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MediaEd Forum

MediaEd Forum

Inside the Classroom: A Forum for Dialogue and Discussion

In this strand we will delve deep into the dynamic landscape of Media Literacy. In this comprehensive exploration, we will examine into classroom practices, policy, and research that collectively shape the trajectory of media literacy education. Embark on a rich journey within our conference strand, where elementary students, teachers, and administrators share their triumphs in seamlessly integrating Media Literacy across the curriculum.

Session 1: Kids Learning Media in Elementary School Friday, January 12, 12pm EST | 5pm GMT | 10:30pm IST‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč.

Session 2: Media Literacy and Education Policy Friday, January 12, 2pm EST | 7pm GMT | 12:30am IST‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč (Sat 01.13).

Session 3: Media Literacy in Palestine Now & Then Saturday, January 13, 7am EST | 12pm GMT | 5:30pm IST‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč.

Session 4: Media Literacy in Time of War Saturday, January 13, 8am EST | 1pm GMT | 6:30pm IST‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč.

Session 5: Strategies for Implementing Media Literacy Education Saturday, January 13, 9am EST | 2pm GMT | 7:30pm IST‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč.

Session 6: Applying the Media Literacy Index Saturday, January 13, 10am EST | 3pm GMT | 8:30pm IST‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč.

View a detailed conference schedule


Strand Facilitator: Cathy Reznicek  

Catharine Reznicek currently works in both K-12 and Higher Education settings. She is the Director of Education Technology for the Ventura County Office of Education where she works with educators and administrators on technology integration including media literacy. She is also a lecturer at California State University at Channel Islands where she teaches Media Literacy and Youth Culture and Computer Literacy for Educators. Both courses address numerous topics of media literacy education and its place in our lives. 


Session 1: Kids Learning Media in Elementary School 

Friday, January 12, 12pm EST | 5pm GMT | 10:30pm IST‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč.¬†

Embark on a journey with an elementary school community as they unveil the transformative impact of Media Literacy Education (MLE) in the curriculum. Students, teachers, and administrators come together to share their experiences and insights into the integration of media literacy across subjects, nurturing critical thinking skills and digital citizenship in young learners.

This session provides an opportunity for elementary school students together with their teachers and administrators to discuss how they have been able to implement media literacy education in their school/district. What support has been provided that helps make the program successful? What more can we be doing to support media literacy education to reach a wider audience?

William Yang

William Yang has been an educator for over twenty-five years as a classroom teacher, technology teacher, staff developer, and administrator in urban and suburban public schools. William is currently serving as the K-12 Coordinator of Digital Learning and Literacy for the Scarsdale Public Schools in New York.


Paul Tomizawa

Paul Tomizawa has taught in public elementary schools in New York for over 25 years. His sweet spot for teaching includes digital storytelling, media literacy, and building online communities with children. He has presented his instructional strategies and classroom experiences at regional and national conferences for teachers throughout the United States and most recently in Spain. He has served as a faculty member of the Summer Institute in Digital Literacy at the University of Rhode Island. As a former journalist with NBC News, he has an affection for helping students find their creative voice through multimodal storytelling experiences. He is currently involved in an initiative to develop Media Literacy education in the Scarsdale Public Schools.

Susan Luft

Susan Luft brings over 25 years of valuable experience to her role as an educator. In her position as the Elementary ELA Coordinator for Scarsdale Public Schools, she channels her innovative instructional approach toward fostering collaboration and dialogic learning. Susan is deeply committed to advancing student literacy development by integrating both traditional and contemporary skills. Notably, she has played a pivotal role in conducting numerous teacher training courses through the Scarsdale Teachers Institute. Additionally, Susan has shared her expertise by leading workshops and graduate courses as an adjunct professor and GSE presenter at Fordham University. She earned her Ph.D. from Fordham University, with a research focus on student development in Digital Literacies and Internet Communication Technologies, exploring their potential as valuable resources for communication, inquiry, learning, and problem-solving.


Shoshana Cooper has been a public school teacher for over 25 years. The last 20 years have been spent teaching fourth grade in the Scarsdale Public Schools. She has a keen interest in the teaching of mathematics and in the teaching of digital literacy in the upper elementary grades.



