Incorporating Media Literacy into Instruction

Concurrent Session 8
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

Today's students need to know how media messages are produced and how they impact society. Students also need to know how to respond to media messages and leverage media to voice their own thoughts. We discuss media literacy, relevant resources, and their incorporation into blended curriculum.


Dr. Lesley Farmer, Professor at California State University Long Beach, coordinates the Librarianship program. She earned her M.S. in Library Science at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and received her doctorate in Adult Education from Temple University. Dr. Farmer has worked as a teacher-librarian in K-12 school settings as well as in public, special and academic libraries. She chairs the IFLA's School Libraries Section. A frequent presenter and writer for the profession, she won American Library Association's 2011 Phi Beta Mu Award for library education and the 2015 Library Instruction Round Table Librarian Recognition Award. Dr. Farmer's research interests include digital citizenship, information literacy, collaboration, assessment and data analysis; she is also a Fulbright scholar. Her most recent books are Information and Digital Literacies: A Curricular Guide for Middle and High School Librarians (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015).

Extended Abstract

A growing case has been made for media literacy education: to critically evaluate news and other current information, to understand the media production process – and generate media, interpret cross-cultural media, and to facilitate civic engagement. Yet, media literacy education seldom occurs explicitly in K-16 education, except as an elective course.  Yes understanding and teaching media literacy is the responsibility of all educators. Media literacy is best learned and practiced when integrated into the school’s curriculum.

Media literacy and the concepts surrounding it evolve with changes in technology and society. Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and use media purposefully and responsibly. As such, media literacy closely relates to informatoin literacy. UNESCO states that media and information literacy is a “combination of knowledge, attitudes, skills, and practices required to access, analyze, evaluate, use, produce, and communicate information and knowledge in creative, legal and ethical ways that respect human rights.” The presenter will share an example from her teaching in which she asked students to create a graphic novel about one critical incident in a novelist's life. The students' media literacy along with narrative and academic concepts were evaluated using a rubric that addressed both issues.

In the session, media literacy will be detailed, and general ways that it can be incorporated to introduce, deepen, and access academic learning will be shared. The idea of using and producing media in order to learn academic ideas will also be discussed.

The presenter will provide a couple of rich websites and discussion prompts for inspiration, and attendees in small groups will brainstorm ways to integrate media literacy into their instruction. The groups will report out their ideas, with a synthesis ending the session.