Illinois’s Public High Schools Will Teach Media Literacy to Students
Updated: Mar 31, 2022
By Manu Ferreira
In an age when fake news, misinformation, and disinformation are currently transforming into a bigger problem for society, the ability to analyze and understand media is more than necessary.
Last year, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law requiring Illinois’s public high schools to teach media literacy. The state became the first one in the country to follow such instruction.
Classes will start on the 2022-2023 school year. Students will learn how to verify the information they consume from various mediums, including digital, audio, visual, and print.
As soon as the bill was passed, the Colleges of Media and Education of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign teamed up to assist teachers to integrate media analysis and production into their classes. They are also helping to build a critical media literacy curriculum for schools.
“Many of us in the College of Media has been working on media literacy-related research and teaching in the last several years,” affirmed Professor Stephanie Craft, head of the Department of Journalism.
“When we heard about the new law, we wanted to be able to turn that work into action. Teaming up with curriculum and instruction experts in the College of Education seemed an ideal way to do that," said Craft.
The team has created the Initiative for Media Education Inquiry and Action (IMEDIA), which is formed by faculty members and doctoral students.
In June, IMEDIA will launch a pilot program on campus to find out what teachers have been doing in the area of media literacy and to help them integrate its components into their curriculum. It will be a three-day workshop, from 27th to 29th, for local teachers and potentially for teachers across the state.
“The end goal is quite simple. We want all of our students to be prepared to be critical media consumers,” explained Professor Sarah McCarthey, head of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction.