Media Literacy ResourcesA collection of resources to support media literacy in the classroom.
This collection of resources, including links to professional learning opportunities, was compiled in conjunction with the California School Library Association (CSLA) and KQED in fulfillment of the requirements set forth in Senate Bill 830 (2018) :
"...to ensure that young adults are prepared with media literacy skills necessary to safely, responsibly, and critically consume and use social media and other forms of media."
The resources for teachers, teacher-librarians, administrators, and others include media literacy curriculum, collections of media literacy lessons and other resources, media production resources, and links to professional development (PD) opportunities. These resources were chosen based on the CSLA’s criteria:
- Technically sound
- Easy to access and use
- Informative and useful content about media literacy aligned to the California Model School Library Standards (MSLS)
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. Classroom teachers are encouraged to work with teacher librarians in exploring this collection of resources to develop media-rich contextual learning activities.
Additionally, the California State Library has contracted with Encyclopedia Britannica, ProQuest, and TeachingBooks.net to provide online, authoritative resources for free to public schools in California. Local educational agencies can sign up to take advantage of these free databases.
Currently, the California Department of Education is partnering with the News Literacy Project to host a series of eight webinars focusing on news and media literacy. To learn more about the series, go to California Educators Together and join the News and Media Literacy for All (free account required) group. In the group, you will find recordings, resources, and more.
- K–12 Online Content
- Media Literacy
- Media Production
- Professional Development
K–12 Online Content
California is now offering, at no cost to local schools, districts, or students, three online databases for use by every kindergarten through grade 12 (K–12) school and student in the state, with access starting at the beginning of the 2018–19 school year.
Online content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, ProQuest, and TeachingBooks.net will be available individually to all K–12 students in California, as well as all public schools in the state.
These content resources, commonly referred to as "library databases," provide teachers, school librarians, and students with a great deal of digital information: books, scientific research, newspaper articles, photos, videos and more—all aligned with the curriculum that California has created for its schools.
To sign up to receive information and resources from these online content providers, visit the California State Library .
Encyclopaedia Britannica —offers multiple tools for student research, including:
- Britannica School Insights : Support media-literacy skill development and ensure that your students can take a trusted research companion along with them on their web searches with the new Chrome extension for Britannica School users. Britannica School Insights enables students and teachers to cut through the noise on the internet and get trusted and verified information at the top-right corner of their search results page. A software enhancement to the Google Chrome browser experience, Britannica School Insights serves up relevant, verified content on a vast range of topics from Britannica School, the classroom research and information solution.
- Britannica School : Ensure that students have access to the most current nonfiction content for discovery and exploratory learning at their level. With tools that support varying reading abilities, languages, and academic vocabulary development, Britannica School makes information accessible to every student. Britannica School is derived from subject area and media experts, a team of fact-checkers, and a tried-and-true editorial process. It continues to be the prevailing trusted source for factual information, anchored in authority, depth, and relevancy. Britannica School presents an unbiased perspective to better help students understand and respect different viewpoints, as well as develop the communication skills to express their own. Diverse content types, including videos, articles, images, primary source documents, vetted websites, and journal articles, provide students with exposure to unbiased information presented in a variety of media.
- Britannica Escolar : Discover the leading knowledge-building resource that is universally trusted for accurate and age-appropriate content in Spanish. Britannica Escolar presents students and educators with encyclopedia articles written for, and by, native Spanish speakers through a tried-and-true editorial process. Britannica Escolar makes information accessible with high-quality videos, articles, images, and current events, which give students exposure to unbiased content. Britannica Escolar presents an impartial viewpoint to better help students understand and respect different perspectives, while they develop their own.
ProQuest —An informational resource company used by researchers and librarians around the world. Their content collection encompasses 90,000 authoritative sources, six billion digital pages, and spans six centuries. ProQuest has collections on culture, scholarly journals, general reference material, content for beginning researchers, eBooks, and more. A one-page summary of everything California can access is on Proquest’s Teacher/Librarian Resources web page.
TeachingBooks.net —A suite of authoritative materials about children's and young adult books. Learn directly from an author about why a book was created. Download discussion questions to dig deeper into a book's meaning. Enjoy video book trailers and audio performances of a book to bring it to life. TeachingBooks is a treasure trove of instructional materials about the books read by children and teens, and is a PD for educators and families to identify and connect to culturally relevant, quality books for all content areas, prekindergarten through grade twelve.
Media literacy and the concepts surrounding it evolve with changes in technology and society. These definitions, from SB 830 and organizations of experts, provide a foundation through which to understand media literacy and the ideas connected to it.
