NCSS Position Paper on Media Literacy Approved

ITHACA, NY- Dec. 1, 2016- The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) approved an official Position Paper on Media Literacy in June of 2016. The paper was written by Chris Sperry, Project Look Sharp’s Director of Curriculum and Staff Development along with Frank Baker of the Media Literacy Clearinghouse. The position paper discusses how social studies educators can use images and videos to teach media literacy analysis to students.

The NCSS is an organization that is devoted solely to social studies education through engaging and supporting educators throughout all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 69 foreign countries. Its mission is: “to provide leadership, service, and support for all social studies educators.” With over 110 affiliated state, local and regional councils and associated groups, the NCSS membership extends to K-12 classroom teachers, college and university faculty members, curriculum designers and specialists and leaders in education.

Media literacy has become a hot-button issue for policy makers around the country today. According to Media Literacy Now, 15 states have acquired Media Literacy Now partners to work toward legislation to build awareness of the urgent need for media literacy education. New York is currently considering comprehensive media literacy education bills through Media Literacy Now advocates.

“At the core of learning is Literacy—the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and produce communication. Media literacy expands the traditional concept of literacy to include the forms of communication that dominate the lives of our students,” wrote Sperry and Baker, “If our students are to be literate, we must teach them the skills and habits of literacy for print and non-print mediated messages.”

Sperry and Baker further discussed how educators can teach media analysis to their students through critical inquiry, which involves the asking of key questions by both teachers and students. The key questions included within the paper focus on: audience and authorship, messages and meanings, and representations and reality.

The paper also provides examples of curriculum resources for social studies teachers at different grade levels focusing on media literacy integration.

The official Position Paper on Media Literacy is available on the NCSS website: http://www.socialstudies.org/publications/socialeducation/may-june2016/media-literacy.

And on the Project Look Sharp website at http://www.projectlooksharp.org/Articles/ncsspositionstatement.pdf

For more information, you can email us at looksharp@ithaca.edu or contact us by phone at 607-274-3471. To contact the authors, email Chris Sperry at csperry@ithaca.edu or contact Frank Baker through his website, http://frankwbaker.com/.

Project Look Sharp is Ithaca College’s Media Literacy Initiative. Project Look Sharp supports the integration of critical thinking through media literacy in school curriculum and teaching. They do this through developing and providing lesson plans, media materials, training, and support for educators at all education levels. The purpose of media literacy education is to help individuals of all ages develop the habits of inquiry and skills of expression they need to be critical thinkers, effective communicators, and active citizens in today’s world.

From day one, Ithaca College prepares students for personal and professional success through hands-on experience with internships, research and study abroad. Its integrative curriculum builds bridges across disciplines and uniquely blends liberal arts and professional study. Located in New York’s Finger Lakes region, the College is home to 6,100 undergraduate and 400 graduate students and offers over 100 degree programs in its schools of Business, Communications, Humanities and Sciences, Health Science and Human Performance, and Music.

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