On the Internet

Why is it so much easier for a hoax to defeat our defenses online? “People are so used to getting their news and everything from the Internet, and the audience doesn't screen things,” said Leslie Savan, the author of "The Sponsored Life: Ads, TV, and American Culture.” “They don't have the same standard they would for old media. We've lost some of that ability and skepticism.” Read more here.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

DVR Alert: "March of Time" Newsreels To Air on TCM

This year to celebrate the 75th anniversary of ‘The March of Time’ series, the HBO Archives, the National Gallery of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) are collaborating on showings of the films. MoMA is grouping the newsreels by theme and showing them the first 10 days of September (pdf schedule) followed by panel discussions with experts on the archives.

If that doesn’t happen to be convenient, Sunday, September 5, Turner Classic Movies will air some of the most famous titles between 8:00 PM and midnight . Some of the newsreels aired will be: “Dust Bowl,” “Inside Nazi Germany” (showed in 1937, it was the first anti-Nazi program shown in the isolationist U.S.), “Youth in Crisis,” “Palestine Problem,” and “Problem Drinkers”. This is the first time TCM has ever shown these movies so fire up your DVRs.

Also, here is a link to HBO's March of Times website

Thursday, August 19, 2010

10 Ways to Evaluate Blogs

But how can you tell if a blog is worth reading? What sort of things should you look for? Here are the TL advisor's (highly opinionated) suggestions.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

NCTE Media Literacy Award Winner for 2010 Announced

The NCTE Commission on Media is proud to announce its fourth annual Media Literacy Award winner, Elizabeth Boeser, Communication and English teacher at Jefferson High School in Bloomington, Minnesota. More details here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Smartphone Enters The Classroom Albeit Slowly

At least two school districts in Texas have eased their policies to allow students to use cell phones and other electronic devices in the classroom provided they are being used for educational reasons.

How Online Research Can Make The Grade

"....just as the academic community has started to accept the inevitability of sites like Wikipedia, the Web is also about to foist what may be the biggest complexity it has encountered since the advent of the free-for-all encyclopedia. As the school year starts, the recent proliferation of question-and-answer sites--like the brainy Quora and the soon-to-be-everywhere Facebook Questions--may prove to be students' next last-ditch time-saver and teachers' next digital bogeyman." Read more on C/Net.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Using DVD Extras To Teach The Language of Film

For some time now I have been acquiring DVDs whose extras would help students better understand and appreciate the language of film. I am not referring to the extra which is a short of the "behind-the-scenes" or "the making of." I am however referring to extras that focus on directing, lighting, sound, special effects, set design, storyboards, cinematography and more. So, I've created a list (not comprehensive) and posted it on my website. It is my hope that it will help you and your students.

Friday, August 6, 2010

New copyright law affects educators

eSchool news reports: A new ruling from the U.S. Copyright Office will affect how higher education students and teachers can use digital material in the classroom, thanks to the proactive efforts of Temple University's Renee Hobbs, who says that increasing digital literacy and student skills is a responsibility educators can’t afford to brush off.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How New Technology is Rewiring Our Brains

Touchscreens. TiVo. The Undo button. These new technologies and others have changed the way we interact with the world. PC World explains.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Editorial: Enhancing English Language Arts Education With Digital Video

An excellent commentary on the history of film use and a look at why film/video are still appropriate in a 21st century environment.

Media Literacy in the United States

The authors acknowledge the difficulty of capturing an adequate picture of the past, present and future state of media literacy education in the United States, a country of 300 million people, with more than 4,000 colleges and universities and over 75 million children in a highly decentralized system of elementary and secondary schools. The information is provided as an overview, but is not meant to stand as a comprehensive review of media literacy in the US.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

So called "digital natives" not media savvy--new study finds

ReadWriteWeb reports: A new study coming out of Northwestern University, discovered that college students have a decided lack of Web savvy, especially when it comes to search engines and the ability to determine the credibility of search results. Apparently, the students favor search engine rankings above all other factors. The only thing that matters is that something is the top search result, not that it's legit.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

New Screen Education Resources

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) has launched a fantastic new resource:. Generator is a Web 2.0 enabled site that provides students and teachers with a wealth of resources to support the teaching of screen based content. Featured are: Video Gallery; Educational Themes; Learn From the Makers; Free Media Library; Explore Production Resources. In addition, there is a Storyboard Generator. and a Teachers Lounge. Other features are on Approaches to Alice in Wonderland and other works of director Tim Burton: The Fantastical Imaginings of Tim Burton. Other ed resources from ACMI can be found here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Global Action Project's new Media In Action Curriculum Available as Free Download

from GAP: Global Action Project is proud to announce the online publication of the Media in Action Curriculum. Download it now for free, then use it, share it, and adapt it!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Super-powered literacy: The benefits of comics in the classroom

The Canadian Council on Learning elaborates on its latest findings: "More than just funny books: Comics and prose literacy for boys ," which provides an overview of current research about the reading habits of young boys and the literacy-boosting potential of comics.

