What We Do

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


Teachers, scholars and researchers all recognize that digital media competencies 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 host a monthly discussion group at DIGIURI Media Club to discuss hot topics and important ideas with relevance to digital and media literacy. We primarily research how educators learn to implement digital and media literacy programs. We have evaluated the PBS Student Reporting Labs news literacy program. We have a special interest in examining programs for children and teens that provide opportunities for students to develop the four C’s: communication, critical thinking, creative and collaboration. We seek to understand how these competencies transform the lives of adolescents, particularly in low-income communities. Maria Ranieri and Lisa Friesem are the Co-Editors of the open access peer-reviewed journal for media literacy, the Journal of Media Literacy Education, the official publication of the National Association for Media Literacy Education, which was co-founded by Renee Hobbs. 


The Summer Institute in Digital Literacy is the nation's premier professional development program in digital literacy. We offer consulting services to support educators around the country and around the world who are interested in digital media literacy. Members of the Media Education Lab team provide workshops, keynote speeches, summer institutes, consulting services, and multimedia education materials development. Virtually Viral Hangouts was a professional development program that offered daily learning experiences during the #COVID19 pandemic. We offer workshops, staff development and strategic 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.


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. Best Online Meetings halps support the work of educators and others who are developing their online meeting skils. We created Mind Over Media Gallery, an online crowdsourced gallery with over 3,500 examples of contemporary propaganda. Among the numerous curriculum resources we have created, one example is 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. 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.


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 helped to craft the 2019 Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy bill now under consideration in Congress. We have met with FCC commissioners about media literacy and net neutrality and successfully 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.


We believe that "crete-to-learn" pedagogies offer enormous potential for children and young people, in and out of school. We think every learner needs to be a media producer. We also pioneered a media literacy initiative for Rhode Island foster teens who learned how creative media production activities can create a bridge between teens and the community.