SB 830 states: Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and use media and encompasses the foundational skills that lead to digital citizenship.
SB 830 further states: Digital citizenship is a diverse set of skills related to current technology and social media, including the norms of appropriate, responsible, and healthy behavior.
These literacies closely relate to information literacy: the ability “to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information” (American Library Association ).
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.”
California's MSLS (PDF) organize their standards around concepts of information literacy:
- Students access information
- Students evaluate information
- Students use information
- Students integrate information literacy skills into all areas of learning
What do media literacy skills look like? Here are three sample scenarios:
- Elementary students use a library catalog to locate a book on recycling, which informs their task of photographing examples of recycling in their neighborhoods to share on their class wiki.
- In this example, students are accessing information through the library catalog, using it to inform their task. They are then using media to share information through photography on their class wiki—this involves production, communication, and following norms of online behavior with digital citizenship.
- Middle schoolers use a spreadsheet to organize data they collect about pets’ exercise habits, which they will analyze for a science fair project.
- In this example, students are using technology to use information effectively. They are then analyzing that information to arrive at conclusions for a project—that project will involve further skills in communication of that information to a particular audience.
- High schoolers locate articles in a database about data privacy, which is the basis for the students’ video production that gives recommendations for teens to protect personal information.
- In this example, students are accessing information through the database, and then analyzing that information to produce a video, involving communication skills. The topic is data privacy, which includes elements of digital citizenship.
These example scenarios give only a small view into what students might be doing within the classroom that includes media and information literacy skills. View the resources located in the other tabs to see more examples of lessons to incorporate media and information literacy in all classrooms.
The following resources are ready-made curricula, usually consisting of scope and sequence learning outcomes and activities, for media and information literacy as well as digital citizenship:
- California MSLS (PDF) —K–12 information literacy outcomes
- Assignment: Media Literacy —K–12 history-social science, language arts, and health curricula to teach media literacy as a critical consumer
- Critical Media Project —High school media literacy video-based curriculum focusing on topics like age, class, disability, gender, race/ethnicity, religion, etc.
- International Society for Technology in Education Technology Standards —kindergarten through adult digital literacy outcomes
- Common Sense Media —K–12 digital citizenship curriculum, including PD
- Teaching Tolerance Digital and Civic Literacy Skills —K–12 specific history-social science digital citizenship framework with lessons
- Be Internet Citizens —High school digital citizenship curriculum
- MediaWise: Navigating Digital Information —Subject-neutral middle and high school 10-part video series by John Green
- Civic Online Reasoning Curriculum —free lessons and assessments that help educators teach students to evaluate online information that affects them, their communities, and the world.
Distance Learning Resources
Understanding how to safely access, evaluate, and use information has always been a necessary skill for students and educators. And, during the transition to learning in virtual settings, the critical nature of that skill has become even more apparent. The resources below are focused specifically on supporting media literacy in a distance learning context; however, many of the additional resources on this page can also be adapted for distance learning.
- Supporting Distance Learning with Media Literacy and Digital Citizenship
The California Department of Education partnered with KQED and Common Sense Education to offer this webinar on supporting media literacy and digital citizenship in the context of distance learning. View this webinar (1:10) to learn about a variety of resources that support distance learning for both parents and educators.
- BBC My World Media
A free educational platform for students ages eleven through fourteen to increase global media literacy and build skills to evaluate information.
- Common Sense Digital Citizenship Lessons
Lessons specifically designed to support the transition to virtual learning and help students think critically and compassionately about what they see online, and articles on digital citizenship activities for elementary , middle , and high school students.
- Wide Open Schools
Distance learning platform featuring lessons on digital citizenship and resources on virtual classroom setup .
- How-to Tutorials for Parents on Online Platforms
A series of videos for parents learning how to navigate online learning platforms for their children.
- Media Making and Media Literacy for All Educators
KQED offers free online workshops and webinars to support all educators in developing skills to promote youth voice and civic engagement.
- PBS LearningMedia
A pre-kindergarten through grade twelve online library of trusted, quality, curated resources from PBS and public media stations. Digital resources include short videos, lessons and interactive games.
- KQED Media Academy for Educators
Offers a set of four instructor-led, free online professional development courses that prepare educators to effectively and meaningfully analyze, evaluate, and make media with students to support curriculum goals. Courses are designed to support digital media literacy skill development, for educators and students, in both remote and traditional classroom environments.
- KQED Resources for Distance Learning
A collection of tools and resources for remote teaching and engaging students while they learn at home.
