10 Ideas to Integrate Technology into a Media Literacy Unit


Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/

Our Grades 4 and 5 classes are about to work on a media unit as part of a How We Express Ourselves PYP unit. As part of my role as technology coordinator, I have been working with the teachers to integrate technology into the Units of Inquiry. We’ve just started planning this unit but I can’t go to the planning meeting this week, so I decided to create some brief notes for the teachers. I’m sharing it here to give you ideas, and also for feedback, suggestions. I know that there are many more web2.0 resources that we can use. One of my challenges is finding websites that allows users who are under the age of 13. I look forward to reading your suggestions in the comments.

There are a number of activities that teachers and students can do that integrates technology in the study of media. In an elementary classroom, you can have students use technology to do the following things:

  • Create a poster advertisement in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, or Google Docs.
  • Create a presentation to analyze an advertisement (newspaper, magazine, radio, television or web).
  • Complete a webquest to learn about ads. Create the webquest from scratch, find one online, or modify one such as http://ideas.wisconsin.edu/ad101/
  • Search for images of poster ads using http://search.creativecommons.org and create an ad collage, in general or by theme
  • Analyze the presentation of online material, such as news, and compare/contrast them e.g. what are the similarities and differences between online news/magazine sites and is it possible to classify the type of news/magazine from the site layout?
  • Create a collaborative timeline of media types e.g. using http://xtimeline.com or Voicethread.
  • Use a voice recorder to interview parents about the type of media that they used as a child. You may want to focus on media for entertainment communication, etc. Students can then write a parallel description of media in their time. Students can create a poster, chart, diagram, glog etc. to illustrate the similarities and differences.
  • Create a Did You Know presentation that relates to media in Japan (or elsewhere), relating the range of media and/or the reach of media over time.
  • Create a news report on the media, treating media as a criminal or a good Samaritan, or another character that allows them to present the characteristics of media
  • Create a dialogue of a conversation between two types of media as a means of comparing/contrasting them. This dialogue can be transferred into a skit, animation, comic, etc.


  • http://www.uen.org/Lessonplan/preview.cgi?LPid=247


  • (Grades 3 – 6) Online game to help students understand and decode ads – http://www.admongo.gov/
  • (Grades 3 – 5) PBS site to help children evaluate and analyze the media messages that they see/hear
  • Media Literacy Clearinghouse – http://www.frankwbaker.com/default1.htm
  • News and Newspapers Online – http://library.uncg.edu/news/
  • Educational Games and Lessons for Media Literacy – http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/teachers/education_resources/index.cfm
  • Common Sense Media http://commonsensemedia.org
  • Use map signs and symbols to explore an island – http://www.mywonderfulworld.org/toolsforadventure/games/adventure.html

Technology Tools

  • Voicethread – http://nagoyais.ed.voicethread.com
  • Digital voice recorder
  • Computer with Internet
  • Video camera
  • http://xtimeline.com – Teacher has to make the account since terms of use specifies that only users over 13 years old are allowed
  • http://edu.glogster.com
  • Powerpoint, iMovie, Windows MovieMaker, MS Photostory
  • http://goanimate4schools.com
  • http://bitstripsforschools.com

Technology Integration Matrix 2.0

Technology Integration Matrix 2.0

Technology Integration Matrix 2.0

I started using the Florida Center for Instructional Technology’s Integration Matrix a few years back. The levels of entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion, transformation coincide with levels reported by researchers although the names may differ (citation to be added) and have not been changed. The original matrix at http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/ has been revised and the new model is available at http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/tim/matrix.

The characteristics of the learning environment (active, collaborative, constructive, authentic, goal-directed) are consistent between the two matrices. The indicators have been revised to be clearer with examples for teachers to use as reference. The presentation of the information has been revamped to be more user friendly, for example, you could print out a grid with all the active indicators. Specific examples are given for math, science, language arts, and social studies amongst the 25 cells, and identify objectives, procedures, NETS alignment, and materials for a particular grade level. The new grade level and digital tools indices categorize the content for easy access and use. Overall, I think that this site is much more user friendly and more dynamic that the previous site and I look forward to sharing it with my colleagues.

Related Posts

Intel’s Journey Inside the Computer – Part 1

I’ve used Intel’s Journey Inside the Computer with various grade levels from 6 – 9. You can use the lessons to teach about how computers work. Depending on the grade, extend the concepts as appropriate.

My Favorite Activities (adapted from Intel curriculum) for Section 1: Introduction to Computers.

  1. Have students create a blog post to discuss the types of things they do with computers and how important the computer is for the completion of these tasks. Also have them consider what other devices they use on a regular basis that are similar.
  2. Have students create a drawing to represent their understanding of the inner workings of a computer when they use it.
  3. Have students use a tool like http://xtimeline.com/index.aspx (or something else of their choice) to create a timeline as they do the lessons.
  4. Have students complete two documents: An Information Processing Machine.doc and Computers.doc
  5. Have students write a blog post (feel free to use any media of your choice) explaining the difference between hardware and software. One option is to create a 30 second video.
  6. Have students create a blog post with the theme of what their life would be like if each student and teacher had a laptop.
  7. Have students choose one person in either the hardware or software field to create a first person biography using glogster. Extend the idea by having different students represent contributors/inventors from different decades.
  8. Have students design a device of the future.

