Transforming media literacy into civic engagement

Being an informed contributor to American democratic practices and principles requires strong media literacy skills. Without them, even the most civic-minded will struggle to assess and interpret the mass of information available in the world.

Jeff Knutson, Common Sense Educational Content Strategist and Senior Producer, recognizes how difficult it is for students to negotiate media. In an edWebinar sponsored by Common Sense Education, Knutson described how teachers can help students strengthen their media literacy for informed participation in civic engagement.

See vs understand

Young people are early adopters of TikTok or use Snapchat, and tend to get most of their news from social media. Because they are tech-savvy, it feels like they are good at interpreting messages. This is not the case. They actually struggle with the complexity of current affairs and politics.

Related Content: 5 Achievable Digital Citizenship Goals

Social media platforms aren’t necessarily the best place to find factual news or information. People learn to tell stories through them, usually in the form of confusing headlines (designed to entertain) with articles that contain the gist of the story but consumers don’t read. What’s actually happening isn’t usually reflected in a Twitter or Facebook feed.

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