Media Literacy

what is media literacy?

Media Literacy is our ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms — from print to video to the Internet. 

why is it important?

As our lives continue to rely on digital technologies to deliver or news, entertainment and information our abilities to navigate online spaces and information is vital to our progress as a society. Without media literacy practices users of technology tend to find ineffective and inefficient pathways to the information they seek, getting trapped along the way by mis-information and online hate.

Media literacy helps to break this cycle of inefficiencies and provide users with the proper understandings to harness digital tools to enhance the productivity, connectivity and civic engagement within their individual lives.

cycle of literacy

1. Reflect & Understand Your Own Values
2. Identify the Purpose for Your Engagement Online
3. Dig into Supporting Information and Resources
4. Mindfully Create and Engage Online

what do I need to know about social media platforms?

There is a lot to unpack when it comes to understanding how the construction of social media platforms impact how we operate within these online social spaces.

To simplify what is going on from the technical jargon that you will encounter in our extended resources below, considering the following features and keeping these understandings in our minds as we navigate these environments will help us to feel in control of our journey.

…start by watching this

now let’s reflect on…


They make money from you looking at targeted advertisement and giving your information to third-party entities.


They use relevancy based information feeds to create super-specific information environments for each of us. Specifically designed to show you what you like and keep you happily scrolling past ads while your information becomes more polarized to your current beliefs.


The ability to like and be liked through a notification system can cause addiction to these spaces. Each like to your content triggers dopamine releases in the brain which can develop a dependency and inability to tune-out.


Their engagement features (liking, commenting, sharing) coupled with the relevancy algorithm amplify extreme messaging and polarizing ideas in these spaces.

self reflection exercise…

What does your news feed look like?
Compare it to another persons and have a discussion about the different windows created for each of you.

…dive deeper into resources

Center for Humane Technology

find your place in democracy

what do I need to know about how messages are created and distributed online?

Understanding how we create and distribute messaging in digital spaces is just as essential to developing an understanding of how the platforms are designed.

With the rampant spread of mis and dis-information online being able to critically analyze and deconstruct messages in different forms is at the heart of media literacy.

…start by watching this

now let’s reflect on…


Find who is the source of the message.


Determine how the message is grabbing your attention.


Ask yourself… What ways can this message be interpreted? How are you interpreting it?


Determine the accuracy and completeness of the message by exploring other sources on the same topic.

self reflection exercise…

Do you interpret the content you engage with through a critical lens? 
Are you aware of the source of the information you see? How often do you fact check before sharing content? How open are you to information that challenges your current perspective?

…dive deeper into resources

News Literacy Project

Checkology: Checkology’s lessons and other resources show you how to navigate today’s challenging information landscape.

create mindfulness in your media use

dive deeper into resources

The Center for Media Literacy

Media Education Lab

Common Sense Media

Media Literacy Now

Independent Media Institute

Center for Humane Technology

Resist the Urge to Simplify the Story

Digital Literacy Apps


Digital Media Literacy Education and Online Civic and Political Participation

Best Apps for Teaching Media Literacy 

Orion Magazine

Technology Literacy and the MySpace Generation


Media Literacy

Media Literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media in a variety of forms.

Media Literacy is a 21st century approach to education. It provides a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms — from print to video to the Internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy.

Technology Literacy

Technology literacy is the ability to effectively use technology to access, evaluate, integrate, create and communicate information to enhance the learning process through problem-solving and critical thinking.

Visual Literacy

Visual literacy is the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image, extending the meaning of literacy, which commonly signifies interpretation of a written or printed text.

Digital Citizenship

Digital citizenship refers to the responsible use of technology by anyone who uses computers, the Internet, and digital devices to engage with society on any level.

Civic Engagement

Civic engagement means working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.


Democracy is a form of government in which the people have the authority to choose their governing legislation. Who people are and how authority is shared among them are core issues for democratic development and citizenship.

Technology‐Mediated Society

Mediated communication or mediated interaction (less often, mediated discourse) refers to communication carried out by the use of information communication technology and can be contrasted to face-to-face communication. While currently the technology we use is often related to computers, giving rise to the popular term computer-mediated communication, mediated technology need not be computerized as writing a letter using a pen and a piece of paper is also using mediated communication. Thus, Davis defines mediated communication as the use of any technical medium for transmission across time and space.

Digital Natives

The term digital native describes a person who has grown up in the digital age, rather than having acquired familiarity with digital systems as an adult, as a digital immigrant. Both terms were used as early as 1996 as part of the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace.