We have worked with many enthusiastic librarians over the past 20 years, several of whom have authored media literacy lessons that are featured on our website. Many have also created their own media literacy materials (including bookmarks, flyers, displays, websites, media literacy lessons, and even video games) for use with their students or other constituents.
In 2022 we spent five months working with a wonderful group of K-12, academic, and public librarians in the Rochester NY area on the Finger Lakes Digital Literacy Initiative (FL-DLI). This initiative, led by Laura Osterhout and Tina Broomfield of the Rochester Regional Library Council, was supported by federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds allocated to the New York State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Project Look Sharp provided a series of workshops and ongoing support for participants to learn, apply and practice digital literacy analysis and evaluation in their specific educational contexts. Among the goals of FL-DLI were to cultivate a shared language, understanding, and enthusiasm for digital literacy within the regional community and to adapt or create sharable materials for different contexts and needs.
We will use this space to share some of those materials (and those from other librarians with whom we have worked) as examples of what you might do in your own library or classroom.
Online GamesKelly Deltoro-White, Mount Morris Library
Kendyl Litwiller-Sutherby, Naples Library
Stacey Wicksall, Macedon Public Library
This online game was created by a group of public library directors who participated in FL-DLI, with the goal of making learning about and applying digital information literacy skills interactive and fun. The game focuses on a story told by Aunt Sage about seeing a sea monster in Lake Ontario, giving students opportunities to seek out information from different sources (e.g., Aunt Sage’s diary, web resources) and to question aspects of the story. In their summary about the game, the creators wrote:
We hope that teachers will use this as a tool for engaging students in the use of the "PAUSE" technique so students will become more accustomed to using the technique when sifting through information they happen upon while online. At the conclusion of the game, we do have an online survey for participants to fill out. It is of interest to learn how participants came to terms with Aunt Sage's story and why. So far, the largest percentage of participants are not sold on Sage's story being either true or false. It appears they are unsettled and would either have more research to do or would live with the discomfort of not knowing whether a monster was viewed or not. There is comfort in knowing most participants did not jump to automatic black and white conclusions thanks to "PAUSING." Also, in some of the commentary there is clear evidence participants considered various shades of truth and deceit that are interwoven in both Aunt Sage's account, others' accounts and scientific research resources included in the game. Nuance is important to consider when weighing the validity of Aunt Sage's diary or any piece of information. This is what makes it such a complex endeavor. Imagine what the online information ecosystem might become if people paused before believing, discounting or sharing information.
Here is a link to the interactive game:
Bulletin Board DisplaysMichele Coolbeth
East Syracuse Elementary School
For the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration at their school, one of our ML3 library leaders created a wonderful display of stamps featuring Martin Luther King from around the world, coupled with key questions for students to ask about the stamps and the images on them.
- Who made these?
- What are the messages about Martin Luther King, Jr.?
- How did the artists communicate their messages?
- How do these images make you feel? Why?
- What questions do you have?
Those questions are designed to encourage a “deep reading” of these stamps (including reflection on the power of the image to impact emotions and impressions), and to encourage students to ask their own questions about the media images they see, read, and hear. As this bulletin board display illustrates, media analysis can easily be integrated into holiday celebrations, as well as global studies, history, art, and many other curriculum areas.
Rome Central School District
Nicole Iverson has been a librarian for almost 20 years, having started her career in public librarianship. She is a librarian a 9-12 high school in the same district that she graduated from many moons ago.
As one of our ML3 library leaders, Nicole wanted to create something printable about media literacy resources that she could stuff in teacher's mailboxes. Getting the word out about Project Look Sharp and all the ready-made lessons it offers was her primary focus. She also wanted to stress the "why":
- WHY is media literacy so important?
- WHY should media literacy skills be integrated into content areas?
Her hope was that the flyer would open the doors to collaboration and discussions about media literacy within her high school.
ATTAIN Lab Coordinator
SUNY Research Foundation
The ATTAIN Lab project (Advanced Technology Training and Information Networking) offers technology training and an assortment of academic, occupational, and employability courses to NY State residents. MaryAnn also assists people with job searches and applying for jobs and created this bookmark as a take-away for participants in workshops that she facilitates for jobseekers to use online resources safely and wisely. It incorporates many of media literacy principles for evaluating the credibility of information found on social media and internet websites, combined with practical advice for her target audience. The infographics can be provided as a single flyer or with the separate columns on the front and back of a narrower bookmark.
Sri Vidya Temple Society
Saru joined the FL-DLI course because the Sri Vidya Temple library was expanding its work to reach Temple members around the world. The Temple was offering virtual classes through YouTube and other venues, but she found that potential participants were having difficulty understanding how to find and access the courses – and that the typical methods of outreach through email and flyers weren’t successful. She created a series of bookmarks in different languages (and in appropriate colors) for different audiences involved with the Temple. The back of each bookmark will include basic information about the courses, with specific step-by-step instructions for how to access them.
Media Literacy Lessons
We have had many librarians contribute ideas and materials that we’ve used in some of our free media literacy lessons on the Project Look Sharp website. A few librarians have gone further to author (or co-author) unique media literacy lessons which are published on our website. Here are some examples, with the links to those lessons.
University of Buffalo
Censoring Seuss: Cancel Culture or Cultural Respect?
Boynton Middle School, Ithaca NY
Green Transportation: Electric Cars vs. Bicycles
Young People Taking Action to Protect Our Warming Planet
East Syracuse Elementary School, East Syracuse NY
Auburn High School, Auburn NY
Political Memes and Bias: What Resonates, What’s True and What Do We Share?
Anna S. Kuhl Elementary School, Port Jervis NY
What Can You Tell From a Book Cover?
Can You Judge a Book By Its Cover?
How Do I Choose? Picking the Right Book for Me
Fall Creek School, Ithaca NY
Benefits and Costs of Using Plastic Shopping Bags
Ban the Bag or Not? What Else Should We Know?