Commentary: Creating radio commentaries can get students talking

Engaging students in stimulating public discourse by creating, producing and editing content for a larger audience can be a transformative experience, writes Elisabeth Soep, who is research director and senior producer at the "youth-driven production company" Youth Radio. In this blog post, Soep offers tips on teaching students to write a radio commentary on subjects that are meaningful to them but may also resonate with others by touching on broader social themes.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Call For Presenters: Media Literacy Conference

The Association for Media Literacy (Canada) is sponsoring a one-day media literacy conference in the Fall. The Call for Presenters, and other details, are available here.

Online & Interactive Websites for Teaching Media Literacy

In 1998, I created the Media Literacy Clearinghouse website because I wanted to offer K-12 educators (and others) an online venue for locating appropriate resources that would help in the teaching of media literacy. Thousands of teachers have discovered the resources offered there. Over time, the site has grown and includes more original content since its inception.

Since that time, the web has not only become larger, but also more interactive. A large number of interactive, online websites now offer teachers more opportunities to engage students. What follows is a brief overview of some of these sites

Monday, July 19, 2010

The computer doesn't make kids smart

In this op-ed, media educator Renee Hobbs says using a computer does not make one media or technologically literate, and she cites some recent research as evidence.

Friday, July 16, 2010

New P21 Arts Curriculum Map includes Media Literacy

Working with national arts organizations, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) has developed a first-of-its-kind Arts skills map that clearly defines how arts education promotes key 21st-century skills. Details from eSchool News. Here is a link to the Arts document--media literacy is on page 9.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Developing a Mindful Practice around Moving Images in the K-12 Classroom

In this excellent essay, (reprinted from ALA's Knowledge Quest publication) NCTE Commission on Media member Ryan Goble says: "As the most commonly used nonprint medium in K- 12 classrooms, film should support well-developed questions and teaching objectives." He provides those excellent questions/objectives for all educators to consider.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"To Kill A Mockingbird," "Images from the Civil Rights," "Copyright" and more to be featured at the NCTE 2010 Film Festival

The NCTE Commission On Media is proud to announce the titles of the films selected for the 2010 NCTE Annual Conference Film Festival. The films are shown between 9am and 5pm on Saturday November 20. The exact location of the screenings will be announced soon. Here is a link to the films and their descriptions.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Coming Attractions: Book Trailers

This is not a new resource, but nonetheless a valuable site from a blog recommended by the "Reading Rockets" newsletter. If you don't know what a "book trailer" looks like, this site will provide all of the answers, with plenty of examples.

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Pew Report: Social Benefits of Internet Use Outweigh Negatives During Next Decade

From the report's Overview:
"The social benefits of internet use will far outweigh the negatives over the next decade, according to experts who responded to a survey about the future of the internet. They say this is because email, social networks, and other online tools offer ‘low-friction’ opportunities to create, enhance, and rediscover social ties that make a difference in people’s lives. The internet lowers traditional communications constraints of cost, geography, and time; and it supports the type of open information sharing that brings people together."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New NCTE text reviews history of media in ELA Classrooms

Teacher Mary Christel has contributed a chapter (Teaching Multimodal/Multimedia Literacy) that examines media literacy, visual literacy, the annual NCTE film festival, and film literacy in the new NCTE book: Reading the Past, Writing The Future-- A Century of American Literacy Education and the National Council of Teachers of English.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How The iPad Can Be Used In Education

The "Media In Education" newsletter contains a brief article on how the iPad might be used in K-12 education.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Evaluating Media Literacy Education: Concepts, Theories and Future Directions

This article synthesizes a large subset of the academic literature on media literacy education. It first argues that media literacy is mostly defined in terms of the knowledge and skills individuals need to analyze, evaluate, or produce media messages. These knowledge and skills mainly relate to four key facets of the mass media phenomenon, i.e. media industries, media messages, media audiences, and media effects. Subsequently, it evaluates what is empirically known about the effectiveness of media literacy practices. Suggestions are made for future research.

New Media Literacy Book Series for Kids

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and the New York Public Library announce that author Jon Scieszka has launched his brand new series, SPACHEADZ . Children are bombarded with an estimated 500 separate commercial impressions per day. Media Literacy education provides tools to help people critically analyze messages, offers opportunities for learners to broaden their experience of media, and helps them develop creative skills in making their own media messages. Guys’ Read founder and the first National Ambassador for Children’s Literature, Jon Scieszka has decided to make media literacy fun and interactive with his new series SPACEHEADZ. (continue to PR here) Preview the book here.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Campaign launches to educate youth about First Amendment

A nationwide campaign, 1 for ALL, has been launched to promote the First Amendment to young Americans through education and advertising. The initiative is aimed at people ages 8 to 22 as well as those who teach them. It is designed to apply First Amendment freedoms to modern technologies and concepts. The first-of-its-kind campaign relies on supporters to provide free advertising space, and features interactive ways for people to get involved, such as a video contest. People are also encouraged to submit photos, songs and stories.The campaign also provides lesson plans and promotes First Amendment events on college campuses. Link to news story.

