MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 5, 2015- The 10th anniversary of National Media Literacy Week (http://www.medialiteracyweek.ca) is taking place November 2 to 6. This year’s theme is “Respect in a Digital World,” encouraging young people to be upstanding digital citizens by acting responsibly and ethically in their online environments by respecting themselves, others and the spaces they’re in. This comes at a time when the EMSB Education and Technology Services team of consultants are working with teachers to implement digital citizenship lessons in class.
Throughout the EMSB, activities are underway to celebrate media literacy and cultivate good habits in students. This year’s National Media Literacy Week theme can be applied in many ways.
For instance, Lynn Lawrence, a librarian at Lester B. Pearson High School Montreal North has approached the theme via a unique contest. Students are invited to critique media, finding its “secret messages” by decoding advertisements to see what they really say. The critiques adorn the library like works of art, and students are free to absorb the reflections of other students, or make their own.
“Students gain confidence in their ability to see through advertising becoming more savvy consumers of media as they do so, as opposed to consuming them without any thought,” says Julia Wagner, an EMSB librarian. “And when they do this, whether they are aware of it or not, they are respecting themselves. When you critically engage material in front of you, that is meant to speak to you and do something in return – in this case buy something –you begin to identify what you value, and why. Without a sense of value as it applies to one’s self, others, and the world… there is no respect.” Ads posted in the library encourage students to reflect on gender, race and ethnicity, class, stereotypes, cultural norms and expectations, standards of beauty, homogeneity and difference, socially-sanctioned behaviours and the interstices between many of these issues.”
Meanwhile, media teachers and librarians at East Hill Elementary Schoo in RDP have set up a unique event that partners the Granby Zoo with a class of Grade 3 students for a Skype Session. Animal expert Jonathan Deom will be presenting on a number of species and giving students all kinds of “fun facts” to get students’ wheels turning. This is a first for both the Granby Zoo and East Hill. Never before has the school used a Skype session to confer with an exper and this will be Granby Zoo’s first virtual classroom visit too!
“This event is an interesting one because of the way it ties in to my larger digital citizenship lessons,” says Alicia Di Stefano, the media teacher at East Hill. “The students have begun learning the basics about online research, but this will be a novel opportunity for them. They will have the chance to interact, face-to-face over the internet, with a primary resource on a topic they’re about to begin research on. Through this exercise they will learn to do so safely and respectfully. Plus, I know that my class will be really excited about “hanging-out” online, with an expert!”