- Cyber Families: Connect, Create, Care
A collection of family-friendly activities to do on the internet. Aligned with the California MSLS.
- Library of Congress
The Library of Congress has provided online resources to support educators and families engaging in distance learning.
- Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT)
MERLOT has curated a set of free online teaching resources, including free online technology services, information about accessibility for all learners, etc
These collections include many high-quality lessons, units, videos and other learning aids, and supportive material. Several of these collections are searchable by grade or topic.
- United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Media & Information Literacy Clearinghouse
K–12 and university-level subject-neutral media and information literacy resources and organizations
- Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything—Literacies for the Digital Age
K–12 topical resources on information, critical, civic, digital, media, visual, tool, data, and other literacies
- Resources about Fake News
Middle and high school subject-neutral resources about media, news, visual, digital, and information literacies
- Information & Communication Technology Literacy
High school through adult resources on media, digital, and information literacies, including PD
- Media Smarts
Topical media and digital literacy lessons for both K–12 students and adults, searchable by grade; includes PD
- News Literacy Project
Middle and high school resources, including Checkology , The Sift , Newsroom to Classroom , professional development workshops , and more.
- Project Look Sharp
K–12 specific topical lessons/units integrating media literacy
- Center for Media Literacy
K–12 subject-neutral resources for teaching media literacy principles
History-social science lessons for both K–12 students and adults, including artifacts and videos on media literacy, and searchable by grade and topic
- New York Times Learning Network
High school English Language Arts, history-social science, science, technology, engineering, math, and arts media literacy lessons and student-production contests
- International Society for Technology in Education Seal of Alignment
K–12 subject-neutral student and educator resources on digital literacy and citizenship
- Los Angeles Unified School District Digital Citizenship
K–12 specific digital citizenship lessons
K–12 subject-neutral resources on digital citizenship, including PD
- Edutopia Digital Citizenship Resources Roundup
K–12 subject-neutral articles, videos and other resources on digital citizenship and supporting media/digital literacy
- Copyright and Creativity
K–12 subject-neutral curriculum with lessons and video on digital citizenship concepts of copyright and creativity, including PD
- S.O.S. for Information Literacy
Searchable information literacy lessons for both K–12 students and adults
- American Library Association Evaluating Information: Information Literacy
K–12 and university-level resources on information literacy
- KQED Learn
featuring Above the Noise
A safe, online space for students (grades 6-12) to practice civic discourse with peers nationwide. Free.
- Teach Information Literacy & Critical Thinking
Resources on information literacy for high school students and adults
An important way to gain media literacy is to produce media: learning by doing. These resources address media production tools and processes.
- University of Notre Dame Remix —Media literacy through multimedia (image, audio, video, data) tutorials, assignments and projects for high school students and adults
- EdTechTeacher Technology Tools for Teachers —Curated list of technology tools organized by academic subject, topic, and learning activity for high school students
- Apple Education —K–12 subject-neutral tools and project guides supporting students in developing and communicating ideas through drawing, photography, music, and video
- The Lamp Mediabreaker Critical Remix Tools —Middle and high school video remixing learning platform that supports students in designing digital learning experiences using commercials, music videos, news clips, and other media
- Radio Rookies: The Basics of Audio Journalism Curriculum —High school curriculum to help students tell their own stories
- California Student Media Festival —The California Student Media Festival seeks to transform K–12 student learning, recognizing creativity and student agency through the cultivation and celebration of original work.
Several professional organizations address media literacy, providing valuable educational resources as well as PD activities.
Professional organizations that include PD:
- International Society for Technology in Education —Includes standards, model learning websites, publications, networking, and PD
- California School Library Association —Includes online tutorials and networking
- Computer Using Educators —Includes online learning models, networking and PD
- UNESCO Media and Information Literacy —Includes standards, publications, news, and links to related resources
- National Association for Media Literacy Education —Includes standards, publications, networking, and PD
- Cyberwise —Includes curriculum, publications, and PD
- 4Teachers.org —Includes tools, links to resources, and PD
- Media Education Lab —Includes teaching resources such as lesson plans, videos, webinars, as well as offers a Summer Institute for professional development.
- KQED Teach and PBS Media Literacy Educator certification by KQED—Online, self-paced courses on teaching media literacy and media-making skills and a professional certification. Free.
- UCLA Education 466 —Critical Media Literacy Course-related links to resources
- UNESCO Media and information literacy curriculum for teachers —Book with standards and curriculum
- Media and Information Literacy: A practical guide for trainers —Book with standards and curriculum. Lessons are applicable for high school and adults