What Teachers Know (and Don’t Know) About Technology

This column in the latest issue of MULTIMEDIA & INTERNET@ SCHOOLS MAGAZINE (What Teachers Know (and Don’t Know) About Technology—And Does Anybody Know They Don’t Know? ) is a follow-up to the author's February essay: What Kids Know (and Don’t Know) About Technology

Trend: “Movie Making” Featured In TV Commercials

I have noticed a recent trend: commercials that incorporate the making of movies into them. Here are three examples

Sprite: director Rik Cordero gets his inspiration after drinking the soft drink

Sprint: What if film crews ran the world?

American Express Card: featuring director Wes Anderson and actor Jason Schwartzman

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Media Literacy Curriculum Unveiled

An Alaska group, concerned about underage drinking, has released its online, interactive media literacy guide, appropriate for use with both middle and high school students.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Increased Use of Technology by K-12 Teachers Has Positive Effects on Perceived Student Learning, Development of 21st Century Skills

An increased use of technology in the classroom by K-12 teachers yields a perceived positive impact on student learning, engagement and the development of 21st century skills, according to the study Educators, Technology and 21st Century Skills: Dispelling Five Myths. The study was released during the annual ISTE conference.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Digital Citizenship Curriculum for MS Unveiled

Common Sense Media has launched its digital citizenship curriculum for middle schools, Digital Citizenship in a Connected Culture. The curriculum is based on the digital ethics research of Dr. Howard Gardner and the GoodPlay Project at Harvard Graduate School of Education. It covers topics including privacy, cyberbullying, and self-expression through interactive activities and real-life stories from kids. The first three units of the curriculum are available now, and the full curriculum will be available in late August 2010. Link to Press Release.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why Media Literacy Should Be Taught

An Atlantic Magazine blogger argues for why media literacy education should be part of American K-12 education.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Internet security is promoted as a career for tech-savvy students

USA Today reports: Efforts are under way nationwide to recruit tech-savvy students to pursue careers in protecting the safety and security of the Internet. College and high-school students are being encouraged to participate in contests that pit the young cyber-experts in virtual battles against hackers, spies and data thieves, while two Maryland school districts are working cybersecurity into the K-12 curriculum with a new career track in "information assurance."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kids and Online Information Credibility: Latest Findings

Do you want to know how well young people navigate the web? Then read the highlights from the latest findings (Kids and Credibility: An Empirical Examination of Youth, Digital Media Use, and Information Credibility) may be surprised.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Media Literacy Documentary

I am always on the lookout for videos which show media literacy at work inside the K-12 classroom. Here is one. It was produced by a media studies graduate student in Portland who is concerned about why media literacy is not taught in American schools.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Social Networking Goes To School

Educators, according to this piece in Ed Week's Digital Directions publication, are integrating Facebook, Ning, and other sites into K-12 life despite concerns about privacy and behavior

Monday, June 14, 2010

Can Google Save the News? It hopes so....

Plummeting newspaper circulation, disappearing classified ads, “unbundling” of content—the list of what’s killing journalism is long. But high on that list, many would say, is Google, the biggest unbundler of them all. Now, having helped break the news business, the company wants to fix it—for commercial as well as civic reasons: if news organizations stop producing great journalism, says one Google executive, the search engine will no longer have interesting content to link to. So some of the smartest minds at the company are thinking about this, and working with publishers, and peering ahead to see what the future of journalism looks like. Guess what? It’s bright.

Can You Own A Sound? (Copyright)

This provocative question is raised in a new resource from Community Classroom: Four lesson plans and film modules for Copyright Criminals, a dynamic documentary from Independent Lens that explores the origins of sampling culture in hip-hop music, copyright, creativity, and technological change.

This curriculum is an invaluable tool for teachers or media organizations seeking to promote media literacy and ethical media production practices among youth.

