14 Jun

When I first logged on to Twitter in 2008, I thought it might be a fun way to connect with other parents. I never dreamed that I would get as much out of it as I did. A few months ago, I began anew with Twitter, this time in a professional capacity. Once more, I was amazed at the connections and resources that I have made and discovered with this useful service. I began participating in #Edchat. If you haven't yet heard about it, and you are involved in education, check it out. It is an overwhelmingly large conversation about education. Each week, a poll determines the topic to be discussed, voted on by participants. The sheer volume of tweets every Tuesday from 12-1pm EST and 7-8pm EST is mind-boggling. More than that, I find it inspiring to see a new venue for passionate discussion of our shared profession. Twitter has allowed teachers to reach out beyond their departments and schools, to expand their professional networks across the globe.

I spend a great deal of time thinking about my professional practice and ways to improve my teaching and facilitate student learning. I love thinking about new ideas, lessons and ways to inspire my students. Finding so many like-minded people in one place, yet from so many different and diverse locations, and being able to talk to them, to share ideas, has been transformative.

As I scanned through the extensive list of educational chats and hashtags on Cybraryman and more general chats on TwChat, I noticed that there is no dedicated chat and hashtag for Media Studies (as it is known in Ontario, also Media Literacy, Media Education). I spoke with a colleague and very dear friend of mine, Ms. Keats, and we decided that it was time to start one. We're new at this, but enthusiastic. I had the great privilege of speaking with Tom Whitby (to get a primer on how to participate in an #Edchat, see his excellent post here). He gave me some excellent advice, and Ms. Keats and I are in the process of setting this project in motion. We hope you will join us in our chat as soon as it is launched.

The great part about hashtags on Twitter is that you do not have to wait for the chat to begin conversation. Starting today, any time we find anything related to Media Studies (resources to use in the classroom, interesting topics for educators or students), we will use the hashtag #K12Media and post it on Twitter. In Ontario, Media Studies is cross-curricular, yet many educators are uncomfortable incorporating Media Studies into their classrooms. We hope that by sharing ideas, resources and success stories, by starting a conversation, that more educators will feel comfortable incorporating this important framework to help students become media literate.

Media Literacy is important. We live in a mediated world. Most of the spaces we encounter, right down to our classrooms are media texts and it is important to know how to read them. We firmly believe that by teaching Media Studies, we are encouraging students to enhance their appreciation of the beauty and aesthetic value of the media texts they encounter. At the same time, we are teaching them to think critically about those media texts.

We would love to hear more about what is being done in classrooms in our cities, country and around the world. Just add the #K12Media hashtag to any tweets you send and join the conversation! Look for more updates coming soon.

Some resources on this site:

8 Key Concepts of Media Literacy

Media Triangle

Kindergarten Triangled Questions

Around the Web:

Association for Media Literacy

Media Awareness Network

Cybraryman's Media Literacy Page

Image by: Chinen Keiya