Institutions responsible for education around the world must take steps towards media and digital literacy. According to Renee Hobbs, founder of the Media Education Lab at Temple University in the US, these skills — along with communicating effectively and analyzing data and evidence — are highly relevant in the workplace and in the community
Today’s students need training if they’re going to become tomorrow’s knowledge workers. In the white paper Digital and Media Literacy: A Plan of Action, Hobbs outlines 10 steps to strengthen digital and media literacy.
These steps need the active support of education leaders, public library trustees, leaders of community-based organizations, state and federal officials, business community members, leaders in media and technology industries and the foundation community.
Step 1: Map existing community resources and offer small grants. These grants will promote community partnerships that integrate digital and media literacy competencies into existing programs.
Step 2: Support a national network of summer learning programs. These programs will integrate digital and media literacy into public charter schools. Universities can play an important role in supporting summer literacy programs, she said.
Step 3: Create a Digital and Media Literacy Youth Corps. This youth corps will bring digital and media literacy to underserved communities and special populations through public libraries, museums and other community centers.
Step 4: Build interdisciplinary bridges in higher education. This bridge building will integrate core principles of digital and media literacy education into teacher preparation programs. Educators now have the opportunity to take down some of the disciplinary silos that interfere with effective collaboration between schools of communication and information, library media science, and education. Interdisciplinary partnerships between those schools can support the development of pre-service teachers.
Step 5: Create district level initiatives. These initiatives would support digital and media literacy across K-12 education through community and media partnerships.
Step 6: Partner with media and technology companies. These partnerships would bring local and national news media into education programs in ways that promote civic engagement.
Step 7: Develop online measures of media and digital literacy. These measures would assess learning progression and develop online video documentation of digital and media literacy instructional strategies. That in turn will build expertise in teacher education.
Step 8: Start an entertainment education initiative. Tap into the creativity of the entertainment industry to raise visibility and create shared social norms of ethical behavior in social media.
Step 9: Host a statewide, youth-produced public service announcement competition. The competition would increase visibility for digital and media literacy education.
Step 10: Support an annual conference and educator showcase competition. The conference would increase national leadership in digital and media literacy education.