- Technology is helping students at Vista Unified School District in California produce community-altering, award-winning short documentaries and newscasts, with one such film on digital equity from 10 students at Rancho Minerva Middle School winning a CoSN award, according to EdTech: Focus on K-12.
- Perhaps most notably, the short film resulted in the purchase of 200 mobile wireless hotspots by the school board, which students at Rancho Minerva can now borrow for free to gain fast, reliable internet access at home.
- The importance of media classes has been highlighted in recent years for strengthening important technical and soft skills, including video production, digital storytelling, technology use, design, creative and critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and planning against deadlines.
Regardless of whether students ultimately pursue media careers, the value of the technical and soft skills imparted can't be overstated. With the rise in attention on the impact of "fake news" on the 2016 election season, the ability to think critically when consuming media is seen as particularly valuable.
According to findings detailed in a Common Sense Media survey released last year, students prefer to get their news online and 48% trust their teachers over news organizations. That statistic alone drives home the importance of educators in helping students learn how to verify suspect stories across a number of reliable sources. In a world where doctoring a variety of media to favor one side of a story is increasingly easy, administrators must ensure students have the opportunity to gain these critical digital literacy skills.