FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For Learners Across Rhode Island, Media Literacy is Essential
PROVIDENCE, RI – After 12 months of research, outreach and collaboration, the Media Literacy Now-Rhode Island advisory group released their report, “Media Literacy: Recommendations to RIDE” this morning. The report offers a vision of how the Rhode Island Department of Education can help school systems use instructional practices of media literacy to transform student learning to better prepare students for college, career and life in an increasingly media-saturated society. The report is available at the group’s website: MediaLiteracyRI.com.
Last July, the General Assembly passed, and Governor Raimondo signed into law, a media literacy bill that asks the Rhode Island Department of Education to consider incorporating media literacy into the basic education plan. After that, the advisory group of local educators and advocates expanded and shifted their focus.
Before the bill was passed into law, they worked under the auspices of the national advocacy organization, Media Literacy Now, to lobby state legislators and offer public testimony about the ways that media literacy education addresses issues like safety and well-being, engagement in learning, so-called fake news and issues of distrust and polarization.
Following passage, they held a webinar, gathered over 70 ideas for implementation, met with school superintendents to further prioritize the top 16 recommendations, and collected signatures from more than 300 people who support integrating media literacy in public education.
At the August 28th meeting at the Providence Campus of the University of Rhode Island with educators, library administrators, and government and student group representatives, members of the advisory group emphasized that there has never been a more important time to advance media literacy in public education. “When students get to explore connections between the content areas and the media and popular culture they value in the world around them, education becomes immediately more relevant and engaging to learners,” said Pam Steager, a Providence-based media literacy leader. Westerly school superintendent Mark Garceau noted that the concept of literacy is expanding and that learners need to ask “how” and “why” questions to be prepared for a lifetime of learning.
The report offers four recommendation including increasing the variety and quantity of professional development opportunities in media literacy for K-12 faculty and staff and increase funding for existing efforts. It also recommends that schools make more efficient use of existing curriculum resources in media literacy education across the grade levels and create K-12 curriculum that utilize one-to-one technologies and expanded and extended learning beyond the school day and school walls and incorporate meaningful, community service projects that put media literacy skills and competencies into practice. Finally, the report recommends that school leaders themselves develop a better understanding of media literacy in order to apply the concepts to issues like school climate and student well-being and safety.
“The recommendations of the media literacy report are well-aligned with existing priorities of the Rhode Island Department of Education,” noted Daniela Fairchild, director of the Rhode Island Office of Innovation. The working group plans to meet with Deputy Superintendent Mary Ann Snider in the near future to continue the discussion.
“Rhode Island school and public librarians are well-poised to advance media literacy through existing initiatives that could be further developed,” said Donna DiMichele of the Rhode Island Office of Library Information Services.
For more information, contact Pam Steager by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (401)439-1292.