Session 2: Media Literacy and Education Policy

Friday, January¬†12, 2pm EST | 7pm GMT | 12:30am IST‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč (Sat 01.13).¬†

Join us for a comprehensive exploration of the current state of Media Literacy Education (MLE) policy in the United States. Drawing on recent surveys conducted among public school teachers, this session undertakes a meticulous analysis, unveiling the uneven landscape of media literacy implementation and the prevalent challenges hindering effective instruction in classrooms nationwide.

In unpacking the survey findings, we aim to foster a dialogue on the implications of these disparities, highlighting the critical role of education in shaping a well-informed citizenry essential for a thriving democracy. Through an in-depth examination of the current state of MLE policy, we strive to advocate for standardized media literacy policies at the state level. Our goal is to propel a cohesive and inclusive approach to media literacy education, addressing the existing gaps and ensuring a consistent, high-quality learning experience for students across the country.

By participating in this session, you'll contribute to the collective effort to shape the future of media literacy education, advocating for policies that will empower students to navigate the complex media landscape and become informed, responsible, and critical consumers of information in the digital age.

Daniela Kruel DiGiacomo

Daniela Kruel DiGiacomo is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky. With a background in teaching and social work, DiGiacomo’s program of research focuses on how to design formal and informal learning settings in ways that support and extend young people’s lived experiences, interests, and expertise.



Alice Huguet

Alice Huguet (she/her) is an education policy researcher and co-director for RAND's Center for Qualitative and Mixed Methods. Her research focuses on policies and programs that may influence historically underserved students’ academic and life opportunities. Huguet's research covers topics such as media literacy, social and emotional learning, and educational leadership.



Session 3: Media Literacy in Palestine Now & Then 

Saturday, January 13, 7am EST | 12pm GMT | 5:30pm IST‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč.¬†

In this session we will learn what media literacy education for adults is in Palestine and how the Gaza war has affected the training. The Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation, Kvs has run media literacy projects in Palestine since 2015. Their media literacy program supports the building of Palestinian civil society by strengthening media literacy and its teaching by training trainers and producing teaching materials. In the courses organized across the West Bank and in Gaza over 500 media students, journalists and community leaders have been trained on topics such as fact-checking, the ethics of journalism, social media and online safety. Finnish media professionals and students have worked as volunteer trainers alongside the local trainers trained during the projects. The courses have been run live and through distance learning. The local partner universities are Media Development Center from the University of Birzeit and the Institute for Community Partnership from the University of Bethlehem. In the session, Project manager Anne Tastula from Kvs will be joined by her local colleagues from Palestine.

Anne Tastula

Anne Tastula works as a journalist and as a trainer of media literacy and science popularization. Since 2016 she has worked with a project which brings media literacy (teacher) education to Palestine.    

Some open source material produced in the programme include Media Guide, Trainers‚Äô Guide, and MIL Course Curriculum. All can be found in English and Arabic at (link: Media guide ‚Äď practice and ethics of journalism for Adults).


Session 4: Media Literacy in Time of War 

Saturday, January 13, 8am EST | 1pm GMT | 6:30pm IST‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč.¬†

This dialogue session will be between Dr. Keren Ketko Ayali, Dr. Anna Kozlowska-Barros and Deputy director, Lusine Grigoryan aims to bring attention to ways media literacy practices can help to understand and take action on political/military conflicts. Through a valuable lens of analyzing media, reflecting on its impact and taking action, the three panelists will demonstrate best practice of media literacy in times of war. 

Keren Ketko Ayali will demonstrate how Israeli media educators taught a unit on misinformation and disinformation during the Gaza-Israel war. BY applying critical analysis with reflection and fact-checking practices, high school students were able to identify, evaluate and reflect on various media messages and propaganda during the war. With multiple perspectives and agendas, various forces have pressure within and from outside the educational system. Having a media literacy unit during a time of conflict helps students to be critical even when they are surrounded by messages from these forces. 

Kozlowska-Barros and Grigoryan will showcase how to decode media messages, promotes understanding of the context and motive in which the information was produced, encourages self-reflection on how media messages impact our emotions, and, above all, leads us to rethink our position as to whether as a participant or observer, we can contribute to building healthy media landscapes that value thorough journalism, responsible use of information, and inclusion of voices and perspective of those who have been traditionally marginalized. 

