Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Superintendent Urges More Emphasis on Visual Literacy

I was most pleased to read this:  The superintendent, writing this T&L blog post, recommends the chapter on visual literacy from my most recent book (Media Literacy In The K-12 Classroom.)

Guest post — Steven M. Baule, Ed.D, Ph.D. Superintendent of North Boone CUSD 200, IL: While I was wandering through graduate school, there was a lot of discussion about visual literacy and its importance to design and advertising. I continue to think that visual literacy is essential for our students to really make the most out of our highly visual culture. As many educators come from text-based disciplines like English, history, and reading, we sometimes forget about the importance of visual literacy. ISTE has a visual literacy primer here. ( ) Some exceptional historical examples of data visualization are available here. There are many great tools to create visuals like Holi, which focuses on charts like Venn diagrams and radar plots, Creately, which focuses on flow charts and diagrams, and ManyEyes from IBM. Of course Wordle is more like an old friend at this point, but is still producing impactful images. What tools are you using to enhance visual literacy?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Call for Papers/Proposals: Media Literacy Research Symposium

Call for Papers/Proposals:   Media Literacy Research Symposium
March 21, 2014                  8:00AM-6:00PM
Dolan Business School, Fairfield University, Fairfield, Connecticut
Submit your proposal today!
Media Literacy Research:
We are a growing field with a need for developing and increasing the research within it.   With this conference, we hope shorten the present gap by filling it with works from current scholars, new researchers, graduate students, educators and others who have a vested interest in opening this field and moving it forward from all over the world.  
Here are the anticipated strands of focus:
Strand 1: Media Literacy: Past, Present, and Future
Papers in this strand will explore the growth of media literacy through a historical lens, looking at the past to understand the foundations of the field, and what they mean for the future.
Strand 2: Digital Media and Learning 
Papers in this strand will explore perspectives on how learning is evolving in technological contexts, and what tools and platforms are facilitating this change.
Strand 3: Global Perspectives
Papers in this strand will explore the role of media literacy as it has developed in international scope and focus in recent decades. Facilitated largely by new digital technologies and social platforms, how students learn about the role of media in their daily lives must necessarily include global perspectives.
Strand 4: Education: Training, Policy, and Digital Citizenship
Papers in this strand will explore how media literacy can be a voice in policy discussions on municipal and national levels. Creating media literacy policy has become an important aspect of the growth of learning in developing curriculums nationally and internationally. Along with policy has been the increase discussion on digital citizenship, Internet safety, cyberbullying and cybersecurity, as they have become increasingly important topics both in and out of schools.
Strand 5: Public Spaces & Civic Activism
Papers in this strand will explore the opportunities that media literacy provides for lifelong education and vibrant spaces for the public to engage with media in informal learning environments, including but not limited to Libraries, museums, parks, and community centers. Whether its healthy lifestyles, political voice, or more production skills, these are all in the context of helping enable stronger, more critical and analytical voices. Thus, this calls for media literacy explorations that involve the notion of the active citizen as their outcome.
Who Should Submit:
Scholars, Researchers, and Educators at all stages of their careers are welcome to submit!! 

Accepting the Following Formats: Sessions, Panels, Round Tables, Posters

Send Submissions to:  (indicate the strand and the format).

Key Dates:

Call for papers opens:                       November 15, 2013- January 2,  2014
Notification of acceptance:                January  15, 2014

Conference Registration Details to Follow Soon!
For More Information Contact: Belinha De Abreu,  203-315-6830  or  Paul Mihailidis,
Publishing: All papers will be considered for future publication. Details presented at conference

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Media Breaker: Online Video Editor Teachs Fair Use/Ethics Around Remixing Copyright Media

Encouraging students to celebrate and use the rich portals of the ever-growing Creative Commons movement to find copyright-friendly media is an instructional no-brainer.
Teaching students how and when to flex their fair use muscles–how to decide when their use of copyrighted media is truly transformative–is a greater challenge.  But it is a challenge we must address to build media literacy and to ensure students are able to ethically and critically able to participate in media conversations as citizens.
Launched last week, Media Breaker, is a free, online video editor, designed to help students learn to ethically and creatively remix copyrighted media while they learn about and apply fair use guidelines.  The project is supported by the Knight Prototype Fund and developed in partnership with Pace University’s Seidenberg Creative Labs.  Details in this SLJ blog.

Monday, November 4, 2013

New Classroom Media Literacy Resources Launched

MediaSmarts, Canada's centre for digital and media literacy, recognized the start of Canada's 8th annual Media Literacy Week with the release of a series of new resources and activities for parents, teachers, children and youth.

Monday, October 21, 2013

New Series of Media Literacy Videos Premieres

MediaSmarts and Concerned Children’s Advertisers (CCA) have just launched a 6-part series of “media minutes,” short videos that deal with key components of media literacy.  Correlating curriculum will be released November 4, as part of Media Literacy Week in Canada.

