Media Literacy is not just one skill or just the use of media. It also entails the understanding of and a critical attitude towards said media. When we challenge children to reflect on their own media use and that of their peers, they will automatically take a look through the eyes of a 'social media police officer': the Media Sheriff.
These Media Sheriffs take on a crucial task in the sCool Learning Trajectory. How this task is managed, is of course up to the teacher to determine and will vary for young children from the more experienced media users. It is a differentiated approach, so pupils will gradually acquire the skills necessary to observe and reflect on their own experiences.
Year One and Two
In the first two years of primary school the Media Sheriffs will keep their eyes open on the sCool practice platform. Once a week -for example on a friday afternoon- they will share their experiences and observations in a group discussion on what went on that week in the media or on the sCool practice platform. Their peers get a chance to respond or to complete these statements, so a conversation may arise on what is on the children's minds concerning Media Literacy. The teacher takes on the role of moderator and will probably learn a lot from the children. These discussions can become a prime example of "Flipping the Classroom".
Through paying attention and discussing their experiences, pupils do not only acquire the skill to observe, but also to reflect more deeply on what is taking place around them. This way they break the pattern of intuitive media use and learn to give thought to the impact of it all. The discussions confront children with varying perspectives and teach them to take on someone else's view.
Pupils already absorb quite a lot of information through the regular media, such as the news broadcast for children or other sources. It is then of critical importance to make time and address this in the group discussions. The teacher can ask questions on the impact of those news articles on them and how they feel about that. This is an excellent rehearsal for later years, when children will regularly have to report on current events.
Year Three and Onward
Year Three pupils and older already have quite a bit more experience in using media. At the same time they've had the opportunity to hone their critical skills through the group conversations. This is an excellent opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge with the other children and even their parents, so everyone can make maximum use of media to play, learn and grow together.
At this point, the Media Sheriffs start to take on the roll of a genuine reporter. They create a Media Literate Piece in which they reflect on what took place that week on the sCool practice platform, in the news and on other social media.
The result of this can be a written blogpost, but also a creative multimedia piece. Children can for example create a powerpoint or video, a drawing or even code a game. These pieces will be shared with their class group in the 'News and in the Media' Blog.
The best, most fun and original pieces can then be shown in the sCoolPaper. This way, it's not just the class group that can learn from it, but the entire school. It can also be a very informative experience for the Media Sheriff in question to get feedback from other pupils rather than just his or her own classmates.
sCool stands for social learning with and from each other, through the fun of playing with media. Respect for each other's opinion is the foundation for digital social responsibility.
Pupils asses each other's work through likes, but also by showing appreciation with a star rating and providing feedback. Children are actively learning how to respectfully socialise with each other on social media. We refer here to the learning materials on the 'Social Contract' that we draw up with the children and in which we learn to "like what we like and not who we like." When there are disagreements on the content of an article or if children want to add to it, they can do so in the commentary section. This way pupils learn to provide each other with respectful, constructive feedback.