The panel focuses primarily on work with high school students and undergraduate students on sharing their feelings, evaluating disinformation and propaganda during conflict and plans for action to encourage media literacy practitioners and their students to speak openly about the conflict and the geographical disparity in news coverage of conflicts.


Keren Ketko AyaliDr. Keren Ketko Ayali is a media literacy didactics lecturer at Oranim Academic College, training students to become teachers. Additionally, Dr. Ketko Ayali researches activist pedagogy to promote active civic education, connecting these issues through media literacy. She authors a blog that endorses solidarity between Jews and Arabs in Israel, as a means to further peace journalism, and has published articles on models for assimilating activist pedagogy into media studies in Israel. Dr. Ketko Ayali also investigated media teachers’ knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes regarding an activist pedagogical approach. She holds a Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism from Hebrew University, as well as a PhD in Educational Sciences from BBU University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.


Anna Kozlowska-Barrios

Dr. Anna Kozlowska-Barrios, MLIS, MA ‚ÄĒ is an Assistant Professor, Reference and Liaison Librarian, and Honors College Instructor and Fellow at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She has published articles and presented on information and media literacy and is active on many national and international committees. Her research interest is on participatory politics and media and information literacy (MIL) education for college students coming from an immigrant background. Her other research interests include international librarianship and library services for immigrants, refugees, and displaced persons. Kozlowska-Barrios is active with UNESCO¬† as an elected MIL Alliance Representative for North America and Europe.¬†


Lusine Grigoryan

Lusine Grigoryan currently works at Internews as the Deputy Chief of Party of the Media Program in Armenia project.In her previous as the Head of Media Literacy Projects at the Media Initiatives Center, Ms. Grigoryan has designed and overseen numerous media literacy projects in Armenia; developed media literacy policies, curricula, and learning tools, trained young people and educators and for this work her team received UNESCO GAPMIL prize in 2017. 

She has been teaching at academia and has published articles about media literacy education and policies. Ms. Grigoryan holds a Master of Science degree in Digital Anthropology from University College London as well as both a Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Yerevan State University. She is a member of UNESCO MIL Alliance Disinformation working group. 


Session 5: Strategies for Implementing Media Literacy Education

Saturday, January¬†13, 9am EST | 2pm GMT | 7:30pm IST‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč.¬†

In this dialogue between Dr. Devina Sarwatay and Dr. David Gracon, participants will hear about two strategies to implement critical media literacy in the classroom.

Sarwatay’s presentation on her empirical work with teachers, administrators, and counselors explore how they deal with students’ social media lives and the digital everyday. Broadly, they talk about the importance of a holistic learning environment, gaps in knowledge and resources, and the need for digital and media literacy.

Gracon’s presentation is an overview of the practice of culture jamming mass media/popular culture images into more critical and informed counter messages. This simple, yet impactful classroom project has been very successful over the years in university classrooms as students enjoy the active creative practice of making media as a form of criticism.

As part of the dialogical process, participants will be able to ask questions and share their work to offer insights into practices of critical media literacy  across educational settings. 

Devina Sarwatay,Devina Sarwatay, PhD, researches young people’s digital cultures. She is a Presidential Fellow at City, University of London. Her PhD, supervised by Prof. Usha Raman, University of Hyderabad, was awarded in 2023. She is part of the leadership at ICA, IAMCR, and the Media Education
Lab, and also associated with  FemLab working on Digital Creativity, Gen Z, and Generative AI in the Global South. Her latest (award-winning) work is published in Information, Communication & Society (won the CAM Best Published Article Award 2023), Media International Australia, Frontiers in Human Dynamics, Journal of Communication, and Routledge and Wiley-Blackwell Handbooks.

David GraconDavid Gracon, PhD is a U.S. Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor of media studies at Transilvania University of Brasov in Romania with a project focused on critical media literacy education. His research/creative and teaching interests include critical media literacy, the political economy of media, alternative media and documentary film. He was previously a Fulbright Scholar in Ukraine (2017-2018) and served as a faculty member at Eastern Illinois University and Gonzaga University.


Session 6: Applying the Media Literacy Index

Saturday, January¬†13, 10am EST | 3pm GMT | 8:30pm IST‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč.¬†¬†

Policymakers and educators need the Media Literacy Index (MLI) because it provides them with a valuable tool for assessing and tracking media literacy skills in their communities. The MLI is a comprehensive measure of media literacy that includes a variety of indicators, such as access to media, media education, and media engagement. This information can be used to identify areas of strength and weakness in media literacy education, and to develop targeted interventions to improve media literacy skills.

