A Whole New World: Time To Get Creative

Although I have had some experience with media literacy before, I feel like I am diving into a new world of creativity and analyses. We live in a world where technology is continuously advancing, and as teachers, we need to be able to adapt to these changes. So what does this mean for me as a teacher in Ontario? Ontario is considered to be a province of fairness and diversity, and all schools must have cultural understanding. As a teacher, I need to be media literate myself in order to create media literate students. According to Baker in the Media Literacy textbook, there are many different meanings behind media literacy. Teachers and students need to be able to understand the influence that media has on our lives, understand the commercial nature behind media, interpret and evaluate media content, and be able to use a variety of resources to gather and share this information (Baker, 2012). Becoming media literate may seem like a challenging task at first, but there are so many resources available to us that the challenge should be accepted! I believe one of the most important things to consider when creating media literate students, is to create media responsible students. “The internet is like the proverbial elephant that never forgets” (Wikispaces, n.d.). Everything we do on the Internet, photos we post, and blogs we write all become part of our digital footprint. As a teacher in Ontario, it is important to have a professional digital footprint, and we need to be able to create positive influences for our students to do the same.

When diving deeper into my media journey, I have become more familiar with Web 2.0 and DS skills. Why are the Web 2.0 and DS skills important to me? And why are they important for my students? I think of how many times a day I click on a link or a webpage, and understand that every time I do this, the internet is making connections, and making “memories”. It is clear when this is happening because when you look at something like your Facebook wall, you can see that the ads are geared to your own interests. Web 2.0 is linking people together, and finding a way to collaborate the world! (Hargadon, 2008). As a teacher, I can use these skills to help my students become interactive with these learning devices as well. I am thinking of my first day of class…I have a Wordle up on the screen of my goals for the year, and some of my interests as well. How can I get to know my students better? I got it! I can teach them about Wordle, and have them create their own goals, or interests as a homework assignment. Not only would I be getting to know my students, but I would be helping them on their journey to media literacy as well. Get with the times people! Our students love technology and we can use to this our advantage as teachers. Our students are not confined to learning within the classroom, they can learn from any web device, anywhere in the world. We have the ability to create engagement within our students (Hargadon, 2008). Students can post to their own blogs and stay involved in classroom discussion even during their vacation time; this work has authentic nature and doesn’t feel the same as required assignments. We can allow greater creativity among our students, and they have opportunities for personal expression. (Hargadon, 2008). Time to get up, actually you can even stay sitting for this one, and start exploring!

Need some help starting to explore Web 2.0? Check out these links!

Tim O’Reilly, “What Is Web 2.0,” September 30, 2005, tim.oreilly.com, http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html.

Understanding Web 2.0 and E-Learning. http://www.igi-global.com/chapter/understanding-web-its-implications-learning/45015

Reference List:

Baker, Frank W. Media literacy in the k-12 classroom. Eugene, Or: International Society for Technology in Education.

Hargadon, S. (2008) Moving toward Web 2.0 in K-12 education, Britannica Blog:    http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2008/10/moving-toward-web-20-in-k-12-education/ 

Wikispaces. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2014 from Wikispaces: http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/The+Digital+Citizen.


Teaching in the 21st Century

In the 21st century we need to be technology aware teachers, and we need to be capable of adapting to the changes taking place. Children are growing up in a time where they are more comfortable using technology, and teachers need to be aware of this, and educated properly in media literacy. We need to be able to connect with our students, and relate to them in ways that will keep their attention. Perhaps it would be easiest to think about your own skills, and think about how you can use these to help you become media literate. Here are my top 10 skills:

  1. Communication
  2. Researching
  3. Analyzing
  4. Critical Thinking
  5. Identity
  6. Organization
  7. Creativity
  8. Respect
  9. Navigating
  10. Values

In your early points of teaching, it can be helpful to start with what you know, and continuously build on those skills while learning new ones. There are many resources online for helping teachers become media literate, and many resources available to us to help our students with this as well. It is important for us to understand that all media is constructed for a purpose. We need to be able to understand and analyze media in order to be considered media literate. Join me in becoming a successful media literacy teacher!

In order to get you started I would like to recommend the following links:

http://library.lakeheadu.ca/  (Use the Lakehead Library website in order to search subject such as “media literacy”)

http://medialiteracyproject.org/learn/media-literacy (Use this to gain a basic understanding of media literacy)

http://mediasmarts.ca/digital-media-literacy-fundamentals/media-literacy-fundamentals (media literacy fundamentals)