Dozens of digital and media literacy programs are taking hold in communities across the nation and around the world. The following portraits of success illustrate the many creative initiatives that bring together diverse stakeholders to deliver on the promise of digital citizenship for all. If you have a story of success that should be included in our Portraits of Success, please tell us about it by using the Comments section below.
Produced and launched by the World Wide Workshop Foundation in 2006, Globaloria is an innovative social learning network for designing and programming web-games that uses social media technology and computational tools for project-based learning.
Participants create educational games for their own personal and professional development, and for the social and economic benefit of their communities. The Program, while aimed at youth ages 12 and up, is suitable for students at all levels and does not require any prior web design or programming experience.
Instead of separate silos for vocational and technical education, academic subjects, and college preparation, Globaloria combines them all into a year-long project of approximately 150 hours, similar to computer gaming and software industry workplace practices. The scalable learning network includes programmable wikis and blogs, game programming tutorials, game content resources and a customizable self-paced curriculum with model implementations and alignments to a state’s curriculum standards.
The largest Globaloria pilot is in West Virginia, where educators in 41 middle schools, high schools, community colleges and universities work with students, individually and collectively, to develop games and create original content. Globaloria West Virginia is used as a vehicle for teaching core subjects such as biology, English, and civics, where educators customize and align the curriculum with the West Virginia Department of Education’s Content Standards and Objectives and 21st-Century Skills (Global21).
East Austin College Prep Academy (EACPA) in Austin, Texas is the first charter school to integrate Globaloria curriculum school-wide. During the 2010-11 school year, 6th and 7th grade students at EACPA are taking a daily, 90 minute Globaloria class, where they develop original math and science games in addition to tracking social issues affecting the community they live in. The program reaches out to students’ families as well to extend learning into the home. The Globaloria EACPA curriculum is aligned with the Texas Content Standards for Mathematics (TEKs), ELA and Technology Learning. Support for Globaloria at EACPA is provided by AMD, Southwest Key, the Caperton Fund and the World Wide Workshop Foundation.
What makes Globaloria successful, according to Dr. Idit Harel Caperton, President & Founder of the World Wide Workshop Foundation, are three things. First, the participatory structure at the center of the program’s design. Students and teachers learn by doing. Second, the strong partnerships the program has forged with government officials, education departments, private and public foundations, local business, industry and institutes of higher education. And third, the culture of transparency and collaboration that Globaloria brings into schools. Visit http://www.globaloria.org
The Gallery: Portraits of Success in Digital and Media Literacy
Adobe Youth Voices
Launched in June 2006 by the Adobe Foundation, Adobe Youth Voices is designed to provide youth in underserved communities with the critical digital communication skills they need to become active and engaged members of their communities and the world at large. Participating youth ages 13 to 18 use cutting-edge multimedia tools to create videos, animations, photo essays, presentations, music and other pieces and share their ideas about topics that concern or interest them, such as peer pressure, religious and cultural identity, substance abuse, environmental degradation and the impacts of war. These works are then shared through Youth Voices’ global network of over 500 participating sites, grantees and organizations in 32 countries that engage youth and educators in schools and out-of school programs. Visit http://youthvoices.adobe.com/about
BBC School Report
One of the most ambitious news literacy programs ever developed is the BBC “School Report” project. This program enables 25,000 children in more than 700 U.K. schools to learn about the practice of journalism and news production. Children develop community-based television and radio news reports that air locally and nationally during a specific time period. School Report’s mission is to engage young people with news, bring their voices and stories to a wider audience and share some of the public service values behind content creation, such as fairness, accuracy, and impartiality, since so many young people are content creators and distributors. The main aim of BBC News School Report is to interest young people in news of all sorts, and the world around them, by giving them the chance to make their own news. The program helps students develop skills of gathering information, teamwork and time management, while providing an opportunity to discuss the responsibilities involved in broadcasting to a worldwide audience. Visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/school_report
Center for News Literacy
The Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University teaches students how to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports and news sources. The Center recruits experienced journalists in career transitions to be News Literacy Fellows for two years and works with them to launch new undergraduate courses with curricula that meet the needs of the host universities. With initial funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Center also is at work developing curriculum materials for high schools and the general public and a National News Literacy website through which students can collaborate on news literacy projects. Visit http://www.stonybrook.edu/journalism/newsliteracy
City Voices, City Visions
Since 2000, the University at Buffalo’s Graduate School of Education has been working in collaboration with the Buffalo Public Schools to help bring digital and media literacy to teachers and students through the project City Voices, City Visions (CVCV). CVCV promotes student academic achievement and empowerment through the use of digital video tools and an emphasis on visual and analytic thinking and understanding. The program includes professional development for urban teachers to learn the use of digital video arts and communication technologies to help students meet higher learning standards in literacy and the academic disciplines. CVCV publishes and archives digital videos produced by students and teachers as curriculum and community resources. Visit http://gse.buffalo.edu/org/cityvoices
Common Sense Media
This San Francisco-based non-profit organization provides independent information and tools about media and technology in the home so that families can make informed choices and have a voice about the media they consume. The Common Sense Media website includes reviews and ratings of movies, games, mobile apps, websites, books and music by professional reviewers, parents and kids. There are also resource materials specifically designed for parents and educators. Visit http://www.commonsensemedia.org
The Digital Media (DigMe) Program at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis uses digital media to help urban high school students learn to think critically, build meaning and demonstrate their understanding across the subjects. The curriculum is based on the national standards in Media Literacy and 21st Century Skills. Students participate in daily reading, writing, analyzing, and discussion activities, and design and produce projects that demonstrate learning in a variety of ways, often using digital media tools. The school partners with faculty from the University of Minnesota from the fields of education, new technologies and journalism. They aim for strong school-to-work connections by establishing relationships and internships with local technical schools, artists, studios and businesses in the field of new media and digital media. Visit http://roosevelt.mpls.k12.mn.us/Digital_Media.html
This website addresses the “context deficit” that occurs with online searching. The name of the website is a reference to Miguel Cervantes’ classic work of fiction, the hero Don Quixote searches for an imaginary, idealized woman named Dulcinea. The website offers a section, “Behind the Headlines,” which provides contextual background information on news and current events, while another section, “Suspicious Sites,” offers an analysis of how sites with inaccurate and misleading information can be made to seem credible. Visit http://www.findingdulcinea.com
This organization uses digital media to promote global awareness and youth civic engagement. Students develop digital literacy competencies, engage in substantive online dialogues and participate in civic action. For example, in the Virtual Video Project, students learn about critical human rights issues and filmmaking and then create educational “machinima”—short animated films created using virtual worlds—to promote awareness and action. Visit http://www.globalkids.org
IFC Media Project
This television series airs on the Independent Film Channel (IFC). This documentary series examines America’s news media and seeks to uncover the truth about the news. In its first two seasons it was hosted by award-winning journalist Gideon Yago and featured in-depth reporting on controversial topics facing today’s media, including how the U.S. is portrayed in world media and the impact of the economic downturn on the news industry. Visit http://www.ifc.com/about
A media education program that gets students involved in civics, this program offers K–12 curriculum for use during an election campaign. The program integrates civics education and preparation for voting with newspaper reading and media analysis. The program now reaches an estimated 4.3 million students, 200,000 teachers, 10,600 schools, and 20,000 voter precincts. Students are encouraged to analyze and critique political advertisements, news stories, and candidate debates. Careful studies of Kids Voting show that after children are involved in the program, there are strong increases in reading newspapers, paying attention to campaign and related news on television, and discussing campaign-related issues with peers and parents (McDevitt & Chaffee, 2000). Visit http://www.kidsvotingusa.org
Know the News
Developed by Link TV, Know the News is an online learning tool for journalism students and citizen journalists, exploring the issues that shape television news, including bias, authorship, authenticity, ethics, and media ownership. Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the website is designed to help users think critically about TV news by framing news coverage in a global context based on Link TV’s original productions, Global Pulse and Latin Pulse, which compare, contrast and analyze news coverage from more than 70 broadcasters worldwide.
