Digital Media Literacy Framework - Grades 9-12
Contrary to popular belief, cyberbullying remains a problem in high school. Students in these grades should learn the ways that they can speak out and make a difference, both in cases of individual cyberbullying and in building more tolerant and respectful online spaces.
Smartphone ownership also peaks in older grades. That makes it essential to teach these students how to balance their online and offline lives and deal with the stresses of social media. Because teens are constantly building a digital footprint as they send and share content online, it's also important that they learn how to make a positive impression and to consider the need to get consent before sharing a photo or any other content belonging to someone else.
Secondary students turn to the Internet for news and current affairs, making it essential that they learn to use finding and verifying skills both inside and outside the classroom.
Teens depend on media such as TV shows, magazines, the Web and social media to learn about topics of interest, especially subjects that are embarrassing or taboo such as sexuality, relationships and mental health issues. Digital media literacy education is also needed to critically engage with representations of sexuality in media.
FRAMEWORK ICON LEGEND
Alcohol and Male Violence
This lesson makes students aware of the ways in which male violence is used and promoted in advertising.
Alcohol on the Web
In this lesson, students explore issues surrounding the marketing of alcoholic beverages on the Internet.
The purpose of the lesson is to facilitate and develop youth art as a form of community engagement and give students the opportunity to explore their experiences with privacy and equality in networked spaces.
Authentication Beyond the Classroom
In this lesson, students discuss “viral” photos, videos and news stories that spread via social media. They are shown how challenging it is to authenticate these using only their content and are introduced to tools and techniques for gauging their accuracy based on context.
Beyond Media Messages: Media Portrayal of Global Development
Students explore how sensationalism plays a role in determining what is newsworthy, and how that can distort our perception of issues in developing nations. What makes a story newsworthy? What positive results follow the natural disasters and how, where and when are those reported in the media? How do distorted perceptions of developing nations affect our attitudes and behaviours toward them?
Bias and Crime in Media
Students are introduced to the key media literacy concept that media are constructions that re-present reality and consider how representations of crime in news and entertainment media may influence how we perceive members of particular groups. The concept that media communicate values and messages and have social implications is introduced and students discuss how stereotypes of particular groups are formed.
Bias in News Sources
In this lesson students consider the meaning of the words “bias” and “prejudice” and consider how bias may be found even at the level of individual words due to connotation. Students are introduced to the key media literacy concept that media contain ideological messages and have social and political implications in considering why it is particularly important to consider possible bias in news reporting.
Body image and social media: Escaping the comparison trap
In this lesson, students consider the ways in which social media may prompt them to compare themselves with others, and the impacts that can have on body image and self-esteem. They analyze how the features, algorithms and culture of the social networks they use may affect them and will produce “paper prototypes” of redesigned social media apps that promote more healthful use. Finally, students reflect on how they can change how they use the existing apps to be more like their redesigned versions.
Body Positive Ads
Students begin by reading about the impact that body positive advertising campaigns have on companies, as well as on their consumers. They look at body positive ads aimed towards men and read research about how there is a lack of representation in this field, then deconstruct a series of traditional ads compared to body positive ones and discuss how marketers target "ideal beauty" messages to both men and women and whether they are effective.
Break the Fake: Hoax? Scholarly Research? Personal Opinion? You Decide!
This lesson is designed to help students determine the validity of information that is presented to them on the Internet. After reviewing a series of evaluation techniques for online resources, students form groups to assess selected websites based on accuracy and authority, advocacy and objectivity, and currency and coverage.
Break the Fake Lesson Plan: Verifying Information Online
In this lesson, students participate in a workshop that teaches them four quick, easy steps to verify online information. After practicing these four steps they create a public service announcement aimed at teaching one of these steps and spreading the message that it is necessary for everyone to fact-check information we see online every time we are going to share it or act on it.
