Unit 5 Wants Social Media Use Included In Media Literacy Course
The head of curriculum for Normal Community and Normal West high schools says the district already has a good foundation for teaching media literacy.
Illinois high schools will be required to teach media literacy starting with the 2022-23 school year.
Unit 5's Dan Lamboley said the district currently teaches some basic principles that students need to be media literate so they can better detect fake news, but he wants to see how the new curriculum can help students use social media in a healthy way.
“I see already, in terms of analyzing trustworthiness of sources, already embedded, in particular English and social studies courses that almost all students take,” Lamboley said, adding that he believes media literacy should start in junior high.
Unit 5 includes media literacy as part of its course on digital media that nearly all students take as early as sixth grade.
Lamboley said most students rely heavily on their cell phones for information as early as sixth grade. He’s concerned how that affects their social and emotional well-being if they have an unhealthy amount of social media consumption.
“As soon as kids have a cell phone, it becomes almost 24-7 where they are getting information through social media or they are developing those messages,” he said.
Lamboley said the district teaches digital media to junior high students not just to guide them as readers and viewers, but also as content producers.