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Media Literacy Resources for Secondary Educators

The rapid explosion of electronic tools to broadcast information, market ideas and products, track, interact and partner with strangers, encourage mass sharing of personal information and pictures, and allow anonymous, yet intimate involvement in the lives of others, requires youth to develop skills and tools that have evolved to include both media and digital literacy.

In Simcoe Muskoka, of students in Grades 11 and 12, more than half report spending three or more hours watching TV/movies, playing video/computer games, chatting on a computer/tablet chatting, emailing, or surfing the Internet in their free time. Students using high levels of social media also report significantly higher rates of fair/poor mental health, psycholog­ical distress, suicidal ideation, and being cyber-bul­lied. In Simcoe Muskoka, 22% (19%-26%) of students report being bullied electronically or on the internet in the past year. Significantly more females report being high social media users than males (OSDUHS, 2015).

MediaSmarts, a Canadian non-profit organization for digital and media literacy describes the competencies for digital literacy and media literacy as complementary and mutually supporting and constantly evolving and intersecting in new and interesting way. It defines the supporting role each plays as “media literacy generally focuses on teaching youth to be critically engaged consumers of media, while digital literacy is more about enabling youth to participate in digital media in wise, safe and ethical ways."

The links below offer detailed information, lesson plans and classroom resources to support media and digital literacy to develop critical thinking skills and informed, engaged, resilient youth.
  • MediaSmarts – This website offers a variety of free teacher resources, including backgrounders, lesson plans, tip sheets, games and other classroom tools. Topics include: Cyberbullying and the law, excessive internet use, internet and mobile, gender representation, digital health and more. Curricular outcome charts have been included to support educators in linking these resources to Ontario curriculum expectations. MediaSmarts is also a great resource for parents.
  • Edutopia is a teacher-oriented web resource with articles, videos, curriculum, and other resources on internet safety, cyberbullying, digital responsibility, empathy, and media and digital literacy. It is also an interactive community for teachers to discuss ideas and share information.
  • Common Sense Media has a comprehensive teacher resource section with curriculum, apps, games, and websites to teach digital literacy and citizenship in the classroom, and to reach out to parents.
  • is a Canadian site that provides you with guidance on steps you can take to get through if you (or a friend, peer or sibling) have been involved in a self/peer exploitation incident (otherwise known as “sexting”). NeedHelpNow is an initiative of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection Inc., a charitable organization dedicated to the personal safety of all children.
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