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Addressing Access


Addressing Access

The argument for the critical need of media literacy curricula cannot be made without acknowledging equity. Access to technological resources varies widely across districts. Students’ lack of personal access outside of school widens this digital divide. But Warshauer & Matuchniak (2010) criticize the popular term “digital divide,” saying it narrowly defines access and “overly fetishizes technical matters” (p. 181). Instead, focus should be placed on the use of such resources. Jenkins (2006) warns of the laissez faire approach of believing youth can acquire media literacy skills without adult intervention: “Closing the digital divide will depend less on technology and more on providing the skills and content that is most beneficial” (Wartella, O’Keefe, & Scantlin, 2000, in Jenkins, 2006, p. 13).


While this curriculum’s units and lessons are optimized with in-class technology, ultimately its aim is to promote introspection of technology use, not technical know-how. Regardless of access to computers, tablets and high speed Internet, students can still explore their identity, their media consumption and social empowerment through engaging classroom discussions, online or offline. Teachers are encouraged to adapt this curriculum to the needs of his or her own classroom, whether or not they feel technologically equipped to do so. The themes explored in this curriculum — identity, awareness and empowerment — can benefit all adolescents.


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