National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE)
This national membership organization is dedicated to ensuring that all people have the skills needed to critically analyze and create messages using the wide variety of communication tools now available. NAMLE brings together a broad-based coalition of media literacy practitioners and advocates from diverse fields, professions, and perspectives in a national, non-profit membership organization to act as a key force in bringing high quality media literacy education to all students in the United States, their parents, teachers, health care providers, counselors, clergy, political representatives, and communities. It holds conferences every two years and publishes an online, open access, peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Media Literacy Education. Visit http://namle.net
National Writing Project
The NWP is a nationwide network of educators working to improve the teaching of writing and learning in the nation’s schools and communities. They provide high-quality professional development programs to teachers across disciplines and at all levels, from early childhood through college. NWP’s national network includes more than 200 university-based sites located in all 50 states. They have begun to explore digital and media literacy with a special program for their members called “Digital Is” where educators share work and practice and think across a variety of learning environments about elements that support effective digital writing and learning for students. Visit http://www.nwp.org
Powerful Voices for Kids
Powerful Voices for Kids is an innovative university-school partnership supported by the Media Education Lab at Temple University’s School of Communications and Theater and the Russell Byers Charter School in Philadelphia. This collaborative program offers a comprehensive media literacy and technology integration program for children ages 5–12 that includes a 4-week summer learning program for children, a staff development program for educators, in-school and after-school mentoring, and a research and assessment component. The program is designed to strengthen children’s abilities to think for themselves, communicate effectively using language and technology tools, and use their powerful voices to contribute to the quality of life in their families, their schools, their communities, and the world. Evidence from the program reveals statistically significant gains in children’s ability to identify the author, purpose and target audience of a media message. Current partners in the collaborative program include Verizon Foundation, Roberts Elementary School, and the National Writing Project. Visit http://mediaeducationlab.com/powerful-voices-kids
Project Look Sharp
Developed at Ithaca College, this program provides materials, training and support for the effective integration of media literacy with critical thinking into classroom curricula at all education levels. They offer professional development programs to educators across the state of New York, working in close coordination with the local school districts in the surrounding communities. Their multimedia materials enable social studies and science teachers to integrate critical analysis of news media into the K–12 curriculum. For example, Media Construction of War includes a 125-page kit that analyzes Newsweek magazine’s coverage of the Vietnam War, Gulf War and the war in Afghanistan. The kit includes three dozen slides of carefully-selected Newsweek covers with teacher guides for each, histories of all three wars, a 12-minute video and a lesson plan on media coverage of the Persian Gulf War. Students score information about the wars in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and Afghanistan while examining how media influences public opinion of current events and how to ask key media literacy questions about author, purpose and point of view. Visit http://www.ithaca.edu/looksharp
Project New Media Literacies
Located at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication, this program explores how to best equip young people with the social skills and cultural competencies needed for full participation in an emergent media landscape. They have developed resources for both in and out of the classroom for educators and learners who are interested in further understanding the new media literacies and integrating them into their learning environments. Visit http://newmedialiteracies.org
Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change
This summer education program gathers 60 university-level students and a dozen faculty from five continents for three weeks in Austria. The program explores media’s role in global citizenship, examining these questions: “How do news media affect our understanding of cultures and politics?” and “How can media better cover global problems and report on possible solutions?” The program was created by the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda, an academic institute based at the University of Maryland. Students and faculty work together to create a series of curriculum materials to explore the intersections of global media, freedom of expression, and civil society. The first half of the curriculum emphasizes basic media literacy skills—comprehension, analysis, and evaluation. Students learn to identify what news is and how media, as well as other actors, decide what information matters. They monitor, analyze and compare media coverage of people and events and understand media’s role in shaping global issues. The second half of the curriculum highlights the connections between media literacy and civil society and informs individuals about the importance of exercising their rights to freedom of expression. Visit http://www.salzburg.umd.edu/salzburg/new
Silver Surfers Day
In England, the Office of Communications, the British national government agency responsible for communications regulation, hosts a national event, Silver Surfers Day, with more than 1,500 events across the country specifically for people aged 55 and older to get a gentle introduction to the Internet. Participating businesses and organizations in the community determine how they will participate and what events they will offer. Older adults may learn about sharing photos, online banking, finding health care information or other activities tailored to their needs and interests. Visit http://silversurfers.digitalunite.com
St. Louis Gateway Media Literacy Partners
This collaborative partnership brings together educators, parents, media professionals and citizens in the St. Louis metropolitan area. For four years, they have hosted Media Literacy Week, which offers a myriad of public events supported by nearly a dozen community organizations, including universities and colleges, school districts, non-profit organizations and health care organizations. The partnership helps spread the word on the importance of media literacy and media literacy education, including the connection between digital and media literacy skills and economic development, with partners sharing the costs of developing programs and services for the community. Their citizen base includes public and private pre- K–12 teachers, parents and administrators; higher-education faculty and administrators from various academic disciplines; after-school program leaders and employees; arts and culture leaders; health and allied-health professionals; media businesses; media communicators and producers; public-policy makers; public and private librarian-technologists, and business professionals. Visit http://www.gmlpstl.org
The News Literacy Project
This is an educational program that is bringing experienced journalists into middle school and high school classrooms to teach students the critical thinking skills they need to be smarter and more frequent consumers and creators of credible information across all media. Students are learning how to distinguish verified information from raw messages, spin, gossip and opinion and are being encouraged to seek news and information that will make them well-informed citizens and voters. The project was founded in early 2008 by Alan Miller, an investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times, after speaking to his daughter’s Besthesda, Md. middle school class about why journalism matters. Visit http://www.thenewsliteracyproject.org
Youth Media Reporter
YMR is a professional multimedia journal that serves practitioners, educators and academics in the youth media field. The journal helps to build the field by documenting the insights and leading lessons in engaging young people in video, film, television, radio, music, web, art, and print. Managed by the Academy for Educational Development and supported by the Open Society Institute and the McCormick Foundation, YMR is a multi-media web journal that publishes 6–8 high quality articles every other month. Visit http://www.youthmediareporter.org
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