Contributed by Ari Kissiloff on 03/10/2014
Ithaca, NY – On November 11 2013, the entire teaching at the Elizabeth Anne Clune (EAC) Montessori School in Ithaca New York participated in a full day training that focused on the integration of media production and analysis into core curriculum. Chris Sperry facilitated the workshop as Director of Curriculum and Staff Development for Ithaca College’s media literacy initiative, Project Look Sharp (www.projectlooksharp.org). Both Project Look Sharp and the Ithaca City School district are excited to be bringing their professional experience to help out the local Montessori schools.
Over the coming summer, four other Montessori staff members will attend a 5-day training initiative facilitated by Project Look Sharp joined by Principal of EAC Laura Gottfried. It was after attending a similar session that she decided media literacy work should be expanded school wide. Gottfried considers media literacy to be the 21st century extension of the Practical Life curriculum that was, and is, the cornerstone of the Montessori method today.
“We are living in the midst of an explosion of multi-media technologies that have transformed human communication. To be literate in this century requires the ability to communicate in codes more varied than orthography.” Gottfried said, “To prepare children for the world they will actually live in now requires an education that gives them the tools to decode and encode messages of all kinds.”
The EAC staff is highly engaged and excited about moving this work forward, and will participate in additional workshop sessions throughout the year, such as on April 1 and May 6, 2014, where Sperry will introduce the entire EAC teaching staff to the theory and practice of media literacy curriculum. Then, on August 25 Project Look Sharp will bring in a nationally renowned name in media literacy, Faith Rogow, who helped co-write “Teacher’s Guide to Media Literacy” with Project Look Sharp Founder Cyndy Shiebe to lead a full day training. http://www.ithaca.edu/looksharp/?action=TGML
“At first glance it seems incongruous that a Montessori school would even consider delving into the digital world,” Gottfried notes, “and yet, at EAC we now consider a substantial media literacy curriculum to be an essential component of a well-balanced education precisely because we are a Montessori school.”
Project Look Sharp supports the integration of critical thinking and media literacy into the teaching of core content in multiple subject areas. They do this through developing and providing lesson plans, media materials, training, and support for educators at all education levels. The purpose of media literacy education is to help individuals of all ages develop the habits of inquiry and skills of expression they need to be critical thinkers, effective communicators, and active citizens in today’s world.
For more information, please contact Tyra Mazzer, Media Outreach Intern at email@example.com.