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Home » Policy & Funding » School Technology » Internet Safety & Policy » Media Literacy & Digital Citizenship

Media Literacy & Digital Citizenship

Contact Information

Lesley James
Media Literacy & Digital Citizenship Program Supervisor

Media literacy and digital citizenship are overlapping content areas that should be integrated into every subject taught in today’s classrooms. The standards associated with media literacy lead students to think critically about the messages they consume and create through a variety of forms of communication. Those associated with digital citizenship enable students to use technology in ways that are safe, responsible, ethical, and kind. Oversight of digital citizenship instruction often falls within the purview of a school’s Educational Technology department. Both media literacy and digital citizenship are core subjects in the teacher-librarian’s repertoire. However, all educators can help send their students out into the digital landscape with skills that empower them to effectively analyze what they find there and to make their own voices heard.

Resources, including lesson plans, for teaching Media Literacy & Digital Citizenship:

Media Literacy & Digital Citizenship Grants (2021-2023)

Thanks to House Bill 1365, Washington state schools, districts, and ESDs can apply for competitive grants that will support integrating Media Literacy, Digital Citizenship, or Synthetic Media (aka deepfakes) curriculum into classes.   

There is great Media Literacy & Digital Citizenship curriculum out there. Educators need release time so they can figure out how to start teaching it in their classrooms, tailoring it to the needs of their communities, and learning from experienced professionals in the field. 

Project Grants

Teams that are ready to start developing or adapting existing curriculum and sharing best practices through a Professional Learning Community can now apply for a two-year project grant that spans the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. 

Interested applicants are invited to register for the upcoming informational meetings:  

  1. Tue. November 30, 2021Project Grant Zoom meeting | 7:00 am 
  2. Wed. December 8, 2021 Project Grant Zoom meeting | 4:00 pm  

Planning Grants

Coming Soon! Teams that aren’t sure where to start will be able to apply for a planning grant for the 2021-22 school year. This will allow them to complete a second application for a one-year project grant that would be implemented during the 2022-23 school year.   

Standards, Organizations & Definitions

Digital citizens recognize and value the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning, and working in an interconnected digital world; and they engage in safe, legal, and ethical behavior. (Adapted from the ISTE 2016 Student Standards)

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) “inspires the creation of solutions and connections that improve opportunities for all learners by delivering: practical guidance, evidence-based professional learning, virtual networks, thought-provoking events and the ISTE Standards.”

See Washington State Educational Technology Standards.

Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create and act using a variety of forms of communication. (From the National Association of Media Literacy Education)

The Rand Corporation has compiled these media literacy standards.

The ISTE Standards also address media literacy.

The Association of College and Research Libraries defines information literacy as “the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.” The ACRL provides this Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

The American Association of School Libraries adds that students should be able to “recognize when information is needed” and to “locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information” using critical thinking skills. The AASL provides this standards framework.

The Washington Library Association School Library Division provides this Library Information and Technology standards Framework.

Legislation & Resources 

Legislation passed in 2016 (SSB 6273) required the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to convene an advisory group to identify successful practices and recommend media literacy and digital citizenship improvements statewide. Here are their recommendations, included as part of their Digital Citizenship Report to the Legislature

  1. Convene a working group to update the state K-12 learning standards for educational technology that align with the advisory group's definitions of digital citizenship and media literacy, national standards, and learning standards in all subjects. 
  2. Consider possible revisions to district policies to better support digital citizenship, media literacy, or Internet safety in schools. 
  3. Create a web-based location to recommend successful practices and resources and work with the K-12 community and other stakeholders to identify and develop additional Open Educational Resources to support digital citizenship, media literacy, and internet safety in schools. 
  4. Provide support for professional development for teachers, focused on integrating digital citizenship and media literacy in all core standards, starting with English Language Arts and Social Studies. 
  5. Examine improvements in districts' library information and technology programs as defined in state law to determine ways in which teacher-librarians can lead, teach and support digital citizenship and media literacy across all grades and content areas. 

Substitute Senate Bill 5449 directed OSPI to survey teacher-librarians, principals, and technology directors in order to understand how they are currently integrating digital citizenship and media literacy education in their curriculum. Responses were provided by 249 of 295 districts, and 1,111 of approximately 2,250 school buildings. A spreadsheet of this data is available upon request.