Monday, February 17, 2014

Talking with Families about Media

 Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America is the most recent report from The Joan Ganz Cooney Center. It offers much for consideration and discussion. According to the Center this is the 
"first comprehensive analysis of parents’ experiences with the educational media their children use:  Which subjects do parents feel their children are learning the most about from media?  Which platforms do they perceive as being most effective? And what are some of the obstacles to greater use of educational media?"

The report is focused mostly on educational media use (as defined by parents) but it also captures broader mass media use too. Families in the study have very high levels of access to media in the home (table 9). How does this data compare to your student populations? Surveys last year of Creek 5th graders (the top age in this report) look similar to the Cooney data set.  I am rewriting the survey to include new data points (e.g. cable access).  Knowledge of out of school media exposure positions Teacher Librarians to leverage these media experiences for learning.  It also empowers us as educators to consult families about home media use.  Does your professional practice include reading these types of reports and determining the implications for the library/librarian role?

As Table 7 shows the percentage of teachers who make media recommendations is small compared to the number of kids who have media access.  I wonder how many Iowa Teacher Librarians make recommendations to families about home media use?  There is more I could do in my school!  At Prairie Creek we've been talking about how to include more family literacy activities during our upcoming conference nights.  Media recommendations should be part of our conversations with families.   What kind of advice have other TLs in Iowa given families about home media use?

Where do we begin to develop recommendations?

One place I turn to is Little eLit: Young Children, New Media & Libraries. Children's librarian cen campbell has gathered a wealth of information about apps and resources.   While you're visiting the site take a look at the upcoming "Screen Time" Book Club

~ Ernie Cox (@erniec), Prairie Creek Intermediate