Buy Nothing Day
Buy Nothing Day is used as a jumping-off point to look at the role of consumerism in our lives and culture. Students learn the definition of consumerism and consider its benefits and drawbacks; as well as where and how they receive consumerist messages. Students list their own recent purchases and consider how many were needed as opposed to wanted. They are then introduced to Buy Nothing Day and discuss its purpose and merits. Finally, students imagine that Buy Nothing Day is a holiday on par with Christmas and plan either a pageant or television program to celebrate the event.
Celebrities and World Issues
Students examine the role of popular culture celebrities in creating awareness of world issues, then debate whether celebrity involvement is important and positive, or whether such involvement brings too much attention to the celebrities themselves, overshadowing the central messages of a campaign, organization, program or issue.
In this lesson, students examine the visual codes used on television and in movies through an exploration of various camera techniques.
Challenging Hate Online
In this lesson students learn how digital media is used to promote or combat hatred and intolerance.
Click if You Agree
This interactive game helps students make sense of legal documents for websites and apps.
Consensus or Conspiracy?
In this lesson, students learn the definition of scientific consensus and distinguish it from conventional wisdom. They explore how consensus is formed and how new data can lead to it changing. Students then use digital tools to identify the consensus on a topic. Next, students learn how fringe theories can do harm and learn the characteristics of a conspiracy theory. Finally, students show their learning through creating a graphic organizer; in an optional activity, students then adapt the graphic organizer to a poster showing how to recognize a conspiracy theory.
Crime in the News
In this lesson students explore the commercial and ethical issues surrounding the reporting of crime in televised newscasts.
Cyberbullying and the Law
In this lesson, students learn about and discuss the legal aspects of cyberbullying.
Dealing With Digital Stress
In this lesson students reflect on the ways in which digital media can cause stress.
Deconstructing Web Pages
In this lesson students apply the "5Ws of Cyberspace" to sources of information they find online. Assuming the role of a student researching a science project, students must authenticate the information in an online article about the artificial sweetener, aspartame.
Digital Media Experiences are Shaped by the Tools We Use: The Disconnection Challenge
In this lesson, students consider the role of technology and media in their lives and then spend a week either tracking or limiting their media use. They then share their experiences and discuss how the ways that digital media tools are made may cause us to use them differently (or simply more often). Finally, students draw on those insights to create a mindful media use plan. In an optional extension activity, they interview other students for a video exploring their experiences and reflections over the course of the project.
Digital Outreach for Civic Engagement
In this lesson, students will design a community outreach promotional campaign in order to effect real change that matters to them.
Digital Skills for Democracy: Assessing Online Information to Make Civic Choices
In this activity, students think about the importance of making sure they have trustworthy information before they make a decision on a political or electoral issue and reflect on the impact of false and misleading information in politics.
Digital Storytelling for Civic Engagement
In this lesson, 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.
Diversity and Media Ownership
Students are introduced to the media literacy key concepts that “media are created to re-present reality” and “media are influenced by commercial considerations.” They then read one of two articles – one is an overview of minority-focused media in Canada, the other is a more personal account of Michaëlle Jean’s experiences as an African-Canadian journalist in Quebec – and consider the importance of media ownership, the relative roles of minority-focused and mainstream media in reflecting and promoting Canadian multiculturalism, and changes in minority participation and representation in Canadian media.
Don’t Drink and Drive: Assessing the Effectiveness of Anti-Drinking Campaigns
Students 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.
Do Sharks Love Ice Cream?
In this lesson, students learn how science news articles are written and how to read them with a critical eye. They analyze elements such as peer review, correlation, and bias, and then write a science article based on an actual press release.
In this lesson, students learn about the history of film editing and how shot composition, juxtaposition of images and the use of rhythm and repetition in film editing can affect the emotional impact of a film.
Exposing Gender Stereotypes
In this lesson students take a look at their own assumptions about what it means to be a man, and what it means to be a woman. Students will begin to see how believing in stereotypes can lead to violence towards oneself and others.
Film Classification Systems in Québec
In this lesson students learn about the systems used to classify films, TV programs and video games. Students are asked to take a critical look at the criteria applied to classify these media products, and then take into account and discuss the underlying social and political aspects arising from those systems.