These resources are FREE to educators and youth-serving organizations and available at:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Future of Reading

THE Journal (June/July: not yet online) features this essay: printed books are losing out to digital resources, bringing not only profound change to school libraries, but also debate over the very act of reading.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The iPad As a Learning Device for Kids

Even though there's not alot of research yet (see the reference to PBS) many publishers are moving ahead with iPad learning applications for the younger set.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

New Internet Safety Report Recommends Media Literacy

Youth Safety on a Living Internet (PDF), the final report by the Online Safety Technology Working Group (OSTWG), found that the best way to assure youth safety on the Internet "points to the growing importance of online citizenship and media-literacy education, in addition to what has come to be seen as online safety education, as solutions to youth risk online."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Final Core Standards for ELA Released: But Something Important Was Omitted

Tuesday, the organizations behind the common core national standards released the document for English Language Arts, and what is surprising, if not shocking, is what they left out.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mobile phones how put children's books in your pocket

Children's book authors and publishers are rushing to transform their paper book stories into digital versions on smart phones, blending their once-upon-a-time plots with elaborate sound effects, animation and 3D effects. Some of the newest versions of these books even allow parents and children to record their own page-by-page narration, making them a personal literacy tool.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Teens Get Creative with Web 2.0 Tools

A Canadian researcher reports on her study and work exploring digital literacy with the idea of examining the potential of using Web 2.0 environments in education.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Video game helps kids wise up to advertising

We've previously written about the FTC's new ADMONGO.GOV website, game and ed resource: now here is another story from the Tribune syndicated news service.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Testing 21st Century Skills

A number of Virginia schools are testing students on problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication and the use of technology -- all considered to be 21st-century skills.

Social Networks In The Classroom? Why Not?

NCTE Commission on Media director Bill Kist (and author of The Socially Networked Classroom) writes in this eSchool News piece: Today's students are always plugged in and ready to learn—so why not take advantage of this trend inside the classroom?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

PBS Kids Touts Study on New Apps for Learning

A new study from PBS KIDS finds that mobile apps can provide an engaging,educational experience for kids.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Visual Culture & Civil Rights

A new exhibit, "For All The World To See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights" has opened at New York City's International Center of Photography. The New York Times (Friday May 21) reviews the exhibit and this web site has additional resources including lesson plans and activities for K-12 educators.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Potential of Videogames

Some schools in West Virginia and Texas are piloting a new game-development program that integrates technology-based skills such as blogging and social networking with 21st-century skills such as collaboration and problem-solving. In a related story, Education Secretary Arne Duncan went on-the-record (last summer) recommending that schools use cell phones to support instruction; now he has come out in favor of the video game. (the link includes an interview as part of the recently aired "Digital Nation" program on PBS)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Understanding Television: Upfronts

Some of you may be asking: what does this topic have to do with teaching English or teaching media literacy? Well, television is a business, a big business. And when commercial television depends on advertising, then you could see how this topic might be useful. Upfronts is a word that many students may have never heard of, but because they watch alot of television, they may be intersted in what is happening this time of year. For more about upfronts, go here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Technology and Literacy Current and Emerging Practices with Student 2.0 and Beyond

This chapter provides an overview of evolving research and theoretical frameworks on technologies and literacy, particularly digital technologies, with implications for adolescents’ literacy engagement. The authors suggest future directions for engaging students with technology and provide resources that support sound practices.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Teaching Parents Digital Citizenship

One Texas school district has decided that the best way to help their students learn how to use online resources more responsibly is to educate parents as well. Evening technology showcases provide a launch pad. Read more at THE JOURNAL.

A Comics Format Textbook Goes to Business School

Flat World Knowledge, an unusual “open source” textbook publisher that offers its textbooks online for free, has teamed with three professors to produce, Atlas Black: Managing To Succeed, the first book in a comics format textbook series that teaches principles of business management at the college level. Details here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Students examine sociopolitical issues through photography

Students at a Colorado high school recently created artwork that incorporated original digital photos to express their ideas about sociopolitical issues. Art teacher Susan Koehler launched the project with the help of a $1,000 grant that paid for digital cameras for the students to use. "I learned a lot about my classmates and the community," one student said. "I learned a lot more from everybody else's assignments than I learned from my own -- what my classmates' opinions are and other issues there that I didn't think about." Details here.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

New test measures students' digital literacy

Employers, reports eCampus News, are looking for candidates who can navigate, critically evaluate, and make sense of the wealth of information available through digital media--and now educaotrs have a new way to determine a students' baseline ditial literacy with a certification exam that measures the test-takers' ability to assess information, think critically, and perform a range of real-world tasks.

Summer Media Literacy Opportunities for Educators

A number of institutes are available for educators this summer. I have created a list of those that I am aware of and have posted that list on the homepage of the Media Literacy Clearinghouse. Details on each event as well as registration information, costs and contact info are all posted there.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

4 Out Of 5 Professors Use Social Media, Study Finds

About 80 percent of professors use social media and more than half incorporate it into classroom activity, a new survey from Pearson reveals.

