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Data-Driven Research Partnership Advances Media Literacy Education at Local Level – URI News

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KINGSTON, Rhode Island – September 16, 2022 – A new partnership between professors at the University of Rhode Island and a national nonprofit helps schools and communities across the country learn how students share false or misleading information. You will have access to tools that measure your ability to discern. .

Led by URI Professor Renee Hobbs, the Media Education Lab has launched a national non-profit organization to provide free access to the Media Literacy Implementation (MLI) Index, a validated research tool that measures the prevalence of media literacy education. We partner with the for-profit organization Media Literacy Now. in schools and communities.

“School and community leaders now have a clearer picture of how many students in their communities have access to media literacy learning opportunities,” said Harrington Communications and URI, which produced the survey. Hobbs, professor of communications at the Media School, said. “If school and community leaders know what is happening on the ground, this data will give them a clear picture of curriculum areas that represent current strengths and where continued improvement is needed.”

Schools across the country are starting to beef up their media literacy programs, Hobbs said. This year, for the first time, Illinois high schools were required to offer credit for media literacy. Other states such as California, Washington, Utah, Ohio and Florida have made media literacy education a priority with strong support from educators, parents and community leaders.

Media literacy education teaches students not only to use media to create their own messages, but also to apply critical thinking to the media messages they receive. Media literacy is critical to the health and well-being of America’s children and their future participation in the civic and economic life of a democracy, says Hobbes. The rise of COVID-19 disinformation and extremism has increased interest in media literacy education, which is often initiated by school librarians, English, health, or social studies educators. It has been.

But Hobbs says assessing how many students are actually receiving media literacy education in local schools and communities is problematic. Until now, there has been no reliable way to measure the likelihood that students will have the opportunity to learn and develop their media literacy competencies. A national survey of the implementation of media literacy education in American school districts has not yet been conducted. MLI indexes help address that issue. And this new partnership will put it at the disposal of both students and community stakeholders.

Erin McNeill, Founder and President of Media Literacy Now, said: “The MLI Index provides school leaders with a systematic way to measure whether media literacy education is included across the primary and secondary level curriculum.”

Once the school district using the survey agrees to share the data with researchers, it is easy to collect data not only from students, but also from community stakeholders such as school leaders, librarians, educators, parents, and the community. Access digital surveys that you can Members, and elected officials. For an additional fee, researchers will analyze the data to identify areas of strength and growth needed to provide a comprehensive approach to integrating media literacy into the curriculum. With professional support from Media Literacy Now, school and community leaders can also inform local communities about media literacy adoption initiatives and use data to assess progress in curriculum adoption.

In the spring of 2022, Professor Hobbs and colleagues at the University of Rhode Island, with support from the URI Institute of Social Sciences for Research, Education, and Policy, will launch a statewide implementation of media literacy education in Rhode Island. published a report on Their research will be published in an academic journal in 2023.

Among the first school leaders to embrace the use of the MLI index was Lucas Jacobs, Director of Writing, Communication, and Media Literacy at La Jolla Country Day School in California. In Maynard, Massachusetts, a high school senior worked with his Professor Hobbs to adapt his MLI index for students in grades 4-12. Her work helps school leaders identify opportunities and gaps in media literacy practices.

“Media literacy is a major focus in many of the Harrington School for Communication and Media programs,” said Ammina Kothari, director of the Harrington School. “I am excited about the innovative work Dr. Hobbes is doing in schools and communities.”

For more information on the program, please visit

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Media Literacy Now is a non-profit organization based in Watertown, Massachusetts, dedicated to building a public education system that ensures all students acquire the 21st century literacy skills necessary for health, well-being, economic participation and citizenship. advocating.

Contact Erin McNeill:

The Media Education Lab, founded and directed by Professor Renee Hobbs, provides public programs, educational services, community outreach, and multimedia curriculum resources to meet the needs of school and after-school educators and learners. I’m here. Their interdisciplinary research agenda explores the educational impact of media and technology, with a focus on digital and media literacy education as an extended conceptualization of literacy.

Email Professor Renee Hobbs.