The Elizabeth Thoman Archive at the Harrington School of Communication and Media, University of Rhode Island, has the last complete kit of one of the milestones in the early chronology of media literacy, the 1972 Media Now curriculum. This curriculum was the first of its kind, using self-contained lesson modules that were part of a larger series of kits, text references, and accompanying workbook. Its self-directed learning model gave students the opportunity to learn about the media, by doing, responding to, and reflecting on core concepts of media production. Using physical artifacts from the Media Now kit, historical documents, promotional materials, phone interviews with the founders and teachers of the curriculum, the authors were able to trace the development of Media Now from its historical and educational roots of the 1960s, to its full production, distribution, and training out of the facility at the Southwest Iowa Learning Resource Center (SILRC). The historical and educational impetus for creation of what started as a Title III innovation grant of the Elementary and Secondary Educational Act of 1965, matured to be a curriculum that was implemented in 600 schools across the U.S - a testament to both its need and its success. However, as times and politics changed, federal and local government cut funding for Media Now. As we reviewed its original approach to curriculum design and pedagogy, we found that the Media Now story calls for a new examination of the creative materials and techniques used in the 1970s, in light of the current need for media literacy education in and outside of the 21st century digital classroom.
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Friesem, Y., Quaglia Beltran, D., & Crane, E. (2014). Media Now: A Historical Review of a Media Literacy Curriculum. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 6(2). https://doi.org/10.23860/jmle-6-2-4
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