How storyboards can help students read more carefully

Newspaper articles and storyboarding can help students plan presentations and writing assignments and encourage them to read text more carefully, according to the writers of this blog post. The writers share a template for storyboards, along with other resources, such as a video enabling teachers to compare storyboards to the Pixar animation process and another showing how high-school journalism students used the technique to share what they had learned.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Just announced: 2013 NCTE Film Festival Schedule

 The organizing committee of the NCTE 2013 Conference Film Festival, held Saturday November 23, is pleased to announce this year's schedule of films, which can be found here.  All films featured in the screening room can become springboards for classroom study. As noted on this web site, some of the films intersect with the various NCTE strands.  Materials about additional educational films that teachers may consider using for their classes will also be supplied.   Updates and last minute information can also be found here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Using Popular Magazines to Teach CCS, Visual & Media Literacy

For more than a year, I’ve been using popular culture and in-school magazines as part of my media literacy workshops.  We all have magazines at home and at school. They have a high student engagement factor in the classroom and are proving to be a very effective way to teach visual literacy, media literacy, and a host of Common Core standards.  Read more at

Friday, September 20, 2013

Another call for Media Literacy Education

John Schaefer, the director of the Children's Media Workshop, makes another compelling argument for why media literacy should be taught in American schools.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New Resource for Teaching Digital Citizenship

From Cable In The Classroom:  95% of teenagers use the Internet. It's up to us to teach them how to use this technology responsibly! CIC brings you InCtrl, a series of free, standards-based lessons that effectively teaches key digital citizenship concepts such as:
  • Cyberbullying
  • Ethics/Copyright
  • Privacy
  • Media Literacy
  • Information Literacy
  • Communication & Collaboration
InCtrl is matched to Common Core State Standards and the ISTE NETS and can be taught in any subject. Each lesson contains videos, background information, and activity ideas and is designed to engage students in grades 4-8th through inquiry-based activities. These lessons can be used as a series or individually

Should transliteracy replace language arts?

Recently ISTE solicited responses to this question (Should transliteracy replace language arts?) and in the latest (Sept-Oct 2013) issue of its "Learning & Leading With Technology" publication, it includes the point and counterpoint.

If you don't have this issue (which is not yet available online) you might still be interested in some of the responses posted on
this web page.  (Note: you need to be a member of LINKED IN in order to read the responses, so if you're not yet a member, now might be a good time to join.)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Teachers Look to Film to Foster Critical Thinking

NCTE consultant Frank Baker and NCTE author John Golden discuss using film in the classroom.  Education Week, August 15, 2013


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What does it mean to be literate in the 21st Century?

The writer, in this opinion piece published in The American Thinker, considers what it means to be literate in the 21st century. The times are certainly changing: but are teachers ready (and are they being prepared) to meet the challenges?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Media Literacy and Close Reading

In this blog post, Susan Ruckdschel offers a plethora of suggestions for the classroom teacher who wishes to engage her students in meeting Common Core ELA standards through the "close reading" of media texts.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New Text With Strong Elements of Visual/Media Literacy

I've just become aware of a new  K-12 textbook series which includes strong elements of both visual and media literacy.  The title is: "Inquire | A Student Handbook for 21st Century Learning"and it's published by Zaner-Bloser.  If you teach media/visual literacy and you are looking for something new and fresh, you might wish to consider this series.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review and comment on new National Core Arts Standards (including media arts)

Public review of the National Core Arts Standards has opened!  Please pass it on! The public review of drafts of grades PreK- 8 for Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts has opened!  Please go to the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards website at and click on Public Review to access the orientation video, links to a survey for each discipline and links to recommended reading.  Please encourage teachers, teaching artists, administrators, parents and students to visit the site and participate in the survey.  The writing teams are anxious for your feedback and every voice is important. The review ends on July 15. Thank you for your interest in the review.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Ideas to link classic literature on audiobooks with their movie adaptations

This SLJ essay recommends both audio books and film adaptations of famous literature as yet another strategy librarians, teachers and parents could use to get reluctant readers to appreciate literature.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Making the case for scriptwriting in the classroom

Media literacy consultant Frank Baker makes the case that students should be writing scripts and screenplays as part of their schoolwork.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Teaching Gatsby, The New Film & Its Oscar Chances

If an Oscar prediction can be made this far in advance, I'm going to go out-on-a-limb and predict that Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby will certainly receive nominations for both production (set) design as well as costumes. It may also garner wins as well. Time will tell. Read my review and more here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Graphic Novels Add Value to K-12 Student Learning (Study)

Graphic novels may have a place in the classroom as an alternative form of literature, according to researchers. Read the study here.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Three Resources for Digital Learning/Citizenship & 21st Century Skills

Get the Facts!
This wiki provides
digital citizenship curricula and professional development resources for adults working with K–12 students on digital citizenship.
The site explains “digital citizenship” and presents integrated lessons, aligned to the Common Core standards, for using technology safely, responsibly, critically, productively and civically (contributing to the digital society).

The site also includes ideas, resources and workshops targeted to different members of the school community—students, teachers, librarians, administrators, tech specialists, parents and those with special needs.

The Resources section is organized according to the following categories: Organizations, General Websites, Standards, Curriculum, Civic Engagement, Cybersafety, Cyberbullying, Intellectual Property (Plagiarism, Copyright), Intellectual Freedom (and Privacy), Critical Thinking, Literacies (Information, Media, Visual), Instruction, Lessons and Learning Activities, and Tools.

A six-module online tutorial offers advice on using the wiki.

Know the Villains!

Own Your Space is a free, 16-chapter ebook designed to educate ‘tweens and teens about protecting themselves and their “stuff” online.
Each chapter goes into great detail explaining the technical threats that students’ computers face online as well as the personal threats to data that students can face online. For example, in the first chapter students learn about different types of malware and the importance of installing security patches to prevent malware infections. The fourteenth chapter explains the differences between secured and unsecured wireless networks, the potential dangers of an unsecured network, and how to lock down a network.
The ebook is provided free of charge on Microsoft’s website. You can download the entire ebook or individual chapters appropriate for your students.

Draw the Line!

A Thin Line is a digital safety education resource produced by MTV, in collaboration with other media partners, to educate teenagers and young adults about the possible repercussions of their digital activities.
A Thin Line offers a series of fact sheets about topics such as sexting, digital spying, excessive text messaging and instant messaging, and cruelty. The site gives students advice on how to recognize those behaviors and their dangers, and how to protect their digital identity. Students can also take a short quiz to practice identifying risky digital behaviors. A Thin Line is accessible in English and Spanish.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Toolkit: Digital & Media Literacy Education A Teacher's Guide

This guide, in the form of a free PDF, has been produced as part of the project Virtual Stages Against Violence (VSAV), which can be framed within the conceptual and methodological horizon of media literacy.

Aimed at teachers and educators, the guide constitutes the
Toolkit of the project and contains five units with a series of educational activities about the topics and problems already dealt with in both the online game and the theatre plays. As the whole project does, these activities aim at developing an increased awareness among young people of both the risks and opportunities of digital media and online communication.

Toolkit offers innovative and participatory methods to support, integrate and enrich the work carried out by educational institutions such as schools. The chosen education tools aim primarily to an active acquisition of skills and not just an acquisition of knowledge. The Toolkit is therefore a valuable complement to develop educational activities, raised more effective as being part of a creative, interactive and transversal learning experience.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Strengthening Newspaper Literacy

Why are social studies texts so difficult to read? Five pages into Building Literacy in Social Studies: Strategies for Improving Comprehension and Critical Thinking by ASCD authors Donna Ogle, Ron Klemp, and Bill McBride, I came across several answers to this question. Among them was: students have poor attitudes about the study of “old events and dead people,” especially when no connection is made to present-day events. And that can seriously affect engagement and retention. Excerpted here is a teaching strategy you can employ to help students learn how to better dissect and understand newspaper articles. And the subject of the accompanying newspaper clipping, linked to here for your use, is on a topic quite relevant today.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Help for Teaching Web Evaluation Skills To Students

Looking for an easy-to-use, robust evaluation instrument that you or your classroom teachers can use to evaluate sites for teaching and learning?
Looking for a great way to teach Web evaluation skills to students?
The Center for Digital Literacy at Syracuse University, with funding from an IMLS SPARKS! Ignite grant, has developed a series of automated evaluation instruments ("WebCHECK") to evaluate the quality of Web sites. The evaluator completes the instrument online and a full report with graphs is automatically generated and sent to the evaluator. There is also an option for using the instrument with a group of students and compiling results.
There are four versions of WebCHECK:
WebCHECK Professional(c)(for librarians, classroom teachers, Web site designers)
WebCHECK Senior(c) (for high school students)
WebCHECK Middle(c) (for middle school students)
WebCHECK Junior(c) (for elementary school students)
All instruments will be freely available on the Center for Digital Literacy Web site. Our projected national launch date is fall 2013.
These instruments are currently in beta testing (with a national launch scheduled for fall 2013). We have completed testing of WebCHECK Professional and are now looking for 50 school librarians nationwide to pilot test one of the three student instruments by developing and implementing a lesson plan with a group of students and then providing feedback on the experience, for which we will provide each pilot tester with a $100 stipend.
It is estimated that it will take about 2-3 hours total of your time. If you are interested, please contact Dr. Ruth Small, Project Director at . We will accept the first 50 volunteers to whom we will send out detailed directions for participation.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ohio Educators Invited to: Media Literacy Meets New Literacies

