Digital Literacy

In other words, being able to:

  • use technology (a computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.) to access information and media.
  • evaluate sources - who the publisher/author is, what bias they have, how reputable/authoritative those sources are.
  • to create and present knowledge.
  • collaborate and communicate with others.

Media Literacy

Activity: Look at media example as class.

Answer the following questions:

  1. What is the media?
  2. What are they advertising?
  3. How are they appealing to audience (emotional, celebrity, trendy, etc.)?
  4. What is the target audience, can you tell?
  5. How successful is the ad: does it appeal to you, would it appeal to target audience?

Small Group

In small groups examine media, answering the 5 questions:

  1. What is the media?
  2. What are they advertising?
  3. How are they appealing to audience (emotional, celebrity, trendy, etc.)?
  4. What is the target audience, can you tell?
  5. How successful is the ad: does it appeal to you, would it appeal to target audience?

Each group will be given 1 example. Discuss as a group, and record your answers. Be prepared to present your observations to the class.

Groups will talk briefly about their observations, the class will then have an opportunity to agree, disagree, or question.

Points: 10

Examples For Small Groups


Answer the media questions for 2 more examples, either from ones handed out in class, or that you find on your own. You must provide a link, copy, or photo (can be emailed) with the completed questions (for each example), for full points.

Points: 10

Information Search

Information search modeling for class.

Ask class for a search term and complete the following steps, and recording number of results:

  • Search term
  • Second term
  • Quotes
  • | (OR)
  • -(minus/NOT)
Example of exercise

Individual Seat-work

Students will use BYOD, or provided laptop/tablets to do their own searches. Students can choose any term, as long as it is appropriate for school. Students should choose a term/topic that they are interested in researching for a mini presentation/project. Though, they do not necessarily have to use the terms from this lesson for the final project.

Students should complete at least 2 sets of search terms, making sure to record all components.

Points: 10

After students have completed exercise, open class discussion. Were there problems? Odd results? Other questions? Do they feel like they understood how to find information? 

Copyright and image search modeling for class

Explain the Creative Commons License, Copyright and appropriate use, and citation of images/videos in projects. Model changing image search filters on Google, show where to find license information on Flicker, introduce students to PhotosForClass and Pixabay.

Evaluate Sources

Modeling Analysis of Texts

As a class, look at some examples of resources that students might find while researching projects. Evaluate them using the provided questions.

  1. Who is the Author, how credible are they? (Known scholar? Random contributor?)
  2. Who is the Publisher? (Is it and edited/peer-reviewed publication? A user-generated one?)
  3. What are the Author/Publisher biases? (Is in an neutral site, an organization, is the author an activist for/against the topic?)
  4. How current is the work? Could the information be outdated?
  5. Does the work respond to/cite other works on the topic?
  6. What is the purpose of the source? (Academic discourse, parody, popular news/gossip, etc.)

Communication and Collaboration

Actual Tweets

The student project and collaboration depend a lot on how this series of lessons is implemented. The lessons could be utilized as a stand-alone unit, where in the project is finding three reputable sources on a topic, and one picture/media with appropriate license, and creating a presentation (Prezi, Sway, etc.) that includes a review of the sources and what kind of information it provided.

The lessons could also be used as part of an on-going project, and could even be split up over the course of the semester. In that case the homework/class work would be the assessments. The lessons would ultimately link to a large research project that is the key element of a course.

I envision the communication and collaboration as being part of an on-going class wiki, or blog/forum wherein students would create reviews/rich reflections of text--both assigned and not--and respond to each other.


This lesson series is aimed at middle schoolers, but through different media could be geared to a younger or older group. There are easily found resources to do either. The unit could work in Social Studies or Language Arts because both require research based projects.

Additionally, the media bias examples could be tailored to utilize political cartoons/ads for a government class, propaganda for a history class, or just about any topic/content area really. The information search section could be adjusted to showcase how to use EBSCOhost (the UAF article database).

Created By
sarah carstensen
Created with images by kaboompics - "man reading touchscreen" • CEThompson - "Research Notes" • dfuster74 - "bacamorta (4)" • rhodesj - "Studying" • floodllama - "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight"

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