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On the internet, it can be hard to tell what’s true and what’s false—but we have to make a lot of decisions based on how reliable we think things are. In Reality Check, you’ll learn how to find clues like finding where a story originally came from and comparing it to other sources, as well as how to use tools like fact-checking sites and reverse image searches.
While the training workshops focus on the five key concepts of digital literacy, this implementation guide looks at the specific skill areas that MediaSmarts has identified as being essential for students to learn by the end of their secondary education: ethics and empathy, privacy and security, community engagement, digital health, consumer awareness, finding and verifying and making and remixing. The guide also addresses common challenges to integrating digital literacy into the classroom, such as limitations on available technology and classroom management concerns, and includes links to relevant MediaSmarts’ and other resources, and apps and tools for creating digital media in your classroom.
Understanding the connected world of kids and teens can be challenging for parents because adults don’t communicate online in the same way and are not necessarily using the same social media. Even more challenging is the reality that there’s always something new coming around the corner.
In this lesson, students consider the role of snack foods in a healthy diet. The teacher then guides them on a tour of popular sites aimed at children, where the class identifies and classifies the advertising encountered there and looks at how the food products being advertised fit – or don’t fit – in the food groups found in the Canada Food Guide. Students then play the game Co-Co’s AdverSmarts to understand some of the techniques used by online food marketers and then create their own mock website promoting a healthy diet.
Racial stereotypes abound on television, and children’s programming is no exception. The turban-wearing bad guy, the brainy Asian, and the Black basketball whiz are just a few of the stereotypes reinforced in children’s cartoons, films and TV shows. Spotting these stereotypes is often difficult for children; to them, the tomahawk-wielding Indian or the Asian karate expert is a familiar, easily-understood and often funny character. So how do you help children understand these images for what they are – oversimplified, generalizations?
Defining Popular Culture is part of a three-lesson unit designed to introduce students to the concept of popular culture and the role that it plays in their lives.
Level: Grades 7 to 12
Duration: This lesson takes place over two weeks, with roughly three hours class time mandatory and an additional two to six hours for the optional media production activity.
About the Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts
This lesson asks students, in groups, to take their issue and solution to the streets. In order to enact real change through action for the benefit of the larger community, each chosen topic will need to be exposed to and understood by other members of the community. In this lesson, students will design a community outreach promotional campaign in order to effect real change that matters to them. If the students have completed the Digital Storytelling for Community Engagement lesson and have created their own Digital Story, this digital project can be used as the starting point/product with which to share with others. If not, groups of students can create a hypothetical solution to an existing problem, which then could be disseminated to the larger community using their designed outreach strategy.
In groups, students will create a Digital Story which addresses a topic, theme or issue that is affecting them. All stages of production will be covered, including research, storyboarding their idea into a visual organizational layout, practicing capturing quality photographs and interviews, and finally weaving their Digital Story into a finished project using computer editing software.
In this lesson students are introduced to the media literacy key concepts that “media are created to re-present reality” and “media are influenced by commercial considerations.”
In this lesson, students explore a variety of anti-drinking and alcohol awareness campaigns in order to determine their effectiveness. Students will deconstruct the different approaches that have been used by various organizations to reach teens and young adults and will debate those techniques that are most likely to resonate with youth. In a summative activity, groups of students create and implement an alcohol awareness campaign for students.
In this lesson, students are introduced to Earth Day and the theme of “Green Cities”. After listening to a short presentation on the concept of a “green city” and elements that constitute a green city (e.g. renewable energy sources such as solar panels, more energy-efficient buildings, recycling programs, cleaner air and water) students participate in an activity where they count the number of parks on a map of their city or neighbourhood. Maps are then analyzed as a medium as students discuss how they are created, things they can and can’t show, and their effectiveness at communicating environmental information.
Studies have found that fast-food ads dominate children’s programming. In order to give children a perspective on the lure of snack-food advertisements, it’s important that they understand where snacks can fit into a healthy diet. Once they have an understanding of where snack food fits into their lives, they can begin to deconstruct the ads themselves.