Ideas for Incorporating Social Media Into The Classroom

Social media may have started out as a fun way to connect with friends, but it has evolved to become a powerful tool for education and business. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter and tools such as Skype are connecting students to learning opportunities in new and exciting ways. Whether you teach an elementary class, a traditional college class, or at an online university, you will find inspirational ways to incorporate social media in your classroom with this list.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

FTC Officially Unveils Ad Literacy Game & Curriculum

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has pulled back the curtain on ADMONGO.GOV, its new "advertising literacy" online game (for tweens) and curriculum (for teachers).
The New York Times and eSchool News both have stories of interest. Not everybody likes the game or the FTC approach.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Text Messenging Used to Help Students Learn Poetry

Students in a New York state middle school who used cell phones and text messaging to learn about poetry outperformed their peers who learned through traditional methods. Students used the phones to text the main idea of poetry stanzas. Those who did got 80% of poetry questions correct on state exams, while those who were taught in traditional methods of using reading, reciting and discussing answered 40% of the questions correctly. Details here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Video-game academy to prepare students for technology careers

A Texas school district is planning a program to teach students video-game technology. It will offer courses in 2-D and 3-D animation, graphics, art and sound and light mixing. Details here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A school that welcomes cell phones into the classroom

A pilot middle school program aims to see what happens when students use cell phones for instruction. Says one social studies teacher: "It's not really a phone, it's their computer for class." Details from CNN.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thinking About: Ed Video Games

Tom DeRosa doesn't play video games much. But after spending his winter break "sick as a dog" on the couch playing with his dad's X-Box, he came to this conclusion: "(E)verything we need to make paradigm-shifting educational video games that kids will actually play has already been created. Instead of starting from scratch,educators need to team up with innovative video game studios and merely tweak the powerful learning-based game models that already exist." Read more here.

Teaching Literacy Using A Kindle

Children interact with the text of an electronic book differently than they do with printed text, according to a college professor of elementary education. Lotta Larson at the University of Kansas says being able to write comment on the Kindle as they read makes the book more pertinent.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

iPad Struggles At Some Colleges

The Wall Street Journal reports connectivity problems with Apple's new iPad tablet at some colleges mean the device won't work there.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

6 Technologies That Will Shape Education

Cloud computing and gaming are among the six technologies that will have a major positive impact on K-12 education in the next few years, according to researchers. But education also faces some critical challenges in that timeframe, including challenges that may require fundamental changes to the way we educate in the United States. This according to a new report released this week by the New Media Consortium (NMC) in collaboration with the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), "The 2010 Horizon Report: K-12 Edition."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Critical Thinking & Media Literacy @ The Middle Grades

Media educator David Considine contributes to the current issue of NMSA's Middle Ground (Teaching 21st Century Skills) with a piece advocating for media literacy in the middle grades. Excerpt: "Teaching students to critically analyze and evaluate advertising provides them with the skills to be competent consumers—a skill they will use for the rest of their lives, whether making decisions about their next bag of potato chips or the next president of the United States." (Article available to NMSA members)

New book on Copyright

Renee Hobbs' new book, Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Supports Digital Learning, should be on the shelf of every K-12 professional collection. With this new book, she continues the campaign to re-educate us all about what we CAN do in the classroom with media. Check it out. (Additional support material for teaching copyright can also be found on her website at Temple University.)

50 Free Games for Teaching Literacy Online

Parents and teachers hoping to nurture the best reading, spelling, and vocabulary in their children should explore all the different literacy games available on the internet. This blogger includes her list of the 50 best to consider.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Engaging Video Games

Financial literacy, Middle East peace, the Supreme Court & Constitutional rights...these are just some of the compelling topics that are engaging students via video games.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Call for Nominations: NCTE's Media Literacy Award

The NCTE Commission on Media is proud to announce that it will award the fifth annual Media Literacy Award at the NCTE Annual Convention in Orlando. Previous award winners are profiled at this site.

Deadline for the 2010 award is Wednesday, June 30, 2010. The award winner will be notified by the end of August and will receive a plaque along with a cash award.

To see the critieria and to apply for the award, go here

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why Social Media Curriculum is Critical in Schools

The writer, a presenter at an upcoming Twitter Conference, argues for schools to rethink their closed door policies.

Helping Students Evaluate News, Online Information

Students can be inundated with information online, and should be taught how to determine fact from fiction when searching for news and information online. The News Literacy Project offers tips to help students evaluate what they read. Students should consider whether they are reading an opinion column, news article or blog post, think critically about what they are reading, recognize bias, use Wikipedia with caution and double-check information using reliable Web sites, such as or More from Edutopia online.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Education Week Special Issue

The March 18 issue of Ed Week has a number of articles profiling media and technology use in the classroom.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Understanding Media Literacy: New online course

Understanding Media Literacy: Inside Plato’s Cave

An online course, available July 2010

A breakthrough course fills a gap in media education

Finally, an online credit course for teachers, teachers in training, and students interested in communications studies and media education. Understanding Media Literacy: Inside Plato’s Cave is a breakthrough online three credit course written, tested and endorsed by teachers and delivered in partnership with Athabasca University. (visit the website at
for more information about the course and its authors)

Leaders aim for good media for youth

Two members of Congress have just introduced the Healthy Media for Youth Act (H.R. 4925), a bill to improve media literacy for youth and to encourage the promotion of healthier media messages about girls and women.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Can Classroom Games Improve Student Achievement?

