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Media Literacy Resources

A 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) External link opens in new window or tab. : "...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:

  • Original
  • Accurate
  • Current
  • Technically sound
  • Easy to access and use
  • Inviting
  • 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 Encyclopaedia 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.

New! Under the Resources/Lessons tab below, there are new resources linked to support media literacy and digital citizenship in a distance learning context.

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 External link opens in new window or tab..

Encyclopaedia Britannica External link opens in new window or tab.—offers multiple tools for student research, including:

  • Britannica School Insights External link opens in new window or tab.: 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 External link opens in new window or tab.: 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 External link opens in new window or tab.: 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 External link opens in new window or tab.—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 External link opens in new window or tab. web page.

TeachingBooks.net External link opens in new window or tab.—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

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 External link opens in new window or tab.).

UNESCO External link opens in new window or tab. 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.

 

Curriculum

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:

 

Resources/Lessons

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.

  • BBC My World Media Literacy External link opens in new window or tab.
    A free educational platform for students ages eleven through fourteen to increase global media literacy and build skills to evaluate information.
  • KQED Learn External link opens in new window or tab.
    A free platform for middle and high school students to tackle big issues and build media literacy and critical thinking skills in a supportive environment while practicing academic and civic discourse with peers around the country.
  • PBS LearningMedia External link opens in new window or tab.
    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 External link opens in new window or tab.
    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.
  • Library of Congress External link opens in new window or tab.
    The Library of Congress has provided online resources to support educators and families engaging in distance learning.

General Resources/Lessons

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.

Multiple Literacies:

Media Literacy:

Digital Citizenship:

Information Literacy:

 

Media Production

An important way to gain media literacy is to produce media: learning by doing. These resources address media production tools and processes.

 

Professional Development

Several professional organizations address media literacy, providing valuable educational resources as well as PD activities.

Professional organizations that include PD:

Training:

 

 

Questions: Jennifer Howerter | JHowerter@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-4630 
Last Reviewed: Thursday, July 9, 2020
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