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Illinois high school students will learn media literacy skills next school year

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 12:16 AM CDT
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CARTERVILLE, Ill. (KFVS) - High school students in Illinois will learn media literacy skills in the classroom starting next school year.

Illinois Public Act 102-0055 requires media literacy education for all public high school students in Illinois starting in the 2022-2023 school year.

The co-founders of the Illinois Media Literacy Coalition, Michael Spikes and Yonty Friesem, created a framework to help Illinois educators incorporate the required media literacy unit into any subject matter and topics that are already being taught. Spikes and Friesem said we live in a media saturated environment, so it’s important students are taught media literacy skills.

“One of the things that we encounter these days is that we need to become much more active consumers of media, because we’re not only just looking at things, we’re also participating in conversations on platforms like social media,” said Spikes, a PhD candidate at Northwestern University, adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago, and Illinois Media Literacy Now chapter leader.

“Knowing how to be media literate is also to know how to communicate, how to behave, and how to be socially responsible in today’s environment,” said Yonty Friesem, associate professor and graduate program director of Civic Media and Strategic Communications at Columbia College Chicago.

The Illinois Media Literacy Coalition is also hosting a challenge for all Illinois high school students to earn scholarship money and cash awards during Media Literacy Week, October 25 through October 30.

Students could win awards including $2,600 in renewable scholarship money from Columbia College Chicago or $250, $100 or $50 in cash awards donated by Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University.

To participate, high school students need to create a TikTok video that depicts their media usage throughout their day and reflects on at least one of the five media literacy practices found on ILMLC.org. The deadline to submit a video is Friday, October 29. More details can be found on ILMLC.org.

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