Before anyone passes off this resource as too frivilous in a standards-driven school climate, we hasten to note it's authored by "What Works" guru Robert Marzano. "I have been involved in more than 60 studies conducted by classroom teachers on the effects of games on student achievement," Marzano writes in this recent ASCD "Educational Leadership" article. "These studies showed that, on average, using academic games in the classroom is associated with a 20 percentile point gain in student achievement." We're not talking Nintendo here, but games modeled on popular shows like Jeopardy, Family Feud or Pyramid. Before you don your Alex Trebek mask: Marzano found teachers get much higher gains from games by following four key practices.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Your Assistance Needed: Core Standards Omissions

Dear friends and colleagues:
Time is running out. If you agree with our petition below, you need to go to the SUBMIT FEEDBACK section of the COMMON CORE STANDARDS documents (online) at this week.
Please share this with your colleagues today.
Frank Baker (Media Literacy Clearinghouse), Richard Beach (University of Minnesota)

Whereas in 1996, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) passed a resolution urging language arts teachers to consider the importance of bringing visual texts into the classroom. The resolution said: "Viewing and visually representing (defined in the NCTE/IRA Standards for the English Language Arts) are a part of our growing consciousness of how people gather and share information. Teachers and students need to expand their appreciation of the power of print and nonprint texts. Teachers should guide students in constructing meaning through creating and viewing nonprint texts."

Whereas in 2000, the National Association of Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) defined
media literacy as: (empowering) “people to be both critical thinkers and creative producers of an increasingly wide range of messages using image, language, and sound. It is the skillful application of literacy skills to media and technology messages. As communication technologies transform society, they impact our understanding of ourselves, our communities, and our diverse cultures, making media literacy an essential life skill for the 21st century.”

Whereas the 2009 K-12 Horizon Report (, declared the number one critical challenge for schools in the 21st century is: "a growing need for formal instruction in key new skills, including information literacy, visual literacy, and technological literacy."

Whereas the 2010 K-12 Horizon Report continues to include this critical challenge when it says:
“Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession.;

Whereas media/digital literacy has become central to life and work in society;

Whereas, today’s educators recognize that the words “text” and “literacy” are not confined to the words on page;

Whereas the Common Core Standards only refer in general terms to media as “nonprint texts in media forms old and new. The need to research and to consume and produce media is embedded into every element of today’s curriculum;”

Whereas media/digital literacy are now well articulated in much more detail in most state standards, often under the category of “viewing” or “visually representing,” resulting in a strong media literacy curriculum focus;

Whereas if media/digital literacy is not explicitly articulated “in the standards,” many teachers many not focus on media/digital instruction;

We, the undersigned urge that more specific media/digital literacy standards related to critical analysis of media/digital consumption/use, production, representations, social/cultural analysis, ownership, and influence on society be explicitly stated in the Common Core Standards.

If you agree with our petition below, you need to go to the SUBMIT FEEDBACK section of the COMMON CORE STANDARDS documents (online) at this week.
Please share this with your colleagues today.
Frank Baker (Media Literacy Clearinghouse) Richard Beach (University of Minnesota)

Game Guides Teens Through Social Networking Dangers

from the UK: a new game has been developed called SMOKESCREEN which is designed to engage young people in understanding the dangers of giving out too much information during their social networking connections. Covered in the game are issues such as identity theft and cyber stalking. Read this news story here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Students who use wikipedia don't want their professors to know

Surprise! Most students use Wikipedia at some point during their research on a paper or project, and they usually do so early on in the process. Online peer-reviewed journal First Monday recently published the findings of its research on student Wikipedia use and said that the service often serves as a starting point for the students who use it, allowing them to gather information for further investigation elsewhere. This is despite the fact that their professors still frown on Wikipedia use—but it seems that students believe what their profs don't know won't hurt them.

Future of Teaching & Technology: A Look at the National Ed Tech Plan

A computing device for every teacher and student so they can access the Internet at school or at home? That, along with an embrace of cloud computing, Creative Commons, and open-source technologies is part of a new set of recommendations from the U.S. Department of Education.

High tech multitasking slows you down

Multitasking is certainly a part of modern life. But studies show that media multitasking in particular takes a toll on the brain. You might think you're accomplishing a lot — updating a spreadsheet while text messaging and catching up on TiVo — but a 2009 Stanford University study shows otherwise. People who juggle multiple forms of electronic media have trouble controlling their memory, paying attention or switching from one task to another as effectively as those who complete one task at a time, says Eyal Ophir, a cognitive scientist and one of three Stanford researchers on the study.

Students, educators not on the same digital page, survey says

A national survey (2009 Speak Up) of more than 368,000 K-12 students, parents, teachers and administrators documents the increasingly significant digital disconnect between students' beliefs about how technology can improve the learning process and the practices of educators who are less comfortable with using technology in the classroom.