Finding and Authenticating Online Information on Global Development Issues
In this lesson students learn strategies for using the Internet effectively to research global development issues.
In this lesson students consider diversity representation in video games by identifying examples of diversity in the games they play, comparing their findings to statistics on diversity in the Canadian population.
First, Do No Harm: Being an Active Witness to Cyberbullying
In this lesson, students consider how difficult and complicated it can sometimes be to do the right thing. Students are asked to consider whether they agree with a number of widely-held moral principles and then are asked to consider a moral dilemma in which a number of moral principles are in conflict, reflecting on how their view of it may change based on the details of the scenario.
#ForYou: The Algorithm Game
In this lesson, students play the educational card game #ForYou: A Game About Algorithms and use it as a prompt to learn about and discuss the role that algorithms, data collection, and machine learning play in their lives. After playing, they analyze the game as an example of a serious game and then design their own serious game to communicate some of what they have learned in the lesson.
Free Speech and the Internet
In this lesson students learn about the inherent tension within democratic societies between freedom of expression and freedom from hatred. They also learn how Canada has addressed these issues within the Criminal Code of Canada, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and human rights legislation in Canada.
Gambling in the Media
This two-day lesson looks at the increasing prominence of gambling in the media, particularly movies and television. Students are asked to look critically at how gambling is portrayed, in comparison to its reality, and to consider how that portrayal affects how people perceive the risks and rewards of gambling.
Governance of Television and Radio Communications in Canada
This lesson introduces students introduce students to the organizations of the Canadian broadcasting industry, and to the codes, guidelines and issues relating to violence, ethics, representation, advertising and the accuracy of news in television and radio programming.
This lesson is designed to be delivered after students have completed at least one of the following lessons: Thinking About Hate, Scapegoating and Othering and Hate or Debate. In groups, students research an online environment (such as social networking sites) and a particular example of that environment (such as Facebook) to learn the issues, strategies and tools relating to online hate in that environment.
Hate or Debate?
In this lesson students learn about the difference between legitimate debate on a political issue and arguments that are based on hate.
Images of Learning
This lesson helps students become more aware of the stereotypes associated with portrayals of students and teachers on television and on film.
I heard it 'round the Internet: Sexual health education and authenticating online information
In this lesson students consider the use of the Internet as a research tool and learn how to use search engines more effectively. They then apply these newfound skills to investigating popular myths about sexuality and contraception.
Impact! How to Make a Difference When You Witness Bullying Online
In this lesson, students discuss reasons why they might be reluctant to intervene when they witness cyberbullying and identify ways that they can help without making things worse. They then use the interactive tool Impact! How to Make a Difference When You Witness Bullying Online to help them decide how to navigate scenarios relating to being a witness to bullying, and share their experiences to help them understand how important it is to think carefully before you act.
Introduction to Online Civic Engagement
Students are introduced to civic education through a series of activities which will ask them to work together to engage with their larger communities through curiosity, conversation and creation.
Making Media for Democratic Citizenship
In this lesson students create a video podcast to present balanced, unbiased perspectives on global development issues. They voice their perspectives through the language, codes and conventions of a visual medium.
Making Your Voice Heard: A Media Toolkit for Youth
This toolkit is designed to help young people understand how the news industry works, why youth stereotyping happens and how they can access media to get positive youth voices and stories heard.
Marketing to Teens: Alternate Ads
In this lesson students look at the less obvious methods used by advertisers to reach consumers: humorous, self-depreciating ads, product placement, product association with celebrities, ads promoting empowerment and affirmation and ‘advocacy’ advertising.
Marketing to Teens: Gender Roles in Advertising
Students explore gender roles in advertising by taking an ad campaign they have seen which is specifically directed to one gender, and redesigning the campaign to target the opposite gender.
Marketing to Teens: Gotta Have It! Designer and Brand Names
Students identify how we associate social status with designer and brand name products, and how we believe others perceive us by what we wear.
Marketing to Teens: Marketing Tactics
This activity helps teenagers develop an awareness of marketing tactics aimed at teens through the creation of their own mock advertising campaigns.
