About this Course


Rhys Daunic, Founder of The Media Spot

Course Summary

Through hands-on workshops and case studies involving teachers’ existing curricula and units of study, this course will explore the way the digital revolution has changed what it means for schools to develop graduates who are capable of lifelong learning, informed and active citizenship, and economic success in a culture and workplace that is increasingly blended with digital media and communication.

Course Objectives

Teachers will Identify and internalize within their school culture broadly applicable digital skills and “media literacy” concepts necessary for modern citizenship, identity, and the workforce and build curricula informed by the above that expands and enhances the Common Core Standards with new tools and modes of communication, that are open to continuing cultural shifts.

Teachers will leave each class meeting, and the course as a whole, with strategies, activities, and plans that they can incorporate into their teaching practice immediately with a strategic understanding of how they are expanding and enhancing fundamental curricula to meet the demands of 21st century society.

Teachers will gain comfort opening accounts and integrating 3rd party, cloud-based, digital tools into their professional practice, and unit planning.

Teachers will learn to find Media Literacy core concepts within the Common Core Standards.

Course Structure

This course will be inquiry-based, gathering students’ prior knowledge, needs, and interests and from that, developing strands of inquiry where small groups of students will collaborate to design and execute classroom productions that incorporate media literacy concepts, digital skills, and common core standards.  We will establish a conceptual foundation through a survey of the field and heritage of media literacy, and introduce a range of digital production tools and processes used in K-12 classrooms.  Beyond that, readings and support materials will be chosen to support specific directions student projects take.

Class 1:  The K-12 Landscape Circa 2013

Survey of the K-12 technological landscape.  Discuss successes and challenges, hopes and fears of participating teachers and their respective schools regarding technology in the curriculum.  Look at 3 different school infrastructure profiles and approaches to adapting their curricula.  Introduce the concept of “media literacy”, 21st century standards, and look at a K-12 scope and sequence matrix of technological skills.

Workshop/Activities/Discussions:  Identify the type of school you’re in based on our discussion of the K-12 landscape.  Collaborate to create an information graphic layout of your school’s current technological landscape using Mind Meister Mind Mapping Software.

Class 2:  Situating Media Literacy in your School

Why teach with and about new media in public schools?  Discuss media literacy, and the role of media literacy in teachers’ lives as citizens, and how they’ve developed their own tools for decoding political advertising, 24hr news cycles, advertising, social media and an expanded identity, and always-on internet and mobile technology in the home.  How does this landscape affect their students?  What experiences in the media landscape do they share with their students? How do they feel distant from their “digital native” students?   How did they acquire their own level of media literacy and what role does it play in their personal identity and cultural, political, social and professional lives.

Workshop/Activities/Discussions: Teachers create a collaborative multimedia discussion piece using Voicethread.com online presentation software to analyze popular media texts using the Key Questions of Media Literacy Education.

Classes 3-5:  Finding media literacy within the Common Core Standards

Over 3 sessions we will look at examples of other projects at the grade levels of teachers participating in the seminar, deconstruct them for their value related to traditional content and Common Core standards.  We will assess the potential of this type of project to affect student engagement and look at how emerging media literacy and technology standards,  concepts and skill-building can coincide with and/or enhance traditional learning goals.  General areas to be covered: 1) digital word processing, collaboration, peer editing, and publishing, (Google Docs, Blogging, Social Media), 2) research and resources in the information age: gathering and synthesizing information from the new range of available sources (Search, Custom Search Engines, Blended Instruction, Skype), 3)

Workshop/Activities/Discussions: (over 3 weeks):  Teachers review and discuss materials from their curriculum maps that they think have potential for building multimedia productions out of.  They will sketch ideas using digital tools, and learn new software involved in productions we are discussing each week.

Classes 6-8: Designing custom Units of Study, Designing Assessments, Works in Progress, Troubleshooting, and Assessments

Required Course Assignments

Culminating Projects/Outcomes

1. Students will produce adapted unit plans enhanced with digital media productions

Maps will include Common Core State Standards, media literacy concepts and targeted technological skills within Understanding by Design Unit plans.  Examples here.

2. Students will map their unit plans and activities within a collaborative Scope and Sequence that vertically aligns digital literacy skills, media literacy concepts, and traditional standards.
3. Assessments Designed by Participating Teachers

Teachers will create rubrics for assessing student productions, and will use workshops to design assessment strategies for measuring the success of integrated projects.

Grading Policy

See the Teachers College Catalog for a complete explanation of grading policy at the college. Be aware that B is the grade assigned for satisfactory graduate-level work.

Assignments that are submitted on time contribute to a meaningful dialogue between student and instructor. Conversely, assignments that are submitted late will also be assessed and returned late. Only students who hand in their assignments on time can expect significant written feedback from the instructor; late assignments will be graded, but feedback will be minimal and will probably not be handed back within the normal timeframe. If an assignment is late, grades will be reduced depending on the circumstances. Typically, for each day your assignment is late, the grade will be reduced by 1/3 a grade (e.g., B+ to B; B to B-; etc.). Requests for extensions will only be considered when made two days (48 hours) in advance and when extenuating circumstances come into play.

All assignments are expected to be clearly and coherently written with attention given to the organization and structure of the paper as a whole, as well as to the editing of basic mechanics of language usage such as spelling, punctuation, and grammar. APA style, double-spacing, 12-point font and 1 inch margins are required.

A note on Academic Integrity

Students who intentionally submit work either not their own or without clear attribution to the original source, fabricate data or other information, engage in cheating, or misrepresentation of academic records may be subject to charges. Sanctions may include dismissal from the college for violation of the TC principles of academic and professional integrity fundamental to the purpose of the College as noted in the TC Student Handbook. Please note: Using the wording of others or a close paraphrasing of the wording of others as the major part of an assignment is NOT acceptable, even if you give the authors credit. Additionally, using large parts of work that you yourself have written for the purposes of earning credit in a different course is also NOT acceptable.

Teachers College Policy on the Grade of Incomplete

According to the Teachers College policy, the grade of Incomplete is to be assigned only when the course attendance requirement has been met but, for reasons satisfactory to the instructor, the granting of a final grade has been postponed because certain course assignments are outstanding. If the outstanding assignments are completed within one calendar year from the date of the close of term in which the grade of Incomplete was received and a final grade submitted, the final grade will be recorded on the permanent transcript, replacing the grade of Incomplete, with a transcript notation indicating the date that the grade of Incomplete was replaced by a final grade. If the outstanding work is not completed within one calendar year from the date of the close of term in which the grade of Incomplete was received, the grade will remain as a permanent Incomplete on the transcript. In such instances, if the course is a required course or part of an approved program of study, students will be required to re-enroll in the course including repayment of all tuition and fee charges for the new registration and satisfactorily complete all course requirements. If the required course is not offered in subsequent terms, the student should speak with the faculty advisor or Program Coordinator about their options for fulfilling the degree requirement.
Teachers College Policy on Reasonable Accommodations:

The College will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Students are encouraged to contact the Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities for information about registration (166 Thorndike Hall). Services are available only to students who are registered and submit appropriate documentation. As your instructor, I am happy to discuss specific needs with you as well.


Teachers College students have the responsibility for activating the Columbia University Network ID (UNI), which includes a free Columbia email account. As official communications from the College – e.g., information on graduation, announcements of closing due to severe storm, flu epidemic, transportation disruption, etc. – will be sent to the student’s Columbia email account, students are responsible for either reading email there or for utilizing the mail forwarding option to forward mail from their Columbia account to an email address that they will monitor.