As social media and digital technology integration continue to surge, teaching media fluency is crucial to prepare students to succeed in this new and evolving learning environment. The Internet and social media provide students access to immense amounts of information, however, not all the available resources are reliable or even valid. Students must be taught the skills they need to navigate today’s multimedia (Kahne & Bowyer, 2022).
Educators teaching media fluency education help students develop critical thinking skills to recognize basic messages and misinformation. This protects them against media influencing their behaviors unknowingly. Media fluency leads to more mindful usage that allows students to filter information in a way that positively guides their viewpoints (Literat & Kligler-Vilenchik, 2021). As new technologies emerge yearly, teachers must evolve their lesson plans to keep current and help students evaluate digital resources online, including social media (Vraga & Tully, 2020).
Educators play a vital role in promoting media fluency and good digital citizenship with students. This requires integrating media fluency across the curriculum and is not reserved for a single computer class or digital media course. Educators need to create interactive learning activities that allow students opportunities to make decisions about the variety of multimedia they are bombarded with daily (Breakstone et al., 2021). When students have achieved the skills to appropriately choose what and how media information affects them, teachers have fulfilled an ethical obligation of media fluency in preparing students for active engagement in a digital world.
Breakstone, J., Smith, M., Wineburg, S., Rapaport, A., Carle, J., Garland, M., & Saavedra, A. (2021). Students’ civic online reasoning: A national portrait. Educational Researcher (Washington, D.C.: 1972), 50(8), 505–515. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189×211017495
Kahne, J., & Bowyer, B. (2019). Can media literacy education increase digital engagement in politics? Learning, Media and Technology, 44(2), 211–224. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2019.1601108
Literat, I., & Kligler-Vilenchik, N. (2019). Youth collective political expression on social media: The role of affordances and memetic dimensions for voicing political views. New Media & Society, 21(9), 1988–2009. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444819837571
Mihailidis, P. (2018). Civic media literacies: Re-imagining human connection in an age of digital abundance. Routledge.
Vraga, E. K., & Tully, M. (2021). News literacy, social media behaviors, and skepticism toward information on social media. Information, Communication and Society, 24(2), 150–166. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118x.2019.1637445