A sense of urgency is growing because across Rhode Island, students are graduating from high school without adequate media literacy competencies. What's the problem?
Well-Being and Safety
Educators face challenges that result from the unsupervised use of digital and mass media in the home, as children’s use of video games and social media may promote unhealthy attitudes and behaviors, including sleep loss, attention difficulties, dependency on digital devices, cultivation of stereotypes, cyberbullying and violent behavior.
Lack of Engagement
Well before Grade 6, many students who live active digital lives at home have decided that school is simply not relevant to their lives, leading them to be disengaged from traditional learning tasks and assignments. When learners and educators don’t perceive how schoolwork is relevant to the current and future needs of our society, they miss out on expanded learning opportunities.
Many people do not demonstrate the skills necessary to be a savvy news consumer, lack the ability to use online searching to verify factual claims and recognize the point of view and bias that is present in media messages. Research has shown that many American students cannot correctly identify an industry group masquerading as a think tank or distinguish between sponsored content and a legitimate news article. Students lack knowledge of how search engines work, believing that results are displayed based on accuracy, rather than the preferences of advertisers.
Distrust and Polarization
Concerns about the increasing polarization of political discourse and a decline in trust for civic institutions have led to greater awareness of how media literacy can address “the growing divergence between the speed at which technology is able to change and the speed at which educational institutions are able to keep up,” as Sam Wineburg of the Stanford History Education Project has noted.