Media Literacy in the Climate of Fake News
By: Deb Artz
In this climate of “Fake News” and partisan coverage, it is encouraging to see the recent passing of the CA State Senator Hanna Beth Jackson Bill SB947, requiring guidelines for grades 1 - 12 to be developed for curriculum in Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy. These guidelines will address Internet safety, digital citizenship, and media literacy. Digital citizenship is defined as “a diverse set of skills related to current technology and social media, including the norms of appropriate, responsible and healthy behavior,” and media literacy as “the ability to access, evaluate, develop, produce and interpret media and encompasses foundational skill that lead to digital citizenship.” As First Amendment Coalition Executive Director David Snyder remarked in Josh Grega’s June 2018 SB News Press article, “Critical thinking is not a partisan issue.”
In consultation of an advisory committee mostly comprised of certified teacher librarians and classroom teachers with media literacy teaching experience, the CA Superintendent of Public Instruction will create instructional guidelines without mandating a set curriculum that could place demands on those school districts with less money. Professional development for educators and school administrators will also be conducted as part of this bill. The final amended SB 947 bill version still needs to pass Assembly and Senate Floors before it goes to the desk of Governor Jerry for signature. The exact date for when this happens is still unknown.
For anyone interested in learning more about this bill and others, the Center for Media Literacy is a good place to start. Simply go to https://medialiteracynow.org
Besides individual state legislative updates, you will find a short instructive video on how to be a better consumer of media information along with additional resources on the topic.