In July 2020, the stories leading our news cycle have immediate impacts on public health, social dynamics, and the state of democracy in the face of an upcoming US election. The ways in which information on these topics has been disseminated shows how easily false and misleading coverage can spread online, making it difficult to prioritize safety and accuracy. The current highly charged social atmosphere has exemplified why it is so vital to combat the spread of misinformation, especially when it comes to our youngest tech-savvy citizens. Some schools have begun to teach digital literacy as part of an academic curriculum, encouraging students to think more critically about the media they consume.
This FOSI Briefs the Hill event explored how media literacy is currently taught, what improvements are needed, as well as international approaches and roles of parents, governments and non-profits. Experts on this panel discussed the need to develop positive online habits, and how to teach digital citizenship and media literacy to the next generation.
Featured speakers included:
- Tessa Jolls, Center for Media Literacy, Moderator
- Matthew Johnson, MediaSmarts
- Lindsey Kerr, U.S. Senate Committee on Rules & Administration
- Sonia Livingstone, London School of Economics
- Dewayne McClary, Digital Promise
Senate Rules Committee Minority
Lindsey Kerr serves as the Democratic Staff Director and Chief Counsel on the Senate Rules Committee under Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar. Lindsey works on a broad portfolio of issues relating to campaign finance, election law, and national security. Prior to her current role, Lindsey served as National Security Advisor to Senator Klobuchar and Senior Counsel to Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN). Lindsey came to Capitol Hill as a PhD candidate studying law and politics with the American Political Science Association’s Doctoral Fellowship Program. She graduated from Georgia State University and received a master’s in comparative politics, as well as a JD from the Georgia State University College of Law.
London School of Economics
Sonia Livingstone DPhil (Oxon), OBE, FBA, FBPS, FAcSS, FRSA, is a professor in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Taking a comparative, critical and contextualised approach, her research examines how the changing conditions of mediation are reshaping everyday practices and possibilities for action. Much of Sonia’s time these days is concerned with Children’s Rights in the Digital Age. Sonia has published 20 books on media audiences, especially children and young people’s risks and opportunities, media literacy and rights in the digital environment. Her new book is “Parenting for a Digital Future: How hopes and fears about technology shape children's lives" (Oxford University Press, with Alicia Blum-Ross). She has advised the UK government, European Commission, European Parliament, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, OECD, ITU and UNICEF, among others, on children’s internet safety and rights in the digital environment. Sonia served as chair of the LSE’s Truth, Trust and Technology Commission, Special Advisor to the House of Lords’ Select Committee on Communications, Expert Advisor to the Council of Europe, President of the International Communication Association, and Executive Board member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety.
Director of Education
Matthew Johnson is the Director of Education for MediaSmarts, Canada’s center for digital and media literacy. He is the author of many of MediaSmarts’ lessons, parent materials and interactive resources and a lead on MediaSmarts’ Young Canadians in a Wired World research project. As an acknowledged expert in digital literacy and its implementation in Canadian curricula, Matthew is the architect of MediaSmarts’ Use, Understand, Create: Digital Literacy Framework for Canadian K-12 Schools. He has contributed blogs and articles to websites and magazines around the world as well as presenting MediaSmarts’ materials on topics such as copyright, cyberbullying, body image and online hate to parliamentary committees, academic conferences and governments and organizations around the world, frequently as a keynote speaker. He has served as on expert panels convened by the Canadian Pediatric Society, the Ontario Network of Child and Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatric Services and others, consulted on provincial curriculum for the Ontario Ministry of Education, and been interviewed by outlets such as The Globe and Mail, BBC News Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Radio Canada International and CBC’s The National.
Director, League of Innovative Schools
Dewayne comes to Digital Promise most recently as Director of Educational Technology and Library Programs at D.C. Public Schools, where he supervised DCPS’s 1:1 pilot and roll-out and other innovation initiatives. He has broad and deep experience as a teacher and district leader. He has worked in rural South Carolina, the suburbs of Virginia, and at an urban D.C. school district. Dewayne is a visionary and strategic leader, an extraordinary relationship builder, and a highly energetic, adept communicator. In his role as Director of the League of Innovative Schools, he will lead efforts to increase engagement and impact for the network. Dewayne earned a BS in Political Science from Francis Marion University, an Executive Master’s in Leadership from Georgetown University, and is pursuing a Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction from Liberty University.
President and CEO
Center for Media Literacy
Tessa Jolls is President and CEO of the Center for Media Literacy, a position she has held since 1999. She also founded the Consortium for Media Literacy, a nonprofit which provides research and a quarterly leadership publication. Jolls was awarded the 2020 NATO Fulbright Research Award in Brussels, as well as Visiting Scholar positions at American University/Brussels, UCLouvain, and the University of Latvia Faculty of Social Sciences. She also served as a 2019 Fulbright Specialist for a two-week assignment in Bulgaria.
In 2015, Jolls received the Global Media and Information Literacy Award, in recognition of her work in Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue, from the UNESCO-initiated GAPMIL, in cooperation with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC). In 2014, Jolls was honored with the International Media Literacy Award by Gateway Media Literacy Partners; in 2013, she was recognized with the Jesse McCanse Award for Individual Contribution to Media Literacy by the National Telemedia Council. She was invited to attend the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Education, WICT Senior Executive Summit in March, 2018.