Marketing to Teens: Talking Back
This lesson helps teens become active consumers by encouraging them to ‘talk back’ to advertisers when they have concerns.
Mixed Signals: Verifying Online Information
In this lesson, students examine two websites about unlikely animals and learn how to effectively evaluate online sources. They then create a fake website that demonstrates the misleading signals that are often mistakenly taken as signs of reliability.
My Voice is Louder Than Hate: The Impact of Hate
In this lesson, students explore how interacting through digital media can make it easier to hurt someone’s feelings and can make hurtful or prejudiced behaviour seem normal in online spaces. They learn how Canadian youth feel about and respond to casual prejudice online and then use the My Voice is Louder Than Hate tool to create a digital story that will help people understand that online hate hurts everyone who witnesses it.
My Voice is Louder Than Hate: Pushing Back Against Hate
In this lesson, students explore the benefits and drawbacks of being “full citizens” online. They learn reasons why Canadian youth sometimes do not push back when they witness casual prejudice online and then use the My Voice is Louder Than Hate tool to practice different ways of responding. Finally, students analyze memes as a medium and a way of responding to hate or other hurtful behaviour online and then use the My Voice is Louder Than Hate tool to create a meme that they can use to push back against causal prejudice.
Online Cultures and Values
In this lesson, students are introduced to basic concepts of anthropology and ethnography and explore how they apply to online communities. After performing a digital ethnography project on the norms and values of an online community, students consider how a community’s norms and values are formed and how they can be shaped andinfluenced.
Online Gambling and Youth
In this lesson, students look at the ways in which online gambling draws in youth and increases the risk that they will become problem gamblers.
Online Marketing to Kids: Protecting Your Privacy
This two lesson unit on online marketing explores the various ways companies use the Internet to target young people. The first lesson introduces students to the ways in which commercial websites collect personal information from kids and to the issues surrounding children and privacy on the Internet.
Online Marketing to Kids: Strategies and Techniques
The second lesson in the Online Marketing to Kids unit introduces students to the online marketing techniques that are used to target children on the Internet.
Online Propaganda and the Proliferation of Hate
In this lesson students learn about the ways that propaganda techniques are used to promote hatred and intolerance online.
Online Relationships: Respect and Consent
In this lesson students use mind maps to explore concepts of “respect” and “consent” in an online context.
On the Loose: A Guide to Online Life for Post-Secondary Students
This guide supports young adults who are experiencing both new freedoms and challenges in their post- secondary life. It covers a variety of digital issues that students may require guidance on, including: school work; money and security; relationships online; and trying to stay healthy.
Perceptions of Youth and Crime
In this lesson students develop an awareness of the ways in which public perceptions regarding young people have been affected by media portrayals of youth violence and youth crime.
Police in Media|
This lesson helps students understand the different perceptions of the police force portrayed in the media. Students will learn about the differences between the constructed reality of media and law enforcement in real life and then create their television “cop shows” that provide a more accurate picture of policing.
This lesson begins with a teacher-led deconstruction of a political cartoon, after which students decode editorial cartoons that they have selected.
Popular Music and Music Videos
In this lesson, students examine the importance of videos to the music industry and the role that music plays in popular culture.
Privacy Rights of Children and Teens
In this lesson, students learn ways to find out what personal information may or has been collected by platforms that they use, how to limit data collection about themselves, and the various forms of recourse that are available to them if they feel an organization is not respecting their rights.
Promoting Ethical Behaviour Online
In this lesson students learn about ways to manage their privacy and reputation online by exploring their digital presence and to make good choices about sharing other people’s content online.
PushBack: Engaging in Online Activism
This lesson explores how young people can use online media for activism on issues that matter to them.
Put Your Best Face Forward
In this lesson students start by discussing the phenomenon of “selfies” and serve as experts in advising the teacher on the standards by which the “best” selfies are judged. They then discuss a number of statements taken from interviews with youth that highlight issues of self-representation, body image and gender standards, and learn about “photoshopping” images.