"Media Literacy Meets New Literacies"  is a full-day workshop, designed for school library media specialists as well as ELA educators. It will occur on June 19, 2013 at the State Library of Ohio in Columbus, presented by William Kist and Frank Baker. Details including how to register can be found here.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Picturing the Presidents

How we see, and understand, the President of the United States, is primarily the job of one man: the chief White House photographer.  Several recent books (and some older ones) are of note here:

The newest release is by Eric Draper, the photographer who was the chief White House cameraman for the eight years of the George W.Bush presidency. "
Front Row Seat: A Photographic Portrait of the Presidency of George W. Bush." is published by University of Texas Press.

It follows on the heels of the recently released book "
The President's Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office," (published by National Geographic, 2010) which traces contemporary photographers inside the White House. This particular book was the basis for the public TV documentary of the same name.

Photographer Pete Souza, the man who currently holds the title of chief WH photographer, is also the author of these related books: "The Rise of Barack Obama" (Triumph Books, 2008) ; "Images of Greatness: An Intimate Look at the Presidency of Ronald Reagan (Triumph Books, 2004); "Unguarded Moments: Behind-The-Scenes Photographs of President Ronald Reagan" (Summit Publishing, 1993).

Also of note: "The Clinton Years: The Photographs of Robert McNeely," (Callaway, 2000) and "George Herbert Walker Bush: A Photographic Profile," (Texas A&M Univ Press, 1997)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Modern literacies fit with the common core

The Common Core State Standards and the integration of technology into education are issues that go beyond college and career readiness and reach into the quality of life for students, writes Kent State University's William Kist, in the current issue of Ed Leadership. In this article, Kist suggests some strategies to boost new literacies, such as giving students the chance to read screen-based texts including video to meet close-reading requirements and experiment with digital writing and collaborative writing.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

New Lesson Plans Released for Annual Newspaper-in-Education Week

Newspaper In Education Week (March 4-8) is celebrated annually during the first full school week in March. This year, the American Press Institute is partnering with the Newseum on curriculum that emphasizes the newspaper as an educational resource.

Lessons focus on the following topics:

Newspapers in Your Life

  • What’s News Where?
  • The First Rough Draft of History

In the Newsroom

  • The Fairness Formula
  • Planning for the Unpredictable

Media Literacy

  • Where News Comes From
  • Evaluating the News

Monday, February 18, 2013

Teaching The Oscars: Part 1 of 2

SLJ pop culture blogger Peter Gutierrez gets to the heart of the matter in this wide-ranging interview with Frank Baker about the advantages of teaching with and about the Academy Awards.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Resource for Teaching With The Films of Tim Burton

An exhibition featuring artifacts from director Tim Burton's films is accompanied by this education resource kit: rich in content for diving deeper into Burton's live action and animated films. The teaching resources included can be used in "close reading" analysis and better understanding the "language of film."

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Helping Student Think Critically About Pop Culture

Our students are surrounded by popular culture that is often inappropriate with violence, sex and vulgarity, writes Marc D. Hauser, an educational consultant. In this EdWeek commentary, he writes that when students want to include such video games, music or other items in class projects, teacher should use those opportunities to help students develop their critical-thinking skills to be able to recognize inappropriate materials. "Needless to say, this is not a topic of discussion and education that ever ends. But it is a topic that should be part of teachers' responsibilities," he writes.

Can A Picture Change The World?

The online site for the Scholastic magazine SCOPE, aimed at middle schoolers, contains a video which encourages students to look deeper at historical images. (If you have not previously seen my web site on visual literacy, I hope you'll also look there for resources and teaching assistance.)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Videos: Behind The (Oscar) Ballot

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science has released (so far) three video shorts which introduce the viewer to some of the nominated categories. Other videos are to be released each week. So far AMPAS has posted videos on Makeup & Hairstyles; Production Design and Cinematography. The series is a collaboration with Entertainment Weekly magazine.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Movies As History: Why Do Students Believe It?

Movies are not history and they will never be. Frank Baker ruminates on what students, and the rest of us, should think about when experiencing docu-dramas.

Getting ready for Super Bowl and teaching with the “text” of life

School library blogger Joyce Valenza references the upcoming Super Bowl game as teachable moment as well as the importance of teaching with and about media.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Teaching Students Visual Media Literacy

In the first part of this two-part essay, media educator Frank Baker uses the occasion of the movie award season to examine student engagement via media production. In this second installment, we look a little deeper into the components of visual media that make up a special language and “literacy” — and suggest ways teachers can begin to meet Common Core standards for the English Language Arts that address visual literacy.