September 1997



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By Brad Ross

The new elementary curriculum highlights expectations for students in Media Communication Skills. Viewing, reading and listening to "media works to obtain information" are goals set for Grades 1 and 2.

By the end of Grade 8, students are expected to evaluate the effectiveness of a particular medium in communicating information.

The media’s impact on society – and our children especially – is, of course, enormous. There are many web sites dedicated to this issue – some good, some not so good. Some are aimed at elementary school kids, others are designed for older students, and still others talk directly to teachers.

Teachers themselves have contributed in some way to each of the web sites reviewed here. These sites each cover a distinct aspect of media literacy. Check them out… follow their links… adapt them to your needs.

College Web Update

This column and all other articles in Professionally Speaking are now reproduced on the College web site. Go to . Back issues of Professionally Speaking are archived under — what else — "back issues." There, you’ll find the May 1997 edition.

The magazine side of the web is designed differently from the rest of the College site, giving it a unique look and feel. The index of stories appears in the left column, while selected articles fill the rest of the screen. We recognize that not all browsers support frames, so we don’t use them on our site. Your browser’s BACK button will help you navigate through Professionally Speaking.

Password-free site

I’ve received some e-mail from visitors to the College site inquiring about password-protected areas for use by teachers only.

Public accountability is an important part of the College’s mandate. So the web site should be, and is, fully accessible to any and all. In other words, there’s nothing on the site that teachers, students, parents and the general public can’t access.

There are, of course, areas that are more relevant to teachers and you’re encouraged to visit those. The Professional Affairs Department, for example, continues to seek input from teachers on accreditation and standards of practice. But input from the whole community is important and everyone is encouraged to explore the entire web site.


Media Awareness Network
Great graphics. It’s what a web site ought to look like. And it has useful info, too ... not always the case on the web where the chrome often outshines the content.

Media Launchpad
Links… links… and more links. Pick and choose what works best. It really is a launch pad.

Media Literacy Online Project
An amalgam of links to all aspects of media literacy, including film, TV, news media, and on-line research. Conferences related to media issues are also noted here.

Information Literacy and the Net
Designed by teachers for teachers. Information overload is a problem on the web. This site recognizes that and tackles it thoughtfully.

Maclean’s In-Class Program
Newsmagazines are the least followed of the news media, despite their in-depth reporting. Maclean’s magazine has done an admirable job helping teachers get their students to think critically about current affairs.

Brad Ross is a Communications Officer and Web Editor for the Ontario College of Teachers. His e-mail address is