Reality Check: Authentication 101
In this lesson, students consider the different factors that make online sources reliable or unreliable. They then learn quick steps they can take to gauge an online source’s reliability and practice these steps by playing an interactive online game. Finally, students create a media product to teach other students how to do one of the tactics they’ve learned.
Reality Check: Authentication and Citizenship
In this lesson, students consider the ways in which misinformation can have an impact on history and politics. After discussing a number of historical examples of misinformation, they examine the ways in which news sources may be biased and use an interactive online game to practice skills in getting more context on a story.
Reality Check: Getting the Goods on Science and Health
In this lesson, students start by considering the wide range of science and health information they are likely to encounter in news or through social media. They read an article on a scientific topic to help them understand the particular challenges of verifying science and health information and then use an educational computer game to practice skills in critically reading health and science stories. Finally, students compile a list of reliable sources they can turn to for verifying health and science stories.
Reality Check: News You Can Use
In this lesson, students consider the meanings of the term “fake news” and learn facts about the news industry that will help them recognize legitimate sources of news.
Reality Check: We Are All Broadcasters
In this lesson, students consider the ways in which our own biases can prevent us from being objective. They then learn ways to recognize and account for our biases and practice these by playing an interactive online game. Finally, students learn about how public service campaigns can change social norms and create their own PSA to promote ethical sharing of online information.
Relationships and Sexuality in Media
In this lesson students learn to question media representations of gender, relationships and sexuality.
In this lesson, students examine different types of remixes – from works created by editing a single text to ones that draw inspiration from existing texts – in order to develop a definition of “remix.”
Respecting Yourself and Others Online Workshop
This workshop provides tweens and young teens with strategies and knowledge that will help them respect themselves, respect others and respect the space when using social media.
Scapegoating and Othering
In this lesson students develop a deeper understanding of scapegoating and othering and how these factors may contribute to the promotion of hatred and intolerance.
Screen Stigma: Looking at Mental Illness in Popular Media
Students begin by viewing a slideshow that explores common stereotypes of mental illness and mental illness treatment in media. They read a prepared analysis of the portrayal of mental illness in a TV show popular with teens, then in a small group analyze another text of their choice. Finally, students create an annotated version of a scene or excerpt from a text in which they analyze and evaluate its portrayal of mental illness.
Screen Stigma: Looking at Mental Illness in the News
In this lesson, students learn about the ways in which news coverage of an event or issue can be biased, focusing on the aspects of the medium and industry that can lead to bias. They read an article that examines the coverage of mental illness in the news and then participate in an interactive activity that lets them compose their own article. Finally, students find and analyze a recent news story on a mental health topic and write a letter either praising or critiquing it.
In this lesson, students read an interactive online comic that teaches them key concepts and skills relating to three cybersecurity topics: malware, passwords and privacy from geotracking devices. Following this, students research their own cybersecurity topics and learn how non-fiction comics are made in order to create their own Secure Comic.
In this lesson, students explore how tobacco advertising has evolved over the past century.
Sex in Advertising
This lesson helps students understand the multiple meanings of sexuality, the ways in which the media capitalizes on sex to sell a wide variety of products and the value systems underlying sexualized media messages.
Sports Personalities in Magazine Advertising
In this lesson students explore the relationship between athletes and advertising through a number of different activities.
Shaking the Movers: Youth Rights and Media
In this lesson students discuss the concept of human rights and then learn how these ideas led to the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Suffragettes and Iron Ladies
This lesson considers how the media portrays women in politics.
Speak Up! Your Guide to Changing the World, Online and Off
Thanks to the internet and social media, it’s easier than ever to share your views and encourage others to join you in making change. This guide shows students the ways they can use social networks to make their voice heard and make a difference.
Taming the Wild Wiki
In this lesson students are introduced to Wikipedia, the user-edited online encyclopedia, and given an overview of its strengths and weaknesses as a research source. They are taught how to evaluate the reliability of a Wikipedia article and then attempt to improve an existing article.
