MediaSmarts enables slacking, and I mean that in the best possible way. What I mean is this: it has such a wide range of topics, grade and age specific information, and resources for parents and teachers that it immensely reduced the amount of preparation time needed before approaching a subject with their students or children. From their main website you have instant access to a Digital and Media Literacy tab that drops down into a multitude of subject areas with information on many of the prevalent issues within digital media and how kids are using it. Not only that, but under each individual topic it has resources for parents and resources for teachers to access about how to address these issues. If that is not enough, there is then a page for the MediaSmarts research projects, informing readers about the studies done and being done, as well as a blog page that also covers many different categories and topics. Finally, the most useful tools I found were under the teacher resources tab being:
1. Find Lessons and Resources – This page include a variety of teacher resources that can be accessed by grade level, resource, topic, or media type. There are over 50 topics to choose from folks. 50. That is an insane number of lesson plans and ideas that is all right there waiting to be accessed by the lesson plan version of ‘writer’s blocked’ teacher. I realize there is obviously not every topic for every grade, but there is bound to be some information somewhere to nudge you on your way.
2. Class Tutorials and PD Workshops – Now these resources are licensed, however in my ECMP 355 class we were given access to the MyWorld resource. This would be an amazing tool in any classroom and I would highly suggest looking through the overview of it and considering using it. It approaches digital citizenship from such a realistic and understandable way, while teacher the kids how to appropriately reply to questionable situations they will inevitably encounter on the internet. It includes mock social media, instant messaging, video calls, search engines, and library resources for them to access in response to a given situation, while being prompt what is the proper way to accept, research, and reject information they encounter.
Basically what I am getting at through all of this is that MediaSmarts is a potentially invaluable resource that could save time and frustration in trying to figure out ways to approach what can be very difficult topics with your students and children, without scaring them or boring them to death.