Create the Future – Practical Ideas

by cindy47452, Available: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cindy47452/1021782142/

As part of the Create the Future workshop this part weekend with Julie Lindsay and Kim Cofino, participants worked in groups to develop a product of interest to them. This exercise involved the following steps:

  • think about what you want to work on during the workshop (individual)
  • find other people who share your interest (during lunch – group)
  • meet with group, solidify the idea and create a unit plan using the templates provided (group)
  • one person from each team rotates from team to team making an elevator pith of the proposal (one individual/group as presenter; other group members as audience)
  • meet with group to discuss feedback from pitches and work on final 5 minute presentation and product presentation (group)
  • presentation (as many members of the group as decided by the group)

Here are the proposals

Voice thread for children to tell their story for elementary and lower elementary, ESL

Purpose: Build home/school connections as students explore their self identity.

  • Unit of Inquiry: Who we are
  • Create a class book with each child having a chapter using images that they find. Students will record how the images represent them
  • Share with the school community and their family
  • Invite family to make commentary

Book Trailers

Purpose: Encourage reading and recommend appropriate books for children by grade level.

  • encourage reading
  • suggest good books
  • share with class, school and the world
  • collaborate with other classes

ESL education

Purpose: Provide students with translations for the Dolce sight words in their mother tongue to build vocabulary.

  • Build a website with multimedia and activities for learning English based on Dolce sight words list
  • Students and parents will create the content
  • Collaborative
  • Have all languages from the school represented
  • Project already started in English/Korean/Japanese at a school in Tokyo

Borderless Learning

Purpose: Provide a space where teachers and students can go for help with explaining/understanding classroom topics.

  • Known international school teachers join the environment and have their own blogs within it
  • Teachers and experts answer questions to students in real time and through posts on the website
  • Teachers make and share lessons and ideas with each other

Digital Portfolios

Purpose: Facilitate student learning and record both process and product in a way that is easily shared and maintained from year to year.

  • each student has a digital portfolio – format may be different for elementary, middle school and high school.
  • connect within classroom, with parents, with the world
  • start small and add classes each year
  • use for student led conferences but also for yearlong showcase to parents
  • student ownership – can be done within classes for younger students but they will need support
  • some schools use blogs; others use wikis (Mahara is an open source tool that some schools use as well.)

Rethinking Pen Pals

Purpose: To have students collaborate with each other and learn from each other.

  • use Voicethread
  • allow students to learn from each other, to collaborate, to comment, to give feedback
  • students learn digital citizenship as part of the process
  • Skills highlight: communication, research, inquiry
  • Have a feedback process so that students can improve work and re-upload

Middle School ESL

Purpose: To build school community and have collaboration between diverse populations, using the strength of each to create authentic products.

  • middle school students work with early elementary students to write books for young children
  • foster relationships by pairing younger kids with older kids
  • students communicate initially face to face and then move conversation to the wiki
  • younger children would need teacher support
  • younger children illustrate and older children write
  • choose hard copy or online copy for products
  • have book opening/signing in the library with community invited
  • have a one month intensive kickoff and then follow up throughout the school year

Parent Communication

Purpose: To flatten the classroom walls between parents, students, teachers and extended family.

  • provide tech training/support so that parents can use the tools
  • invite family participation in class activities using online tools
  • needs assessment is important
  • evaluation is important to determine effectiveness of any strategy implemented
  • Examples of parent involvement
    • comment on student work
    • respond to survey or other questionnaire electronically
    • pose questions related to various subject areas for real life learning
    • provide expertise to students through blogs, wikis, forums
    • Skype with family members of students e.g. in teaching weather and earth’s rotation
  • Models for parent tech support
    • have students show parents how to do something at home (as part of class/school expectation)
    • have parents come in to the school and have an adult lead the training
    • have parents come in to the school for training led by their child(ren)
    • have online resources available that parents can access as needed

For more information, visit the Create The Future workshop wiki.

Middle School Technology Syllabus

Free software for computer studies

I believe that computer studies at the K-12 level should have two strands – computer science and technology integration. I believe that all students should have experience in both strands. Next school year (which is fast approaching), I’ll be teaching a one quarter semester class to each middle school student (Grades 8 – 6) and a full semester course to grade 9 students. As I plan my syllabus, I’m conflicted by desire to focus on computer science concepts (programming, web design, the design cycle, networking, etc.) and my perception that my students need better skills in using word processing and other similar applications.

I don’t want to teach Microsoft Word. I find it boring and my students do too. But isn’t it important that my students know how to format a document using tab stops, indentation, paragraph spacing, etc? Do I need to explicitly construct learning scenarios so that they are forced to learn these skills or should I just teach them how to effectively search the web so that they can figure out how to do what they want to do when they need to do it? I’d prefer to do the latter but how do I go about creating that culture in my classroom?

I see many adults who are inefficient in their use of office applications. How important is efficiency? For example, I’ll spend a few minutes trying things out in an app and then search on the web if I can’t figure out how to do something. I know many other people who are the same way. But I also know some people who will wait to ask a person to solve a problem for them or who will give up or stick to inefficient methods when faced with challenging/new tasks.

What’s your philosophy of technology education? Do you explicitly teach office applications or do you just integrate when needed. How do you ensure that students develop proficiency/comfort/resourcefulness in their use of technology?

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