Two Action for Media Literacy (AME) board members were recently contacted by The 74, a “non-profit, non-partisan news site covering education in America” and a “voice for the 74 million school-aged children in America.” They wanted to learn more about what’s happening in Washington State, the first state to adopt media literacy into law.
The 74 interviewed Michael Danielson and Shawn Sheller for the article “Media Literacy Is Literacy.” Michael is a high school teacher who teaches a required one-semester media literacy class, and Shawn is an elementary teacher-librarian technology integration specialist.
Shawn, when asked how she became involved and why media literacy is important, mentioned a lesson on media messaging where her elementary students talked about a local political race that called an opponent “Dr. Tax” in political ads. Real-life examples enrich and deepen lessons, and show the everyday need for students to be more media literate.
Adults mistakenly believe that students, growing up in a digital world, have the skills to critically analyze and evaluate what they read and view. The Stanford History Education Group has done important work with this study from 2016 that indicates media literacy for our “digital natives” is still a critical need.
Since 1991, AME has advocated for media literacy as a fundamental literacy skill for students of all ages.
by Sue Cook and Shawn Sheller