Visual technology aids students in learning math, studies find

Animation is helping students grasp abstract math concepts, two studies are reporting. A Lancaster University study found that interactive whiteboards that use animations, visual imagery and videos helped students in the U.K. understand math concepts, and teachers reported that the technology created a more collaborative classroom. In a study from the MIND Research Institute, California students who used math software to solve problems presented as puzzles and games raised their test scores on state exams by more than 12 percentage points.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Digital access, collaboration a must for students

In a national survey that reveals K-12 students’ use of technology at home and at school, students overwhelmingly agreed that access to digital media tools and the ability to collaborate with peers both inside and outside of school can greatly enhance education. “Speak Up 2009: Creating Our Future: Students Speak Up about their Vision for 21st Century Schools,” the latest education technology survey from the nonprofit group Project Tomorrow, identifies the emergence of “free agent learners”—students who increasingly take learning into their own hands and use technology to create personalized learning experiences. Details from eSchool News.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

CFP: Special Issue- Journal of Media Literacy Education

For more info, please contact Paul Mihailidis ( who is spearheading this special issue.

The Journal of Media Literacy Education invites submissions for a special theme issue exploring the relationship between media literacy and digital media and learning. Children and young people are growing up with new forms of media and communication technology that are unfamiliar to many parents and teachers. Scholars are making significant efforts to document the way young people play and socialize online. New norms of online participation are emerging as part of child and adolescent socialization. However, some scholars with interests in digital media and learning position their work at a distance from the practice of media literacy education, privileging the study of user behavior, social connectivity and participation and dismissing practices associated with message interpretation, critical analysis and inquiry, and communication skill development. In this issue, we are interested in exploring both the areas of disjuncture and areas of overlap, aiming to conceptualize new ideas that may fuel the development of both fields.

You are invited to submit manuscripts that explore the topic of digital media and learning in ways that connect with the practice and pedagogy of media literacy education. Your work may be framed around scholarship and practice in education, media studies, cultural studies, or other fields. Some issues we hope the manuscripts may consider: How do media literacy’s structured, formal and critical practices of reading texts/contexts/cultures map onto new forms of participation and engagement in social media environments? How do those who explore digital media and learning conceptualize the various protectionist-empowerment positions? How does learning about young peoples’ out-of-school literacy practices with digital media support the development of in-school programs? Why are aspects of mass media and popular culture generally absent from discussion about digital media and learning? How are new online tools (including those for remix, screen capture, commenting, and collaborative writing) shifting the role of media production practices both in and out of the classroom? Is the focus on digital “tool competence” contributing to another kind of “technicist trap?” How does scholarship in digital media and learning address issues of representation and cultural difference? Is digital citizenship a new set of life skills or a form of moral education which frames media and technology use in terms of middle-class values and cultural norms? How are issues of political economy get learned and taught in relation to social media tools like YouTube and Facebook? How do messages about media literacy and about the value of digital media and learning resonate with journalists, policymakers, school leaders, teacher, parents and children and young people themselves?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Changing Pedagogy for the Net Generation

At the recent ASCD conference, Don Tapscott (author of Wikinomics and Grown Up Digital) challenged his audience to begin thinking about how to reach and teach this new generation of learners.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Can't Read, Can't Watch, Can't Comprehend

A New York professor argues that today's post-literate students don't read movies any better than they read books.

Are you computer literate?

As jobs, finances, communications, and health become digitized, computer literacy is poised to become as fundamental to daily life as going to the ATM or reading the label on a bottle of medicine. Run through this list of computer literacy basics to see how you stack up.

FCC Chair Advocates for Digital & Media Literacy

Digital literacy, according to FCC Chairman Genachowski, isn't just about learning to use technology but "teaching kids to think analytically, critically and creatively, so that they can find relevant information, assess the accuracy and reliability of that information, distinguish fact from opinion, and create and share new content." He also said we "have to teach our children to become media literate so that they can evaluate media content and recognize advertising for what it is."
Details from CNET.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Schools should be teaching, not blocking, social media

Author and school-technology facilitator Steve Johnson believes that schools should no longer be blocking social media because of fears of possible misuse. In this blog post, Johnson argues that more widespread access to social-media tools is inevitable and that educators should be proactive in teaching students how to use social media in positive, creative ways that take advantage of collaborative, community-based learning and help them establish a record of positive use that can and will be tracked by colleges and potential employers.

iPods In The Classroom

According to Robert Craven, education technology coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education in California, iPods offer astounding possibilities for education. Read this interview with him in which he explains the various ways iPods are helping teachers teach, and students learn.