Erin McNeill, founder of Media Literacy Now and an expert on media literacy policy, will facilitate this session on the Media Literacy Index as a valuable tool for assessing media literacy skills of a community. 

Next, Pam Steager, the Director of Media Engagement for COURAGEOUS RI, will speak about the importance of developing the Media Literacy Index to inform stakeholders in Rhode Island.She will share the findings and the impact the publication of the index had made. 

Jean LaBelle-Pierce, a librarian at Maynard High School will showcase the challenges of teaching media literacy in schools and the need for an index. She will highlight how the Media Literacy Index can help foster collaboration between librarians, teachers, and parents. She will introduce the initiative form her students, Gracie Gilligan who implemented the Index with her peers. 

Gracie Gilligan, a high school student will discuss how she used the Media Literacy Index to evaluate her peers' media literacy skills. She will share her findings, which showed that many students are not able to identify or evaluate misinformation. 

The Media Literacy Index is an important tool for assessing the media literacy skills of a community. It is also a valuable resource for educators and parents who want to teach young people how to be critical consumers of information. By learning how to identify and evaluate methods of media education, young people can help to create a more informed and engaged citizenry.

Erin McNeill 

Erin McNeill is founder and CEO of Media Literacy Now, a 10-year-old national education policy initiative. She is leading a movement to create a public education system that ensures all students learn the 21st century literacy and survival skills they need for health, well-being, economic participation, and citizenship. Media Literacy Now has provided guidance and resources to advocates in more than two dozen states who have educated hundreds of legislators and education policymakers, and helped enact 19 laws in 10 states and state appropriations of more than $2 million in funding for professional development and program grants. Her inspiration was her two children, now grown.

Erin’s background is in journalism. Previously in her career she wrote on a wide range of topics from pandemics, disasters, and local politics in San Francisco; to environmental and economic policy at Congressional Quarterly in Washington D.C. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and a former US Army reservist.

Pam Steager is the Director of Community Engagement for COURAGEOUS RI, a Media Education Lab initiative that brings people together for interactive information and conversation to counter disinformation, enhance civic participation, and improve media literacy for students, educators, and the general public. Pam’s forty-year career in the prevention, education, and human service fields included directing substance abuse and violence prevention programs in school systems, communities, and prisons, which led to her interest in media literacy. After completing the Media Literacy Felton Scholars program with Dr. Renee Hobbs in 1999, she directed the Media SmART! Project in the Providence Public Schools, a federally-funded initiative, which brought media literacy and media production education to educators, parents and students. She creates curriculum and presents workshops and keynote addresses at conferences and institutes, and has trained more than 5,000 educators, librarians and journalists nationally and internationally. Also a media creator. Pam authored a newspaper column for 15 years, produced videos and community access television, performed as an actress, storyteller, and stand-up comedian, and contributes to blogs and podcasts. With co-authors Renee Hobbs and Liz Deslauriers, she wrote The Library Screen Scene, a book on film and media programs in school and public libraries, published by Oxford University Press in 2019.

Jean LaBelle-Pierce Jean has been a teacher for 30 years. In that time, she has taught a variety of social studies subjects, including Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics, United States History, and Economics. She currently runs the Senior Project Capstone program at Maynard High School. Jean is also the librarian at Maynard High School. She served as an elected School Committee member for eight years in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. In all these roles, Jean has been dedicated to teaching students about personal agency and responsibility to self and society. Her most recent project is a collaboration with a student to measure and develop media literacy in the Maynard, Massachusetts, school district.


Gracie GilliganGracie Gilligan is a second year student at American University studying political science and music. In spring of 2022 as part of a high school senior project, she worked with Media Literacy Now and Professor Renee Hobbs at the University of Rhode Island to adapt a survey that Professor Hobbs had created to measure the levels of media literacy being taught in schools. The original survey was intended for parents of students, while the adapted survey was intended to be administered to students themselves. This adapted survey was taken by over 500 students in Maynard Public Schools from grades 4-12, and results have been used in order to reassess media literacy education in the school system. These results were also featured in a New York Times article by Tiffany Hsu regarding the importance of media literacy in fighting online misinformation.