Importance of Digital Literacy

Curate, Collect, Create, and Collaborate:

A Digital Literacy Framework for International Schools

What exactly is digital literacy, and how can we ensure that students are learning the digital skills they need in school? We classify competencies for digital literacy according to four main principles: Curate, Collect, Create, and Collaborate. These principles form the basis for our digital literacy framework.

In today’s multimodal society our students require to master a vast variety of incredibly differential skills and strategies to make sense of the world. For our students to be able critically to assess information’s validity and meaning, they need to be more than just consumers of information. We are using an Ontario based inquiry framework with PYP transdisciplinary approach focusing on those ATL skills

Key Concepts for Media Literacy

During library research lessons we learn to:

1. Media are constructions

“This is arguably the most important concept. The media do not simply reflect external reality. Rather, they present carefully crafted constructions that reflect many decisions and are the result of many determining factors. Media Literacy works towards deconstructing these constructions (i.e., to taking them apart to show how they are made)` —

Media products are created by individuals who make conscious and unconscious choices about what to include, what to leave out and how to present what is included. These decisions are based on the creators’ own point of view, which will have been shaped by their opinions, assumptions, and biases – as well as media they have been exposed to. As a result of this, media products are never entirely accurate reflections of the real world – even the most objective documentary filmmaker has to decide what footage to use and what to cut, as well as where to put the camera – but we instinctively view many media products as direct representations of what is real.

Guiding Questions:

  • Who created this media product?
  • What is its purpose?
  • What assumptions or beliefs do its creators have that are reflected in the content?

ATL Skills:

  • evaluate
  • synthesise

2. Audiences negotiate meaning

The meaning of any media product is not created solely by its producers but is, instead, a collaboration between them and the audience – which means that different audiences can take away different meanings from the same product. Media literacy encourages us to understand how individual factors, such as age, gender, race and social status affect our interpretations of media.

Guiding Questions:

  • How might different people see this media product differently?
  • How does this make you feel, based on how similar or different you are from the people portrayed in the media product?

ATL Skills:

  • Comprehension
  • Reading
  • Analyze

3. Media have commercial implications

Most media production is a business and therefore, tries to make a profit. In addition, media industries have concentrated into a powerful network of corporations that exert influence on content and distribution. Questions of ownership and control are central – a relatively small number of individuals control what we watch, read and hear in the media.

Guiding Questions:

  • What is the commercial purpose of this media product (in other words,
  • How will it help someone make money?
  • How does this influence the content and how it’s communicated?
  • If no commercial purpose can be found, what other purposes might the media product have.
  • How do those purposes influence the content and how it’s communicated?

ATL Skills:

  • Evaluate
  • Synthesize
  • Analyze

4. Media has implications upon society

Media conveys ideological messages about values, power and authority. In media literacy, what or who is absent is often as important as what or who is included. As a result, media have great influence on politics and on forming social change.

Guiding Questions:

  • Who and what is shown in a positive light? In a negative light?
  • Why might these people and things be shown this way?
  • Who and what is not shown at all?
  • What conclusions might audiences draw based on these facts?

ATL Skills:

  • Evaluate
  • Synthesize
  • Analyze

5. Each medium has a unique aesthetic form

The content of media depends in part on the nature of the medium. This includes the technical, commercial and storytelling demands of each medium: for instance, the interactive nature of video games leads to different forms of storytelling.

Guiding Questions:

  • What techniques does the media product use to get your attention and to communicate its message?
  • In what ways are the images in the media product manipulated through various techniques?
  • What are the expectations of the genre towards its subject?

ATL Skills:

  • Application
  • Analysis
  • Synthesis

We integrate these skills and strategies into Units of Inquiry from G3: Digital Media, G4: Propaganda and G5: Expressing Identity and Exhibition in addition to stand-alone research and library lessons.

Should want to find out more: and

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