What We Do

The Media Education Lab improves media literacy education through scholarship and community service. We have five primary areas of expertise: 

Research and Scholarship

Scholars and researchers recognize that digital media comptencies contribute to citizenship, literacy development, and personal, social and professional development.  Our research is largely applied and practical, designed to further our understanding of "what works" in the field. We evaluated the PBS Student Reporting Labs news literacy program. We are interested in exploring programs for urban children and teens that incorporate media literacy education because they provide substantial opportunities for students to develop the four C’s: communication, critical thinking, creative and collaborative skills. We seek to understand how these competencies transform the lives of adolescents, particularly in low-income communities.

Teacher Education and Staff Development

We support local educators who are interested in digital media literacy through the provision of workshops, staff development and partnerships. We offer a wide variety of customized workshops of copyright, fair use, and digital media and programs that introduce educators to digital and media literacy education. We are interested in the cognitive, social and behavioral impact of media literacy education as it develops in the family, the library, the community, the school, and in informal educational settings. We address policy issues that affect the quality of teaching and learning about media and popular culture. Graduate and undergraduate students are able to take advantage of the ongoing research programs and be active participants in all of the community outreach and educational programs of the Media Education Lab.

Curriculum Development

We create engaging multimedia resources that help educators, parents and others integrate media literacy education into their work with learners of all ages. We have created online games, videos, lesson plans and hands-on manipulatives for media literacy education. We created My Pop Studio, an online game for girls ages 9 - 14, includes a curriculum that helps educators extend student learning and connect home to classroom. Members of the Media Education Lab team provide workshops, keynote speeches, summer institutes, consulting services, and multimedia education materials development. Learn more about the range of topics and issues and professional development opportunities for educators. Staff of the Media Education Lab are active teachers, researchers and advocates who create learning experiences that professionals find energizing, inspiring, thought-provoking and practical.

Advocacy

Our mission is to improve the practice of media literacy education through research and community service. As a result, we are active leaders internationally, nationally and regionally in promoting media literacy. We have met with FCC commissioners about media literacy and net neutrality and petitioned the U.S. Copyright Office to enable educators to "rip" DVDs for media literacy education. Renee Hobbs helped found the organization that became the National Association for Media Literacy Education, the nation's largest membership organization for media literacy, which hosts the biannual National Media Education Conference. Hobbs is also co-editor of the online, open access peer-reviewed journal for media literacy, the Journal of Media Literacy Education.

Youth and Community Media Production

We offer teachers as well as undergraduates and graduate students the opportunity to participate in, support and develop media literacy programs in local schools and after-school programs. We pioneered a media literacy initiative for Rhode Island foster teens in the summer of 2012, learning how creative media production activities can create a bridge between teens and the community. We think every learner needs to be a media producer as a way to "create to learn."

Learn about our history by reading our Year End Reports: