Beginning in the fall of 2022, every Illinois student will be undergoing a unit of media literacy in classrooms across the state. Civil rights attorney Maaria Mozafaar was approached by Media Literacy Now to address her concerns and organize them to be proposed to lawmakers. Media Literacy Now is a non-profit devoted to “creating a public education system that ensures all students learn the 21st-century literacy skills they need for health, well-being, economic participation and citizenship.” Illinois State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez took on the proposition that the two introduced and created House Bill 234.
A recent interview done by NPR illustrates the need for such implementation in the classroom. Peter Medling of WNIJ investigates current tactics in place that are meant to help students identify useful and truthful information. He gathers from the students that many of the methods are seen as dated, and not up to standards in today’s digital world of information overload.
For this to work, teachers also have to be media savvy. Students say they often struggle because the strategies teachers provide for evaluating sources can be outdated.https://www.npr.org/2021/08/12/1026993142/illinois-is-the-first-state-to-have-high-schools-teach-news-literacy
The reason why these implementations are so significant today is because of the role that targeted algorithms play in replacing searching for books and articles online. It is a new reality that did not exist less than 15 years ago. This bill is an important step toward making these educational tools and resources publicly available and shaping our future.