New Issue: Journal of Media Literacy Education--Now Online

The National Association of Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) has just posted the second issue of its free, online Journal of Media Literacy Education (JMLE). This is some of the best writing about media literacy in the US. If you're not already a member of NAMLE, I hope you will consider joining AND mark your calendar, when NAMLE hosts its bi-annual conference: "Global Visions/Local Connections: Voices in Media Literacy Education," July 22-25, 2011 in Philadelphia PA.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Model 'Newspapers in Education' Program

Can in-home delivery of the newspaper tied to classroom activities improve the reading comprehension of students in at-risk communities? Read how The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)developed their successful program, and find suggestions for newspapers and schools interested in launching similar efforts. See page 4 in this document.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Draft of national academic standards released

A draft of common national standards for English and math was released today by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers. The proposal includes specific benchmarks that students should achieve at each grade level. For example, by the end of eighth grade, students should be able to "informally explain why the square root of 2 is irrational." The effort -- endorsed by 48 states -- is being praised for its attempt to bring an "ambitious and coherent" curriculum nationwide, while others are critical of a "one-size-fits-all" approach.

Beyond The Textbook: Documentaries As Tools For Teaching

This essay was originally published in the Spring 2010 issue of POV Magazine. Excerpt: “Documentary has a critical role to play in education. The rapid advances in media technology have forced educators like myself to rethink notions of literacy and adapt our curricula accordingly. If students are watching, listening, and producing even more than they are reading, we must ensure they have critical frameworks for analysis. We can use documentaries to raise questions around voice, truth, ethics, and a range of themes relevant to the shifting literacies of the 21st Century.”

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Social networking: Twitter, YouTube boost lessons, communication

A Louisville Kentucky newspaper reports: Social networking is a practice that Jefferson County Public Schools has only recently begun to embrace. Until just a couple of weeks ago, the district had blocked such sites as Twitter and Facebook because of the district's participation in the federal Children's Internet Protection Act, which addresses concerns about access to potentially offensive content over the Internet on school and library computers. But now, JCPS and other nearby districts, including Oldham and Bullitt, are allowing teachers to use some social-media sites such as YouTube and Twitter to enhance their lessons.

Digital Citizenship: more than just digital literacy

Digital citizenship involves more than just digital literacy, write Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay, cofounders of the Flat Classroom Project. Educators must be able to effectively research tech trends, monitor the use of technology in their schools and districts, and empower student-centered learning mechanisms.

Has Blogging Peaked?

Today, there is increasing evidence that the art of blog writing is losing ground to even faster forms of communication, from 140-character Twitter blasts to one-sentence status updates on Facebook and MySpace. Nielsen Media Research estimates that of the 126 million blogs counted by its crawlers, the vast majority are rarely – if ever – updated. Details here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Plan outlines new vision for digital learning in K-12 schools

From Education Week: The Obama administration released its National Educational Technology Plan, which focuses on raising the country's college completion rate by using technology to customize learning, taking advantage of online learning to increase instructional time and moving toward one-to-one computing for all students. The plan encourages school districts and educators to leverage technology tools that students are already using outside the classroom to better prepare them for the professional world, but some critics say it does not go far enough to provide funding for these efforts. (read these other stories about the plan from THE Journal and eSchool News)

The Power of Story: Improving Student Writing Through Movies

Story and Film is a new, innovative curriculum for high school students. Created by John Warren, it uses screenwriting as an accessible and innovative approach to teaching English, Literature and Media Studies. Warren will hold a three-day institute for high school teachers June 8-June 10 at the Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities in Greenville SC. Here is a link to a flyer with details and registration information.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Newspapers are used as teaching tools in Kentucky classrooms

A Kentucky elementary-school teacher uses newspapers to teach her students math, literacy and current events. Teacher Ruthie Miller says her students "buy" advertised items in the paper to learn math, write stories based on news photos and point out articles that are relevant to them. Miller receives the newspaper as part of the Newspapers in Education program, which distributes close to 10,000 papers to area classrooms each week to use as a teaching tool.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What the iPad Means to Higher Learning

AV Technology magazine's writer poses the question in the current (February/March 2010) issue: will Apple's iPad do to textbooks what the iPod did to music?

More educators seeking guidance on social-media contact with students

The Orlando Sentinel reports that some educators are finding themselves treading into a virtual minefield when using social media to interact with students. The communication tools can be a valuable way for teachers to connect with students but can also lead to situations where words are misinterpreted. Many teachers say they need clear guidelines, and education leaders nationwide are struggling to determine the appropriate use of text messaging and social-networking sites such as Facebook.

Monday, March 1, 2010

New Research on Digital Literacy Among Young Children

Authored by early childhood education experts, Arizona State University's Jay Blanchard and Terry Moore, the white paper examines the latest research on how young children learn using increasingly personalized and mobile media, including cell phones, television, video games, smart devices, and computers. The report focuses on the impact of these new ways of learning and highlights the degree to which these emergent literacies are rooted in young people's use of common-place mobile devices - especially in developing and least-developed nations.