Technology Facilitated Violence: Criminal Case Law Lesson Plan
This lesson plan explores the relationship between technology and the law by examining how the criminal law responds to technologically facilitated violence (TFV). Students will use materials from The eQuality Project’s “Technology-Facilitated Violence: Criminal Case Law” database to research recent Canadian case law involving TFV, better understand the concept of “violence” and the wide range of acts that fall within TFV, as well as the available criminal legal resources and potential outcomes for those affected.
The Citizen Reporter
This lesson begins with a brief history of citizen journalism and a discussion of just what it is. Students are introduced to the key media literacy concept that media are constructions that re-present reality and consider how the traditionally "white" makeup of Canadian journalism might affect the content of Canadian news. They then discuss the effects of the increasing ability of ordinary citizens to cover, broadcast and comment on news and compare mainstream news sources and citizen journalism in terms of accuracy, completeness and diversity representation.
The Front Page
This lesson begins by helping students to identify and understand the different aspects of the newspaper. Using these skills, students will then collect and identify front-page news stories and categorize them according to subject matter.
The Invisible Machine: Big Data and You
In this lesson, students examine a fictional social network profile to learn how online platforms collect data about their users. They then read an article that explains how platforms use this data and explores some of the issues this raises. Finally, they create a mind map of their own online data profile and reflect on how the data they post may be collected and used by others.
The Price of Happiness
Students answer a brief questionnaire related to self-image, self-esteem, and advertising, and then work as groups to create and act in mock television commercials that parody advertising techniques.
The Privacy Dilemma: Lesson Plan for Senior Classrooms
In this lesson students consider and discuss the trade-offs we all make on a daily basis between maintaining our privacy, and gaining access to information services.
There’s no excuse: confronting moral disengagement in sexting
In this lesson, students learn about the “sneaky excuses” that can convince us to do things that we know are wrong. After learning about the different types of these excuses, students watch and discuss a series of videos in which the excuses are used to justify forwarding sexts without the original sender’s consent. Finally, students create their own videos in which the excuses used to justify sharing sexts with other people are illustrated and most importantly, countered.
Thinking About Hate
In this lesson students develop their critical thinking skills by learning to recognize various types of logical fallacies, including those that are used by hate mongers to spread misinformation and fuel hatred and intolerance.
Thinking Like a Tobacco Company
In this lesson, students learn how the tobacco industry targets the needs, wishes and desires of young people in order to sell cigarettes. Students begin by looking at the reasons why the tobacco industry needs to recruit “replacement” smokers. Then they assume the roles of marketing personnel in a tobacco company and use a 1987 youth survey conducted by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco to create their own marketing campaigns to sway various sub-groups within the youth demographic.
Students debate the effectiveness of health warning labels on tobacco products. They begin by looking at different warning labels from around the world, and then focus specifically on Canada’s new visual warning labels. Students discuss the elements of effective warning labels, and look at the difficulties of reaching young people with health messages.
In this lesson students are introduced to the ways video games may impact their mental and physical health.
Watching the Elections
Students look at how elections are media events, then compare American and Canadian elections to other mass media events and then watch one or both debates with an eye to analyzing them as media constructs. Students will then study advertising techniques frequently used in political ads, then watch American and Canadian campaign ads from past years.
Who Knows? Your Privacy in the Information Age
In this lesson students explore issues relating to privacy through a series of activities, surveys and quizzes.
Who's Telling My Story?
In this lesson students learn about the history of blackface and other examples of majority-group actors playing minority-group characters such as White actors playing Asian and Aboriginal characters and non-disabled actors playing disabled characters.
Writing a Newspaper Article
The lesson begins with a discussion about freedom of speech and the important role it plays in journalism. Next, students will learn how to create news articles by developing ‘lead paragraphs’ and by using the ‘inverted pyramid’ model. Once this is done, they will be given time during class to select topics, conduct research, write their articles and proof read and peer edit their own and other’s works.
Your Connected Life: A Teen’s Guide to Life Online
This guide is designed to help students who are just entering high school balance the demands of their offline life with their digital one.
Your Online Resume
In this lesson, students learn that their online presence is like a resume that can help them – or hurt them – in their future personal and professional lives.