Media literacy

Wisconsin educators strive for PBS certification in media education


October 26, 2020 Jessie nixon

According to Common sense media, teens were spending an average of nine hours a day online even before COVID and the start of our mostly virtual world. Even as adults, our time online has increased dramatically over the past few months. No wonder I get daily emails offering discounts on blue light filtering glasses.

As much as we want to get away from our screens, we know we thrive online as well. We have access to information from around the world at our fingertips and can find out anything we want to know. Will blue lenses really reduce eye strain? Do I just need more sleep? Whatever I want to know, I can find someone who wants to answer me.

Therein lies the enigma. How do we know the information we find online is accurate and honest? How do we know if the words coming from a talking head on our screens are their words and not some deep fake video used to spread disinformation?

These questions are the driving force behind a national movement towards improving media literacy, which the National Association for Media Literacy (NAMLE) defines as the ability to access, analyze, assess, create and act using all forms of communication. Media literacy is an increasingly important tool for our young people and it will take work for all of us to improve the media literacy skills of our students.

Media Literacy Week

From October 26 to 30, people from across the country will participate in Media Literacy Week, hosted by NAMLE. By attending virtual presentations from academics like Renee Hobbs who will talk about her book, Mind Over Media: Propaganda Education in the Digital Age To hear young people talk about the importance of civic engagement in the digital age With PBS Newshour Student Reporting Labs, NAMLE offers educators, students and researchers the opportunity to unite for this important cause.

Yet the importance of media literacy doesn’t start and end in a week. As citizens bombarded with often contradicting news sources, fake news, and a world of websites that claim to be legitimate, we need to think about media literacy every day.

Wisconsin educators work towards media education certification

In Wisconsin, there is a cohort of educators who do just that. In September 2020, 13 teachers and library media specialists embarked on the journey to become PBS Media Literacy Certified with support from PBS Wisconsin Education. KQED’s PBS Media Literacy Educator certification, which received the 2019 Excellence Award from Technology and learning magazine and was a finalist of the EdTech Awards 2020 in the Badging & Credentialing category, recognizes PreK-12 educators who demonstrate their ability to teach students to think critically about media consumption and creation.

The Educator Cohort is passionate about making media literacy a priority in their classrooms and schools, and were selected from a statewide call for applications .

Gwen Fiecko, a teacher at Lincoln High School in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, explained the importance of becoming certified, saying: “Now, more than ever, we need citizens who can read, dissect and understand how and why the media shape and control our opinions. . I want to cultivate new media education knowledge and skills so that I can have a more effective impact on student learning both in my digital communication classes and in my English classes.

Likewise, Moon Villalobos, a teacher at Metcalfe School in Milwaukee, explained why he wanted to become PBS Media Literacy Certified. “I think future adults need to know the power of media literacy. I would like to show students, staff and the community that we never stop getting better. It is vital to improve my skills as a leader to help the community to think critically about the use of media ”.

Gwen and Moon, along with eleven other Wisconsin educators, will work for eight months to earn eight diplomas demonstrating their expertise in teaching K-12 students to think critically about their role as teachers. consumers and media creators. The degrees, which require educators to submit lesson plans and reflections on their learning, cover eight topics related to media literacy, such as the ability to critically appraise online sources and media, create a code of conduct for students to follow when online; and audio and video materials for use in their classroom.

Each month, the cohort of educators and staff at PBS Wisconsin Education will come together virtually to hear from Wisconsin media literacy experts, share their experiences in the classroom, and work collaboratively throughout the process. certification. In October, cohort members will submit their first degree, creating a code of conduct for student use of online resources to create a positive school climate and support responsible use of technology.

Please join me in celebrating the efforts and passion of the first cohort of educators in Wisconsin working towards the PBS Media Literacy certification:

Lisa Biber, High Marq Environmental Charter School, Montello School District

Peg Billing, Lakeland Union High School, Lakeland Union High School District

Melanie Curti, Shawano Community Middle School, Shawano School District

Gwen Fiecko, Lincoln High School, Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools

Gina Follstad, Maryland Avenue Montessori School, Milwaukee Public Schools

Jaclyn Jecha, New Berlin West Middle and High School, New Berlin School District

Rose Helm, Plover-Whiting and Kennedy Elementary School, Stevens Point Area Public School District

Marie Maderich, CESA 12

Kris McCoy, Mineral Point Middle and High School, Mineral Point Unified School District

Tammy McVeigh, Lincoln High School, Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools

Kristin Staver, Mineral Point High School, Mineral Point Unified School District

April Vach, Lincoln High School, Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools

Moon Villalobos, Metcalfe School, Milwaukee Public Schools

The responsibilities of the educator increase daily and it takes extreme dedication and passion to add even more to an already overflowing plate. Thank you to the educators of the PBS Wisconsin Media Literacy Cohort for all you do for our students!

If you would like to learn more about the PBS Media Literacy certification or view media created and produced by Wisconsin Youth, visit our Click Youth Media website at

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